Digging into the literature

Digging into the literature

by Sylvia Currie -
Number of replies: 3
Nick, your work has inspired me to dig into the literature a bit. Do you have a bibliography you can share? What has influenced your design direction the most?

In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Digging into the literature

by Nicholas Bowskill -
Hi Sylvia,
This page has some of the main influences and key texts on it


There are a few influences on the design idea. The first is whether online learning communities can be created in face to face classrooms. So the usual suspects of Lave & Wenger etc came up there.

One of the more interesting projects that influenced me was one to do with schools based at Harvard called Making Learning Visible. They talked about the way that bringing learning products together facilitated the thinking of those involved and also shaped the involvement of others.

The other big work that caught my imagination was from Walter Stroup at University of Texas at Austin and a group of others all concerned with Mathematics. They used handheld devices to manipulate items in a shared simulation and their writing discusses working in a whole group via the display. I wanted to see if that thinking could be generalised beyond Maths.

Then the other projects that interested me were those of people like Boud in Australia who were interested in collaborative approaches to reflection. I hadn't really seen a concrete process for doing that so I was challenged to tackle that problem.

Finally the other area of interest was all the fuss being made about representations of course designs using tools such as LAMS etc. Plus other representations such as Social Network Analysis that displayed relationships between people but seemed to miss the content and context. I thought that both needed a representation of the student perspectives at the collective level to sit alongside those other representations and to help make sense of them.

The whole thing kicked off with the idea of student-generated questions and it mushroomed from there. I've become aware of how much work is opening up with this approach and the level of interest has been both encouraging and surprising.

I'd been involved in online collaborative work for some years so these new classroom technologies were something new and interesting to me. I realise looking back how I'd essentially translated the online ideas back to the classroom.
In reply to Nicholas Bowskill

Re: Digging into the literature

by Sylvia Currie -
Thanks for all these leads, Nick. This is the first time I've seen the Making Learning Visible project. Also so you mention Boud. I see he has written about reflection in professional courses. I wonder if there are parallels with Donald Schon's work on the reflective practitioner? I'm especially interested in these models for professional learning, and it seems with the focus on group learning and reflection, and making it visible there is a lot of potential for organisational learning.

Another project that has some relevance to the Shared Thinking model is CSILE / Knowledge Forum, developed by Marlene Scardamalia and others. Although the image links are broken, this page lists the key elements of Knowledge Forum. The process of tagging contributions to group discussion in terms of what participants need to know, hypotheses they develop, and making that metadata visible in different ways, advances the group in their inquiry.

Lots to think about and explore with this topic!

In reply to Sylvia Currie

Re: Digging into the literature

by Nicholas Bowskill -
Wow Sylvia, We are opening a whole set of different ideas and areas here so thanks for the encouragement. I'll try not to abuse that by taking up too much real estate on here and to allow others to come in and be heard as well.

The whole issue of reflective practice and reflection is interesting isn't it? Many people say reflection is just another word for thinking. So what do we think about even the word reflection?

Then we have the issues about reflection in and on action etc. allied to issues of reflection on demand as being sometimes less than ideal.

Then we come to the other issue of reflecting alone or with others. There is such a huge fuss at the moment with portfolios (e or otherwise) that we seem to overlook questions about reflection upon the social world and therefore involving others that have a stake. What does sharing reflection mean? What do we gain or lose if it is done with peers?

My final point is that I hear your mention of organisational learning. This dove-tails neatly into questions about social reflection doesn't it? Who really benefits in OL and are benefits equal? Are they also equal in group reflection? Is that an issue or just a fact of life? Could it be different
and how?

My personal question is whether or not we can create learning organisations, communities of practice or learning communities (different things I know) - so much discussed through online collaborative/cooperative activities - in face to face settings? Or as face to face reflective dialogue as the heart of all that follows?

I must stop myself there and it would be fascinating to hear what you Sylvia and others here think.