Throughout this course I have been challenged by the ideology of constructivist and connectivist principles. As a middle years’ teacher I can see both strengths and weaknesses it their application in the classroom. This task continued to challenge these beliefs, not only as a teacher but in my own personal preference for learning. As a result there are two distinct phases to my reflection which detail my journey through this assignment.
The key to a designed-based research proposal lies in the definition of the problem in collaboration with others (Herrington et al. 2007). Yet, as Herrington et al. (2007) goes on to explain, this is perhaps the most challenging aspect of the project’s design, a view supported by my initial experiences in creating this proposal.
Planning for this proposal began in Week 2 with my initial investigation into what design-based research entailed and the formulation of an initial idea. Two months on, my initial musings regarding the proposal’s ‘Statement of Problem’ and ‘Research Questions’ were posted to my blog with request for comment and response to a number of key questions that were also included within the blog post. In an effort to respond to what I learnt about Personal Learning Networks in Assignment 1, emails were also sent to four contacts working in higher education, one of whom was Professor Peggy Ertmer, a noted researcher in the field of pedagogical beliefs, but unfortunately no response was received. A further two emails were sent to members of my personal learning network with postgraduate qualifications. In addition, a link to the proposal’s blog page was posted on Twitter also requesting constructive comments and suggestions. Despite the occasional ‘retweet’ of my link, no feedback was received from this source.
Some feedback was received from fellow members of the EDU8117 Networked and Global Learning but the most constructive and helpful feedback was obtained in response to my emails. In summary, the feedback received included:
- confusion regarding the purpose of the study
- a need to be more explicit and clarify the focus of the proposal;
- the need for the inclusion of an introductory sentence to better orientated the proposal;
- need for elaboration to clarify specific details contained within the project;
- the need to be more definite in my language choice;
- additional ideas for inclusion;
- conflicting support for proposal focus (K-12 or Years 4-9);
- advice regarding referencing and use of original sources’
- suggested contacts to assist with the proposals implementation.
In response to this feedback the proposal and accompanying research questions were essentially rewritten to address the issues raised. This revision improved the focus and clarity of my original conception, enabling me to better hone the target of my study and be focused in constructing the research questions, literature review and planned intervention. With the ‘Statement of Problem’ and ‘Research Questions’ redefined, attention turned to the additional component of this assignment and the second draft of my proposal sent to several members of my personal learning network for feedback.
In reaching this stage within my assignment, the absence of the usual blog chatter left me feeling somewhat isolated in my learning compared to the public exchanges I had come to rely upon in this course. In an effort to respond to this and make my process of consultation more visible, the decision was made to draw from their inspiration and create a Google doc through which to collate feedback. The results were immediate! The collaborative nature of this platform enabled collaborators to be more specific and targeted in their feedback, as opposed to the more general nature of comments received in my initial feedback phase. While some comments provided validation for my work, others sort to challenge my thinking. Importantly, issues such as spelling and general expression were also under the microscope, further refining and polishing the content of the proposal. While it was initially daunting making my learning public, it did provide a platform for deeper consideration of my intentions (Bell, Zenios, & Parchoma, 2010). Even those comments with which I did not agree forced me to get to the heart of what I was trying to achieve through my proposal. General discussion around my topic was also noted and it was invigorating to once again be engaged in dialogue around my learning. Upon reflection it would seem that I might be beginning to understanding the concept and benefits of cognitive-constructivism (Anderson & Dron, 2012).
The Google doc also enabled to me seek clarification and specific feedback about my planned intervention. When questions arose about the nature of my intervention based on what I had been able to view or my peers’ design-based research proposals I again turn to the Google doc to seek clarification. Though they were unable to help me with my questions their support made me feel that I was not alone in my confusion and prompted me to seek further clarification of the task, highlighting the supportive role communities of practice can play in helping individuals in their knowledge construction (Bonzo & Parchoma, 2010). Could this also been seen as further evidence that I was also coming to appreciate the principles of social-constructivism (Anderson & Dron, 2012)?
In conclusion, it would appear that this final assignment serves as evidence that I am still in what Kligyte (2009) calls, the stage of liminality. It would appear that I am still caught up in the “messy journeys back, fore and across conceptual terrain” (Cousins 2006 as cited in Kligyte, 2009, p.541). Where this will lead is unknown. This final assignment may well prove to be the turning point…only time will tell!
Anderson, T. & Dron, J. (2012). Learning technology through three generations of technology enhanced distance education pedagogy. Retrieved November 10, 2014, from http://www.eurodl.org/?p=archives&year=2012&halfyear=2&article=523
Bell, A., Zenios, M., & Parchoma, G. (2010). Undergraduate experiences of coping with networked learning: Difficulties now, possibilities for the future. Retrieved from http://www.networkedlearningconference.org.uk/past/nlc2010/abstracts/PDFs/Bell_2.pdf
Bonzo, J., & Parchoma, G. (2010). The paradox of social media and higher education institutions. In Proceedings of the 7th international conference on networked learning (p. p917). Retrieved November 10, 2014 from https://www.academia.edu/339742/The_Paradox_of_Social_Media_and_Higher_Education_Institutions
Herrington, J., McKenney, S., Reeves, T., & Oliver, R. (2011). Design-based research and doctoral students: Guidelines for preparing a dissertation proposal. Retrieved November 10, 2014 from http://ro.ecu.edu.au/ecuworks/1612/
Kligyte, G. (2009). Threshold concept: A lens for examining networked learning. In Same places, different spaces. Proceedings ascilite Auckland 2009. Retrieved from http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/auckland09/procs/kligyte-poster.pdf