Understanding Design Research
September 30 2003: video conference minutes
click on images to view video excerpts from the meeting
|1:Entire Meeting||2:Enrich our Notion of Theory||3:Video in Educational Research|
|4:Measures of Progress||5:A Proto Theory||6:Theory Supercedes Design|
|from Harvard Graduate School of Education
Allan Collins, Visiting Scholar, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Kate Bielaczyc, Professor
from OISE/University of Toronto
Carl Bereiter |
Susana La Rosa
from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China Jianwei Zhang, Professor
Marlene Scardamalia: Do you have any sense of where…of the conversations that were started…were there particular things you wanted to pick up on?
Alan Collins: I did…I ended up telling Kai and Jodi about the…multi-perspective coding issue. I don’t know if you want to talk about it anymore…it was interesting, in her class we were discussing the ANN DENELLEN book called TEAM TALK and Bill Schneider was there who works with Etienne Lenger, and he pointed out that she does this nice analysis…sociolinguistic analysis of the discussions that are going on, but she doesn’t look at whether the team really produces any good products or any good ideas. And I said, well that’s related to the discussion we had in the database because from a science educator’s point of view they want to know what the kids are really learning. Are they building good theories? Are they making good arguments? Are they carrying out good inquiries? So that kind of…that’s just a different perspective…for ANDEN ELLEN to have done that she would have had to evaluate the products of the various themes she was analyzing.
Marlene: Can you give us some sense…I’m just curious about the kind of analysis she uses.
Alan Collins: Yes, she basically had 6 categories and a group of indicators for those categories. So one of the categories is…INAUDIBLE. Another category is identity…do they tend to identify with the group or do they identify with their functional units that they come from…and these are corporations. Another one…well there was four other categories…one was negotiation processing. So how well do they negotiate…do they just try to taper over differences or does somebody try to force their idea on the others or do they try to come to consensus by arguing through things. So there’s a bunch of indicators she uses to say whether they tend to try to…INAUDIBLE. So she’s using a kind of sociolinguistic marker to put things…INAUDIBLE. Is that clear?
Marlene: Yup. So are you suggesting then…I’m not quite sure whether you are suggesting that it would be awfully good if we had these sociolinguistic markers and mirrored that in the database, but then also looked at where the students got to with their ideas and see… if we could identify the various sociolinguistic markers of idea advancement. Was that your suggestion?
Alan Collins: Yeah, so what you would do in looking in the database is try to look for markers of social cohesion, negotiation of ideas, bringing out their differences, so you would code your database with those kinds of markers and put the groups into categories. The other kind of measure, the scientist measure is much more addressed at what the kids are learning so you have to do a kind of content analysis…more or less like you were talking about with the…Landauer theme where you were looking at particular content but you also might want to look at argumentation…or you might want to look at how they carry on their inquiry. Maybe that could come from looking at whether they frame their questions well and how they pursue them. So how you would code that exactly I’m not sure, but that would be another measure of how well they are learning to carry out input.
Marlene: …So Alan did you have any sense if…I thought the listing of the different possibilities for these analyses was really quite wonderful, like the different ways in which we would do them and we would come up with a coding scheme. I’m just wondering in your own sense for us as trying to find where idea advancement is really happening and is it happening in tiny little pockets, or just with a few kids, is it happening on a larger scale. Do you have any sense if you look at the major initiative we’re about with all of these different players from different parts of the world doing different things, like if you were to look at the whole and say, “gee I think the most important thing you need to do to find out if you’re getting anywhere…”, do you have any global sense of what the design research would be for a network of this magnitude and how we might find out if we’re making advances.
Alan Collins: So are you asking…how would you decide whether the network is making advances or how would you decide whether a classroom using Knowledge Forum is making advances?
Marlene: Well I’m contrasting the two…like I’m kind of thinking, so you’ve set out these list of variables for multi-perspectives that might be able to get us to important looks at idea advancement and the socio-cultural interactions that might support those. I’m just wondering would it change if you were looking at a single database or the network as a whole, like a network of networks that had many of these things going on. Would you just say, “oh do the same analysis in each place and see…are you getting the kind of movement in just tiny pockets, or broadly”, or would you use a completely different analysis if you’re thinking of the kind of meta-space, the network of networks, the combined efforts that we’re about.
Alan Collins: So one question is, how do most of the…interactions in the global network occur? So, in the IKIT network I guess. So if they’re mostly by video, then you might have a better measure…the latecomers are here (KATE BIELACZYC, JODI CLARK)… so it seems to me that to look at the network as a whole, I probably would have different kinds of questions I wanted to answer. Maybe I would want to see how much we’re actually coming up with new ideas, maybe I would want to see how much…I mean you good use the DENELLEN kind of indicators that evaluate how much the group builds a real community, in which case you might want to look at both the video transcripts and database interaction. But in general, the issues for the network are going to be different than the issues for a classroom. So the kind of indicators you would use would be some the same and some different.
Marlene: Do you have this notion of real community? Do any of you have a thought about what…how do you determine if you’re a real community?
Alan Collins: Well, DENELLEN uses the language that you talk in…is there a lot of ‘we’ talk, is there a lot of…asking are we making progress or that kind of thing. So she’s looking at those kind of indicators to see whether the group is functioning as a community or whether it’s function as a ‘nominal team’ is what she calls it, as opposed to a real team. So it’s a nominal community versus a real community. So she gives you lots of good examples of how she codes…
Richard Reeve …Well I was wondering, Marlene, about your last note that ended in ‘or…’. And I wondered about that issue of design and theory and where you were perhaps thinking it might go.
Marlene: I pulled out of the literature…HANNETHEN…so I pulled out a quote from them, a quote from your paper Alan and Kate, and a quote from CHUNGFELD about design research, about how it’s really this reciprocal intertwined notion between theory and design. So you get the kind of idea that there’s no beginning and there’s no end in design research. Theory affects design, design affects theory and it’s kind of this inseparable process. But then there’s just generally this notion that it’s really theory based design, and HANNETHEN also…talks about…you really need to have your designs embedded in well-grounded theory. And it’s just making me think it’s actually interesting there’s this notion when it comes to explanatory power… it seems that the theory does all the work with the explanatory power, and the design is it the embedded theory? Is it part of the explanation? Or is it set out for the theorist what their explanations have to do? So…I was just wondering, and Richard my idea was simply that since we have people who’d thought about this I was really curious whether they thought that theory and design are almost like equal partners in explanatory power, they both have their role but it’s this kind of Yin and Yang of knowledge advancement. Or…the other picture you get in the literature is theory is really primary and design is the test ground and it feeds back…
Carl: Well your remark that… you hear about theory based design all the time and you never hear about design based theory.
Marlene: Yeah. So I was curious what your perspective was on this, and why don’t we have design based theory?
Alan Collins: I thought I’d start out telling you where ANDY DESIS is on his thesis, he’s one of the ones who really worries about design research…he kind of analogizes to metallurgy where there was a lot of refinements and stuff but it was all done in a theoryless manner for many years, although…eventually a lot of insights came from just working with metal and so that in some sense lead to the theory. In fact if you look at the history of English scientists…they were tinkerers mainly, they were refiners in the design research sense but in some sense they did contribute a lot to science through that. Now I used to say, I used to describe INAUDIBLE where I worked for many many years as a place where we…we kind of take a theoretical approach to INAUDIBLE and so I always thought of it as kind of an equal handed thing…in other words you want to advance your theory by looking at practical problems and you want to improve your ability to deal with practical problems by getting better and better theories. It certainly is the case in science today that we think of a theoretical understanding as deep understanding and design as tinkering in some sense so…theory always has the higher status and you see it in all the sciences…INAUDIBLE. So I think that’s why you get the asymmetry…but I mean in some ideal way…I think about progressing by a conversation or a negotiation between what we try out, how we design the world, and how we theorize about it…so it’s always a negotiation process. And sometimes one goes ahead of the other…sometimes the theory gets way out ahead of the practice and sometimes the practice gets way out ahead of the theory.
Don: DESESA in his book Changing Minds talks about the value of tinkering in preparing a mind to understand theory. He talks about the amount of time he spent on his electronics hobby as a kid, and how that helped him in physics later on….so in that case the tinkering informed the theory.
Marlene: Also TOM LANDAUER…I think that he was saying…for him LSA is the theory. I mean it’s brought the theory to life through the workings of LSA but I think he would say that there’s a quite close map between what LSA does and what the theory is…
Carl: I don’t think that’s a prevalent example though. Because what he’s really done is to produce an algorithm and then discover that it explains some things that he hadn’t thought of and that happens all the time in mathematics. It just so happens that his algorithm was created to do some practical work but it’s still the same kind of thing.
Marlene: I think we should clip this from our conversation and ask Tom if that’s what he thinks he did…I don’t know…I think it would be interesting.
Alan Collins: Yeah I actually was thinking that he probably thinks of his algorithm as kind of the model of this theory…
Marlene: That’s what I would think…I was actually kind just of contemplating whether design research…whether in fact it might start changing as design becomes a more dominant force in how we advance science. Design and innovation generally as it becomes more commonplace if it might actually take on a more powerful role instead of the tinkering side or the practical mind side…
Alan Collins: …The design side is the tinkering side…
Marlene: Yeah, I was just wondering if as design becomes a more powerful tool for our discipline it might move from tinkering to theory advancement and the gap between the theory and design might become smaller over time. Anyhow I was just playing with ideas, I was just kind of curious…
Carl: Well you know one of the most dramatic examples of practice feeding into theory was stockbreeding giving Darwin a clue to natural selection. But are you going to credit the stockbreeders as theorists or even as contributors to theory…they probably didn’t even understand what Darwin was talking about when he picked up on what they were doing and said this explains the origin of species.
Marlene: I’m thinking more about inventors, I’m thinking more about people who are studying the discipline, like the inventions themselves are taking them deeper into it…
Carl: But the stockbreeders develop the technology which it turned out serves as a model for what goes on in nature.
Don: The stockbreeders would have had their own theories though about what they were doing and why it worked…that may have been different from Darwin’s.
Alan Collins: …In DESESA’S view, he wouldn’t let you call that a theory. He would say, you know they’ve got practical understanding of a phenomenon, but they don’t have… in DESESA’S view a theory is a large set of concepts that are systematically interrelated…but they’re just sort of working with practical intuitions in some sense…he would just call what they’re doing a tinkering…and we could call it design, they’re trying to design a better cow or a better pig…but they’re not theorists in any sense that DESESA would adhere to…
Marlene: So try Thomas Edison.
Alan Collins: …Yeah he’s a tinkerer…Edison’s way of finding great inventions was the research lab…I know he had all these hundreds of people and there were probably among them some people who had theoretical ideas…but he was…a tinkerer. He was the guy who tried to make things work, and he tried…in order to build the light bulb I think he tried every possible combination…
Marlene: Do you know enough about him to know what kind of theoretical ideas might have been driving him at the time?
Alan Collins: Um no…I mean obviously he had postdated a lot of the…INAUDIBLE
Richard Reeve What about the Wright brothers? Could you do the same little thought experiment on them?
Alan Collins: …I mean what I’ve read about the Wright brothers is that they had to throw out all the books on aeronautics that were based on birds…and they were determined to build this thing and it would fly…they probably knew a little bit about the notion of lift but I don’t think they had any deep theoretical notions…but again I don’t know the Wright brothers well enough.
Richard Reeve But that for you is the crux of it…that it must be connected to theory to be design research or you’re just tinkering.
Alan Collins: To answer that…the way that I thought of design research and my initial impetus for it was to think about a methodology for doing refinement of design…and…I guess I would say that…in some sense we would like to be theoretical because we believe that theory is powerful in improving design. But so far, in general we’ve had an impoverished notion of theory. I mean I tend to think that it says…INAUDIBLE. So I think that we need much richer notions of theory.
Richard Reeve Sorry I missed that Alan. What did you say about principles and the theory?
Alan Collins: I said that it does not seem to me that a set of principles makes a theory. We need some deeper sense of how things fit together. And I would say that education as an enterprise…INAUDIBLE.
Richard Reeve I guess that’s why I left that…this interesting term, ‘epistemic form’, when I first heard it last week, because I thought for a second there was a different way of conceiving of a theory…in terms of…and I know I used Plato’s ideal Form but…INAUDIBLE… something that you’re working towards. And just to add a little extra while I’m talking, I think that’s what we’ve been doing at I.C.S., you know seeking to approximate the theory of knowledge building and practice and moving it forward. But I thought for a second there you were describing something, now I understand it’s a form you fill out…
Alan Collins: It’s not quite that you fill out…but yes…there are structures that guide our inquiry…one kind of question…your comment raises is what would a theory of knowledge building entail?…and it’s a question I’ve never thought about before. I did, many years ago I studied Socratic teachers and I tried to characterize a set of questions that they generate in response to different situations. And so I thought that was a clearly theoretical endeavour that I was carrying out there. And so Alan INAUDIBLE for example is just trying to characterize why particular teachers like Deborah Ball…watch how they handle different situations. So he’s been doing a kind of theoretical analysis. Now it’s that level of detail that I think…the knowledge building community might want to push towards. And what that would look like exactly I don’t have a good idea…but I think potentially we might begin to think about how we would construct a theory of how knowledge building really occurs…
Carl: But what you’re describing that you did with Socratic teaching and what Alan’s doing, that sounds to me like a set of principles or of descriptive concepts which is certainly at a higher level of abstraction from…concrete working day things, and I think is sort of the level that we worked at with knowledge building…but you’ve already declared that such things aren’t really theories.
Alan Collins: What I was doing was trying to characterize, and you know I ended up with…some hundreds of situation action rules. So they weren’t visible in any sense, it was a descriptive theory, you’re right, it wasn’t a normative theory or what you want to achieve. It was a descriptive theory, but nevertheless it was not a set of principles, it was a fairly complex set of…pattern action rules…I do think we can have the normative theory and all I was saying was that I guess…INAUDIBLE…there was some theoretical description there but it wasn’t at the level…and it goes with normative theory, but it wasn’t at the level of description that I think would satisfy somebody like ANDY DESESA as a really theoretical INAUDIBLE. And I guess I would say the knowledge building enterprise is of a similar kind of form.
Marlene: One of the reasons this issue about the theory and design, like I’ve also been kind of thinking…so what does it mean for kids to be tinkering with theories?…So here they are trying to put together a theory and then advance. And then I think…on a sense…would you put them at the more theoretical or what you’re calling the more high minded end, but they really are tinkering with theories… they’re tinkering with ideas around their theory, they’re tinkering with what different people say, they’re tinkering with the results of the data. Now are they holding it together and…really moving for explanatory coherence? In some sense you would say, well that’s standard we don’t really have knowledge builders…we’re really looking for the theory advancement. But on the other hand they really are into powerful design episodes about which you certainly could look at an early statement and then a later statement and say, ah yes there’s been an advance, I think that would be just general understanding. So I guess this design, the role of design and the role of theory was making me think, geez that’s really important for us to understand if we really want to understand knowledge building, and now you’re making me think you would say that these kids aren’t advancing theories they’re…
Alan Collins: What I would say is, they’re certainly doing knowledge building, so let me be clear about that. And just as I would claim that all of us from time to time are doing a lot of knowledge building, we’re trying to figure out how to structure a… learning environment in a way that is very productive for learning as kids. But…I would also say that kids are forming kind of projects…they’re forming they’re ideas of how…the universe works or how the solar system works over time. Now all I was saying was…INAUDIBLE…so to have a complete theory of how the solar system works or something like that, you really have to have much more elaborate notions of forces and kind of a Newtonian world view which most people never acquire.
Marlene: So is Thomas Edison a knowledge builder?
Alan Collins: Oh yeah…he was one of the most successful knowledge builders of all time…
Leila: Well I was wondering, is knowledge building a theory or is it a phenomenon? I’m not sure…
Alan Collins: What I was referring to was…it seems to me that the community we’re a part of is trying to build a view of how to construct learning environments from their knowledge building environments…It seems to me that one could potentially have a theory of what kind of design would be most effective to doing that, kind of a normative theory of how to create knowledge building environments. And I don’t think we’re there yet, and I think that we have some ideas, some principles, some design ideas, but it’s not in DESESA’S… DESESA actually has a higher threshold for what to call a theory than I do…I don’t think we’re anywhere near his criterion for what a theory of a knowledge building environment is…
Carl: Well Alan, suppose Newton had stopped at the point where he had this insight that the fall of objects toward the earth and the pulling of planets and their orbits was fundamentally the same phenomenon. But he hadn’t worked out any laws yet, he had just had that instinct. What would you call that?
Alan Collins: That’s a theoretical insight.
Carl: Well, see I would claim that, in a less cosmic way, the concept of knowledge building is somewhat like that. It’s a phenomenon but recognizing that kids’ work in trying to build explanations and theories is basically the same that the Edisons and Newtons of the world do, and that it’s the same thing at a deep level…is again…it’s, what did you call it, a theoretical insight, but it’s a long way from a theory.
Don: Are we actually talking about the difference here between a hypothesis and a theory?
Alan Collins: No I think hypothesis…has a more tentative quality then I took what Carl to be describing. I thought that basically he was asserting that Newton had made the connection between the orbits of the planets and the falling of objects on earth. And if he has that insight but doesn’t formulate the laws, that’s more than a hypothesis, that’s a…I mean… a hypothesis is something you sort of test, he would have tested it by then and found in some sense that they were the same…
Carl: Yeah, the theory… could be the test…
Marlene: I think, this notion…do you need to have a theory before you can have the test?…
Carl: No, I mean Newton couldn’t test whether he was on the right track about the equivalence of these two gravitations outside a theory that generated predictions that he could then test.
Don: See I was always taught that was a hypothesis. A hypothesis is what you test, and then a theory is what arises when you’ve tested your hypothesis repeatedly and have generated results and can explain certain things by it. So a theory is a higher-level hypothesis that has more support they’re both the same kind of thing. At least that’s what I was always taught.
Carl: Well you were taught by positivists it seems.
Don: Oh yeah, absolutely. No question about it.
Marlene: I have a question…I actually don’t want to take up all the space…does somebody…
Mary Lamon: Well I have a low-level question actually…it’s not at the level of theories or hypotheses…I was looking at your…the piece of your article on summative evaluation. And in our research lately we’ve been really worrying about the idea that we need control groups. And so there has to be some sort of experimental design embedded in the design research. What do you think about that…notion?
Alan Collins: Well in general, I mean what I was arguing in that section was that…it’s kind of silly to do…I mean to have these people that are developing this thing to do summative evaluation, and that when we do summative evaluation we really want to do it in a comparative way. We want to maybe compare Knowledge…Forum classrooms…to some other way of teaching… If…you guys are trying to produce evidence to convince other people to use Knowledge Forum, then you’re stuck doing the kind of experiments that we were taught in psychology in some sense, where you’re testing…some standard classroom which is the whole hypothesis in this case. And I don’t know that that’s a…it might help sell Knowledge Forum as a thing but I’m not sure it’s a useful kind of…approach. Does that get at your question?
Mary Lamon: Yeah I’m wondering, all day today we’ve all been worrying about control groups and so I’m wondering where we are about that?
Marlene: Well I guess actually…
Kate: Can you say a little bit more about the context of the discussion about control groups?
Marlene: Yeah, I was just going to say that it’s really the believability gap. I think we’re so tired of hearing that kids can’t do this. And…you know what people want to know is what does it look like by comparison to another classroom….like here’s a context where a lot of learning has taken place so what’s distinctive. So I think it’s kind of a…well it’s this believability gap that kids can’t do it, so what data would convince people that kids can do it?
Alan Collins: You’d have to do a randomized trial…
Marlene: I heard the randomized trial, but go on…
Alan Collins: Well I mean…I can actually send you a paper by Tom Cook on this but basically the argument is that if you want to do that you have to assign randomly a whole bunch of classrooms to use Knowledge Forum and parallel, another set of classrooms to teach the same material without Knowledge Forum. And that’s the kind of evidence that in the current climate in the U.S. it’s going to take to convince anybody that this is a…and then you’re going to have to have a measure…some sort of post measures…that show that your kids think much better than the kids that went through the standard classroom…boy would that be a waste of your energy…
Marlene: This is what we’re struggling with…what’s the scientific body of evidence that needs to be put together. And… you know like I think in a sense it’s asking what’s the design research for us as a broad community, the broad community that… is assembled, trying to say what’s possible in education. Or basically this notion to show that…we really could in important ways create new possibilities for education. What are the kinds of efforts that we should be putting in to get these demonstrations is another way of asking the question we’ve been struggling with?
Kate: When you say believability factors…INAUDIBLE
Marlene: Well, you know, if you look at the kind of work, that you report Kate and then you know they say, “oh yes but Myrna’s a really accomplished teacher who’s had many years…”, if we show what Jim Webb was doing, it’s “well he was exceptional, I.C.S. is exceptional, there are exceptional supports.” So I think it’s just that people see this but they don’t actually believe that it could be part and parcel of the ordinary for education, they think, oh yeah something looks good but it really couldn’t be commonplace in education. So I think it’s that…sense that it’s not doable on a large scale. So it’s not the demonstrations of scalability so much as it’s not even the belief that kids generally could think in much more sophisticated ways than they do…or are asked to.
Alan Collins: Well then you couldn’t even get teachers into doing it.
Marlene: Right, exactly.
Kate: But it seems like a really…I’m not clear that if you didn’t have more teachers using Knowledge Forum that those believability factors wouldn’t tame down. I mean I think anybody’s suspicious anytime most of the schools that are using it are close to the people who developed it and it’s not used widely. But as soon as people start hearing about Kentucky, when I talk about it, I mean this is a personal anecdote, but people start to open up in terms of their sense of believability. And I don’t think the sense is the only part, I’m just saying that it seems to me the more you can demonstrate that more and more schools across Canada and the U.S. are using it and having examples of good knowledge building, that by number you might convince people more than in comparison to a small group…
Mary Lamon: I think you’re mixing up the two things though because it’s not going to become widespread unless people believe it could be widespread. So I think there’s the two sides here that…I think we need to disentangle a little bit.
Kate: …If you get a hundred teachers, or five hundred teachers using it, that seems to me that would convince the people…who don’t believe it. It doesn’t seem like the five hundred teachers who don’t believe.
Marlene: I think what…tell me Mary if I have this right…but what she’s saying is that…this notion that it looks very hard, it doesn’t seem to be appropriate for the context in which people would see it, so you don’t get the five hundred teachers because you don’t get the believability that it would work in that particular context. So there’s kind of, well what’s the support, where’s the professional development for it, how do you get administrators on board. So from a teacher’s point of view they look and they say well I’d love to do that but there are all these factors against me. From an administrator’s point of view they say, I couldn’t do something on a large scale until I have a lot of data. So there’s always talking away…so the believability factor keeps it from growing, I think is what you’re saying.
Richard Reeve Could I kind of bring it full circle back to design research?
Marlene: That would be great.
Richard Reeve You have this whole issue about principles and whether that’s the way to communicate the theory and carry it forward. Certainly I gravitate to it because I think of it as a suitable methodology for a laboratory school, pushing the bounds of what’s possible and all that… But I also thought that what the principles, or whatever way you choose to fashion the theory, makes it more…able to be understood by others outside the field. And that brings the theory to light so to speak, and not just feeling and storytelling which I think we talked a bit about in the past was a way to move it out with a research base under it into the world…
Alan Collins: My comment on that is that, I think of principles as kind of part of a proto-theory, and they’re certainly much better than stories and they begin to…TIM BROWN used to like to point out that teachers tend to think of education in terms of… INAUDIBLE …and when they think of it that way, unless they understand the underlying principles they tend to mimic procedures that don’t produce any deep understanding that really captures the essence…INAUDIBLE…so it’s a push for more articulate ways of representing what the design is or what the basic…theoretical understanding is…
Richard Reeve What do you make of, and I won’t remember his name, but there’s somebody who’s doing visualizing design research or something like that with NSM and trying to build these laserdisc… or CD-ROMs or something that visualize the design research process and you see into it. Is that a way of seeing into the theory writ large somehow? Sorry I’m not recalling his name.
Alan Collins: I haven’t seen that work so I don’t know who’s trying to do that.
Richard Reeve It would be…it was the last article in the Ed. Researcher…issue on design research.
Alan Collins: Oh, that was by DORITSKY, and KELLY, and INAUDIBLE. Basically… that article has some interesting ideas in it, I didn’t feel like it…I didn’t think they were trying to produce videos of the design research process… My take on video, let me just talk about briefly, is…I like to look to look at it historically, that it was the ability to write that lead to the production of science and mathematics. That we could write and we could INAUDIBLE things because we could represent them on paper or some medium. But we could never study practice before because we had no way to…represent it. And now we can produce videos and now we can begin to study the practice of learning and teaching. And so we can begin to build theories about that, and so we’re just at the beginning of a new era in some sense. And, so one of the things, I like to cite a case of MAGGIE LANBERG’S, and she likes to talk about the dilemmas that teachers face. And one dilemma…is the dilemma of whether the teachers should follow their teaching plan or go with what SHEA is offering to try and build it into something. And it’s a dilemma that at lots of different levels, teachers face all the time but we don’t have a name for it. So we can’t build, we can’t INAUDIBLE… we haven’t named it, we haven’t reified it, and so you can’t build any conceptual structure…
DISCONNECTED CALLED BACK TO CONCLUDE
James: We just thought we’d reconnect to say goodbye.
Marlene:…I guess what I wanted to do is just thank you immensely, it’s been wonderful having you… I was also wondering if we could maybe connect again, and Kate I was also kind of thinking it might be fun to embed some kind of a connection if any session in your course might be relevant, but that’s kind of aside, it could apply to either you or Alan. But we’ve been thinking it would be awfully nice to kind of get these virtual meetings embedded in some sort of classroom activity. So two things: Thank you, and the other thing is could we try something again.
Alan Collins: I’m up for it whenever you are.
Kate: Yeah, the question in terms of continuing…which direction you want to take this conversation in…and what problems do you want to think about together?
Marlene: Well I think the…and maybe we should do a real quickie round robin if other people have…for me…thinking of the network we’re building as itself a major design research enterprise about just how you put this many groups together and really provocatively create something like a Knowledge Society Network. So that is a really important one, and then I think at the other level the idea of how do we ever address this issue of idea advancement and when it’s happening in individual communities and the possibility for intersects between communities. So for me those are the really big questions. Does anybody else have ones they want to add to that?
Earl Woodruff: Well for me, I’d like to actually have some specific cases in front of us where we’re actually talking about things that we are imagining as design experiments and kick them around a bit.
Alan Collins: We would probably need…paper and pen or… case descriptions in writing to do that.
Earl Woodruff: Do it on Knowledge Forum first and then get together to try and make some decisions.
Marlene: Another possibility is these case studies like Singapore just keeps coming back as this problem of…that they have a very competitive society so there’s this kind of sense that you don’t do knowledge building, like it’s neat, we believe in a knowledge age… so case studies might be what if they could join us for a think tank about some problems that these distant sites are having… and I mean it could literally just be an open think tank for problems they’re experiencing…kind of knowledge building in action series where people say we’d like to be able just to talk to people who could give us advice and what about this tough problem we’re having.
Alan Collins: That would be great. I actually have a student from Singapore who would love to talk more about this in relation to her culture…
Marlene: So maybe we should get Seng Chee, or…
Kate: I have a question about whether you are interested in continuing this question that Mary brought up about the summative evaluation and control groups and things like that.
Mary Lamon: Well I would certainly love that. I’d like to fit designing an experiment and design research and figure out the relationships between them, if there are any.
Earl Woodruff: I would too, that’s not clear yet.
Carl: These different topics that have been suggested will attract different subgroups to the session, so I don’t know that we should emphasize too much the continuity from this one. I mean, you know, summative evaluations is going to bring a lot of people because it’s a very hot topic… in schools all over practically…