Make An Inquiry: Curation #3

Picking up where I left off earlier this week with my curation of CLMOOC 2015…

Sheri Edwards

Sheri, like Mia & Kevin, is a CLMOOC facilitator, and she has also been deeply involved in the Make An Inquiry work. She created an excellent Blendspace that lays out what her thinking so far regarding her inquiry into authentic learning experiences.

Within her Blendspace, Sheri’s process map for inquiry stands out to me as a useful model for working with students.

Jeffrey Keefer, Daniel Bissell, & S Spaeth

Three CLMOOC participants whose posts were often a bit beyond my ken deserve mention for pushing me to think beyond my comfort level.

During week 4, Jeffrey Keefer wrote a post about actor-network theory that points out the need to look at how non-human actors affect systems:

[s]ystems theory is a bit limited, for as good as it is, in missing the non-human actors, it becomes easier to not account for them, and thus their influence.

As Jeffrey notes, “people never (rarely?) act on their own without external, or environmental, elements.”

Daniel Bissell shared a post that he wrote several years ago about efforts by DePaul University students to document the availability of mentoring programs for youth. He commented on my Google Plus post:

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I’m not sure how Daniel’s ideas fit with my context yet, but it seems like something to reflect on further, especially because I’ve seen the power of mentoring through the work of Latinas Guiding Latinas at my school.

Finally, S. Spaeth shared several posts about riding unicycles. That’s right, unicycles. (I’ve noticed that CLMOOC has fascinating nodes of activity & identity: Joe Dillon also rides a unicycle. This week, I realized that there are three people named C(h)is from Philadelphia in CLMOOC – well, I think Chris Rogers lives in Chester, but he works in Philadelphia, so that counts.)

But back to S Spaeth’s posts. He is a teaching scientist involved with an after school program in Massachusetts which incorporates activities like unicycling in its STEAM learning opportunities. He shared a post on jump-mounting with this wonderful insight: “The learning progression for jump-mounting that kids and coaches designed, tested and shared facilitates learning by progressively managing risk.”

These contributions remind me of Kevin Hodgson’s comment during the Twitter chat on Thursday that a multi-disciplinary approach can open up new possibilities. I appreciate that these gentlemen took the time to share ideas that caused me to think more deeply about my inquiry by involving me in considering disciplines that might not seem to relate at first glance.

Lil Brannon and My Revised Ideas About My Inquiry

A few weeks ago, Lil Brannon, director of the UNC Charlotte Writing Project, emailed me with a challenge: namely, that the inquiry method I had described in my initial post for Make An Inquiry favored the scientific method, while she thought that qualitative, ethnographic approaches were richer and more nuanced. I realized that I had espoused a pre-/post-test, treatment, quantitative method somewhat consciously, and started to re-think my inquiry. (I am not trying to suggest in this post that quantitative methods are inferior to qualitative methods, merely to note that I had not quite fully examined my own process.)

CLMOOC is reaching its calendar-end, and I feel as though I have so much to go back over, to read, re-read, and reflect upon; I feel as though I could write a dozen more of these curation posts and still have more to unpack. I am not going to try to unpack everything I’ve learned – do only some of the things, after all – but I am going to continue to write curations at Digital Is. I plan to share my inquiry work there as well.

I have decided, based on Lil Brannon’s input and my discussions with Sheri, that I will write a research brief; I want my inquiry to be systematic and rigorous, but I see now that it needn’t involve a pre- and post-assessment or a single treatment. I hope to share my research brief next week.