Shared Thinking: June 23-July 2, 2010

Welcome to our seminar on Shared Thinking

Welcome to our seminar on Shared Thinking

by Sylvia Currie -
Number of replies: 14
Welcome to the Shared Thinking seminar!

About this seminar:
During this 10-day seminar Nicholas Bowskill will introduce us to the research and development work on the Shared Thinking project through University of Glasgow. It will be of interest to all educators, facilitators, and community of practice leaders.

Participating in SCoPE seminars:
SCoPE seminars are free and open to the public, and registration is not required. You are welcome to come and go according to your schedule and interests. To contribute you will need to create an account on the SCoPE site -- a quick process. Are you new to SCoPE or wondering how to manage your participation? Check this resource.

If you have any questions about participating in SCoPE don't hesitate to ask here in the forum, or get in touch with me directly:
Sylvia Currie, SCoPE Coordinator scurrie@bccampus, skype:webbedfeat, 250-318-2907
In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Welcome to our seminar on Shared Thinking

by Nicholas Bowskill -
Thanks Sylvia, and welcome to this seminar on Shared Thinking. I hope some of you have had a chance to look at the video overview of the research by way of initial orientation.

There are a number of themes and ideas that might be interesting to discuss here:

1. The use of voting technologies (clickers, audience response systems etc)

2. The idea of the class working as a whole group in an enquiry based model

3. The idea of collaborative reflection with a visual and representative end-point

4. The idea of diversity as the vehicle for learning (rather than seeking consensus).

5. The idea of student-generated questions as part of learning


Perhaps this could serve as an agenda or a menu from which to approach this new practice. We could also consider this collaborative approach to reflection alongside other approaches discussed recently such as portfolios etc. What would you prefer to consider here? Or what are your questions about this kind of approach?
In reply to Nicholas Bowskill

Shared Thinking video overview

by Sylvia Currie -
Thanks everyone who got in touch about the broken link for the Shared Thinking video overview. I found what appears to be the same video here: This http://www.nesc.ac.uk/action/esi/embed.cfm?index=4581
I've asked Nicholas to double check but we'll have to wait until the sun rises in his part of the world!
In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Shared Thinking video overview

by Nicholas Bowskill -
Hi Sylvia, Thanks for that and apologies for the other video. It's hosted at another institution so they may have shuffled things about on their server. Please use the new link Sylvia very kindly located.

cheers,
Nick
In reply to Nicholas Bowskill

Re: Welcome to our seminar on Shared Thinking

by Deirdre Bonnycastle -
Hello from the College of Medicine, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. I'm interested in a couple of things:smile
  1. clickers, our faculty use clickers a lot and are about to embark on a project where clickers will be used between two large classrooms 300kms apart during videoconferencing. I would like to see more thinking and less remembering in the way we use clickers.
  2. the use of questions to improve collaborative reflection
  3. the idea of a visual and representative end-point.
In reply to Deirdre Bonnycastle

Re: Welcome to our seminar on Shared Thinking

by Nicholas Bowskill -
Hi Deirdre,
Those were the same kind of interests we had when we looked at clickers. The initial feeling was that this was a tool/technology for offering quizzes and that at best they could be accompanied by discussion before or after the MCQ.

We also noted in the literature that the tough part for the tutors was developing precise questions. They took time, effort and thought for the tutor so it seemed those qualities made them ideal tasks for learners.

Also the discussions lead somewhere. I think this is an important point. Students are not just feeding back so the tutor can confirm her/his point. Here they are contributing to the pool of options that are transformed into a pie-chart through the act of voting.

Suddenly we have a representation of the collective concerns or ideas of a whole class - qualitative and quantitative data that allows whole group group-situated research. It's certainly a move away from memorising information. Would you agree?

Nick
In reply to Nicholas Bowskill

Re: Welcome to our seminar on Shared Thinking

by Deirdre Bonnycastle -
I encourage faculty to do anonymous opinion polls with clickers at the beginning of class about the upcoming topic and then do it again at the end of the session to see if opinions have changed. This is particularly useful in medicine with concepts like professionalism and advocacy where opinions can vary quite widely but no one openly discusses the variations. A poll like this raises the attention level so that's a bonus.

We also use clicker case studies quite effectively in large classrooms because you can capture both the facts, "What test would you use?" and analyzing "What is the most frequently missed possible differential diagnosis for this patient?" As you mentioned, the analysing question can lead to some good discussion about why that diagnosis is overlooked.

You're right picking the question at the right level seems to be the key and I like the idea of techniques for improving student generated questions. One of our faculty at the end of each session asks, "What would make a good exam question to assess today's session?" Another asks students to place questions in a jar about next week's topic. I think students like faculty need to learn how to ask higher level questions.
In reply to Deirdre Bonnycastle

Re: Welcome to our seminar on Shared Thinking

by Nicholas Bowskill -
Just one interesting point in passing there Deirdre about the immediacy of response by tutors or mentors. The research said that the construction and communication of the questions by students meant that they expected a prompt reply. The reason for this was because it was experienced as a form of whole-group communication/conversation. As such to delay the reply would break the model for some participants. That said we are becoming aware of different permutations and possibilities so there is no single answer.

Another thing we looked at briefly was to run through a cycle of Shared Thinking and generate the pie-charts. Then to introduce one from a different group or one the same group did ages ago. The activity then becomes one of explaining the differences which can lead to some interesting discussions.

In all cases, the tutor is a facilitator of a conversation owned and shaped by the participants which everyone saw as important.
In reply to Nicholas Bowskill

immediacy of response / visualizing dialogue

by Sylvia Currie -
The comment about 'immediacy of response' got me thinking about various ways to visualize dialogue. I sometimes think we're too zoned in on immediacy these days. If something in twitter is more than a couple hours old it seems the opportunity to contribute has passed us by! mixed Posts get shoved off the screen and we only pay attention to what is in front of us.

Do we move on too quickly? Immediate responses (from the tutor especially) can cause a good discussion to end abruptly. There's something very comforting about being able to lay out a map of ideas, responses to those ideas, variations of the original ideas, etc without being so focused on chronology. It strikes me that revisiting the ideas that have been generated, and how they are connected, will lead to deeper understanding. We can improve with better facilitation techniques, but also better designed technologies to support dialogue -- something Nick et al are well on their way to doing!
In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: immediacy of response / visualizing dialogue

by Alice Macpherson -
Hi from Alice Macpherson, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, newly back from the Society for Teaching and learning in Higher Education (STLHE) Conference at Ryerson University in G20-challenged Toronto. Two colleagues (Betty Cunnin and Jim Matteoni) and myself presented on our research into using some highly interactive forums to "Bump up the Energy" in several first-year, content heavy, Biology classes (session D11 - Exploring and Shaping Opinions through Engaging Online Forums - program available at: http://luna.ccs.ryerson.ca/stlhe2010/programme.php.)

Nicholas said: "The research said that the construction and communication of the questions by students meant that they expected a prompt reply. The reason for this was because it was experienced as a form of whole-group communication/conversation. As such to delay the reply would break the model for some participants. That said we are becoming aware of different permutations and possibilities so there is no single answer." (my emphasis)

We would agree whole-heartedly. One of our findings in these forums was that students used the forums, sometimes over weeks, to explore and develop their thinking. And that an incautious post from the instructors tended to close the conversation down. Our hypothesis is that perhaps this represents the voice of authority with the 'right answer' so that no further exploration is needed. Our research was to try and discover what worked and what good practice might be used to keep engagement high.

We found that four strategies were each part of the framework necessary to make the forums come alive: 1) Building Relationships; 2) Pick a hot topic; 3) Make it worth something; 4) Give students a choice. Perhaps the fifth one should be identified as: monitor but don't interfere.

To aid the exploration of our findings and share ideas, we have set up an open instance on the BCCampus platform at: http://onlinelearning.kwantlen.ca called Bumping up the Energy. You are welcome to access it by going to this site, choosing the "Bumping up the Energy" course and using the enrolment key: blueberry. There are a number of resources and research data pieces on the site. We encourage you to join in the dialogue in these forums which will be live until August 1, 2010.

Thoughtfully


In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: immediacy of response / visualizing dialogue

by Asif Devji -

Sylvia Currie wrote,

I sometimes think we're too zoned in on immediacy these days.


Hi Sylvia,

Your post resonates with me.

I think, given the speed of the communication tools available, we sometimes expect too quick of a turnaround time for learners to reflect on learned content and to then document those reflections for others to see.

As I see it, reflection is an unstructured process influenced by numerous and unpredictable factors.

Scheduling a deadline for 'reflections' to be posted (for example) often results in hasty and top-of-mind responses -- which are certainly valuable but certainly not what I would call reflection.

In fact, I propose that the speed to document and display often kills the creative aspect of reflection and can lead to less-well-thought-out final conclusions.

Asif


In reply to Nicholas Bowskill

Re: Welcome to our seminar on Shared Thinking

by Peter Rawsthorne -
What a great topic, Shared Thinking!
I'd really be interested in discussing this topic and how it could be applied outside of the classroom and applied to professional development communities. What have you learned about asynchronous shared thinking using online tools...
Thx, Peter
In reply to Peter Rawsthorne

Re: Welcome to our seminar on Shared Thinking

by Nicholas Bowskill -
Hi Peter,
Well it's early days but we've run this for staff and for students and they both seem enthused. Amongst the things we have done is to generate the pie-charts showing the participant-generated ideas and then taken them online for further dialogue.

For example, we did it with a group of support staff from different institutions at a conference workshop. They ran through their concerns as a support community and generated their pie-chart. That visual representation was then posted to their online discussion group so that those unable to attend the session were able to consider their own views and practices against those represented in the shared pie-chart.

Thinking about learning community development, we have also ran sessions for one group and then shown them the charts from another group elsewhere. That group might be a different year group of students or the same year group at a different institution. You can do all kinds of comparisons at the whole-group level and it makes for a very concrete approach to knowledge-building and discussions.

We also found the tutors had a whole new window on their class in terms of the issues that concerned them and the extent to which they were felt by the group. And of course we were able to chart the journey of the whole group over time. For example we are able to show changes in concerns over each year of a course for a given group.

The aim is to develop a networked database of these pie-charts to function as self-study and collaborative discussion resources. We have a small library of them at the moment but not enough to be anything substantial just yet.

Returning to your question there is a lot you can do with these products on and offline and we are only just uncovering them - pedagogically and methodologically. Does that answer your question?
In reply to Nicholas Bowskill

Re: Welcome to our seminar on Shared Thinking

by Peter Rawsthorne -
Nicholas,

Yes, this is all very interesting to me. And I believe I can apply it to both adult ed professional development and online. This is how I see the overlap of what we are doing and your use of pie-charts. Your pie-charts are an artifact that prompt discussion (shared thinking), both during there creation and reflection upon later. In our process of professional development work a number of different artifacts are created; streamed video(s), discussions, chats, screencasts... and we are looking into different ways to reuse these artifacts to initiate discussion and further learning. The idea of shared thinking around any one of these artifacts creates learning opportunities.

Please confirm my understanding, what you are doing is using a voting technology (clickers or online polling would work here) to summarize (captured in the pie-chart) a level of understanding achieved by the learning cohort for a particular point in time. And these pie-chart artifacts are used to further discussion, and they can be particularly useful to use through time with different cohorts going through the same material.

So my question becomes; Is it the use of the voting technology combined with the graphical representation (pie chart) used at the end of a lesson, learning module, etc... that is the essential part of the shared thinking? or is the shared thinking any activity that encourages greater engagement, reflection, discussion, etc...

I hope I've made sense here...

Thx, Peter
In reply to Peter Rawsthorne

Re: Welcome to our seminar on Shared Thinking

by Nicholas Bowskill -
Hi Peter,
The key part is the fact that the reflective discussion generates the options for the set issue. Individuals vote upon the issues the whole-group generates to transform the textual list into a pie-chart. It's in particular contrast to the tutor setting the question and the options and inviting participants to vote upon them.

Shared Thinking is about student-generated options that are then quantified and set in relation to each other through the voting. This creates multiple perspectives on a given issue. It's not seeking consensus. The goal of Shared Thinking is to leverage a view of the diversity of thought in the room. The diversity is the resource for cognitive and situative development.

It's a process of whole-group enquiry - by the group and about the group.