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Author Topic: Rethinking 'structure'?  (Read 11893 times)
PeterT
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« on: September 02, 2008, 06:01:21 AM »

Rather scarily I have been playing with some of the data about usage levels and looking at what folk have done (as best I can from the traces left behind) and am beginning to wonder whether I need to rethink my view on 'teacher led activities' (in the sense of teacher facilitated/structured/driven) - thinking particularly about the SpARTans, the two 'competitions' (Space and Y factor) and the machinima activities (Hindenburg and Gothic Murder Mystery) - all of these sets of activities seem to me to have had some key features:
  • Introduced and facilitated by staff
  • Had clear outcomes and/or deadlines
  • Were 'creative' projects - so open ended and with lots of scope for student choice and control of what happened within the overarching framework provided by the adult/competition/deliverables/deadlines
  • Required ongoing commitment from participants over long time frame - students had to 'sign up' to the project

Does this ring true for you?
What am I missing?
Do you have evidence that challenges this view (or extends it)?
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PeterT
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« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2008, 06:30:08 AM »

Have I just fallen into the product trap?

The four sets of activities I have picked out as being particularly successful all have a clear product (a proposal/competition entry, a machinima, a video) - and thus they are more evident (they leave a trace).

The thing that made me follow this strand of thought initially - about these four activities being 'significant' (in a non-statistical sense) - was the level of engagement of the participants rather than the products - so, for example, if we look at the amount of time spent in-world by folk in Phase 3 it is the folk who were engaged in these activities who spent the most time in-world. Of course it could be that they became involved in these activities because they were spending a lot of time in-world - though this is not so in the case of the SpARTans (who all spent over 1,000 minutes in-world during Phase 3).

Do you have examples of other Schome Park activities that you think were very successful (you will have to define success)?

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PeterT
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« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2008, 07:31:44 AM »

Another thought - one of the dimensions of practice that had struck me as important previously was

Learning about=>Learning by doing=>Learning by playing a role=>Learning by becomming

The SpARTan's wedding I would categorise as 'learning by playing a role'.

Things like the regattas and the first wedding were things which I would categorise as 'learning by becomming' (for some of the 'core' participants).

I recon the folk in the space project were/are 'learning by becomming' - they were/are actually being scientists doing real science.

What activities do I not know about which might challenge or extend this train of thought?  ???

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KitKatKid Schomer
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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2008, 08:07:11 AM »

What about the unsuccessful J8 entry? I think I'm right in saying that those involved met inworld a couple of times to discuss things? That comes under the proposal/competition one.

Learning about=>Learning by doing=>Learning by playing a role=>Learning by becomming

Learning about = Student and staff led sessions - One of the main reasons I went in-world during Phase 3
                       was to prepare or attend sessions.
Learning by doing = Probably a lot, but one that sticks out for me is everyone at History building their own
                           aqueducts, applied textures etc. Also, SavvyAvvies learned about fashion by creating
                           clothes.
Learning by playing a role = As you mentioned Peter, the wedding - I can't really think of much more at
                                     the mo, but I'll keep thinking.
Learning by becoming = 'Becoming' what? comes to mind. You could have becoming part of a community, which I reckon the whole of Phase 3 helped. Back in April/May when we had that big meeting, I know it was an important meeting but there was a lot of people there, everyone had their inputs - the whole community. That meeting shaped the rest of the phase. Lots more 'strands' were thought of, many were successful.
Then there's 'becoming someone' which links into playing a role and to an extent learning by doing. The space project group, they were learning by doing and playing a role and at the same time becoming scientists.

This has really made me think about it in a different way :)
Kit.
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PeterT
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« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2008, 08:12:51 AM »

What about the unsuccessful J8 entry? I think I'm right in saying that those involved met inworld a couple of times to discuss things? That comes under the proposal/competition one

....

Tell me more about the J8 entry - it is one of those things which I didn't get involved with and so don't know much about ...
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PeterT
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« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2008, 08:23:25 AM »

...
Learning by becoming = 'Becoming' what? comes to mind. You could have becoming part of a community, which I reckon the whole of Phase 3 helped. Back in April/May when we had that big meeting, I know it was an important meeting but there was a lot of people there, everyone had their inputs - the whole community. That meeting shaped the rest of the phase. Lots more 'strands' were thought of, many were successful.
Then there's 'becoming someone' which links into playing a role and to an extent learning by doing. The space project group, they were learning by doing and playing a role and at the same time becoming scientists.

...

For me the difference between 'learning by playing a role' and 'learning by becomming' is to do with the degree to which you actually take on the role - I
* In the regatta Topper was not pretending to be the race officer he really was the race officer.
* In the Space competition the participants are genuinely doing what scientists do - they are behaving as scientists would behave 'in the real world' - which is very different from what you would find happening in most school science lessons.
* The governance - particularly the planning permissions - was real - folk were being the planning officers - not just playing the role but actually doing the job.

In the SpARTan's wedding you get a clear feeling that they were 'playing' at having a wedding - they were taking on the roles of people who were getting married but it was clearly a game or play acting. There was something qualitatively different about the first wedding between Trixxie and Wintermute - though they were also play acting to some extent (Wintermute said to me at one point 'you know it's not real') but the wedding was a real community event in a way that the SpARTan's wedding was not. Now that may just have been because many more people were involved in setting it up - I'm not sure ... but it felt different somehow ...

Seems to me that this distinction between pretending to do something (playing the role) and actually doing it (becoming) is very significant (in a not statistical sense). Might be to do with authenticity and relevance - but also to do with the depth and nature of the knowledge that you gain (richer, not just declarative).  ???
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KitKatKid Schomer
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« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2008, 08:26:03 AM »

http://www.schome.ac.uk/wiki/J8

There has to be a 500 word personal statement AND either the written statement OR powerpoint presentation OR video to show what you would do if you were the G8 leaders. For example if you go for the written statement these are the questions you have to address (much the same for the vid and the powerpoint):

The Environment and Climate Change:
Describe two ideas how G8 countries can achieve sustainable and efficient energy supply, energy consumption reduction and other measures to curb global warming and better protect the integrity of the environment. (Up to 300 words in total)

The Global Economy:
Describe two ideas to address how emerging and lo-income economies can participate in and benefit from the global economy with positive impacts on the health and security of their citizens. (Up to 300 words in total)

Development:
Discuss why the regions of Africa and Asia face high poverty rates, and what that means for children in these regions and for other citizens around the world. Present two ideas describing what the G8 leaders can do to reduce poverty in Africa and Asia. (Up to 300 words in total)

Infectious Diseases:
Infectious diseases such as HIV and AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis are a major burden on the health and productivity of people – particularly children – in many low-income countries. Describe two measures to help curb one or more diseases that can be undertaken by G8 leaders. (Up to 300 words in total)

Sources/References:
Be sure to cite all of the references you used in a bibliography/list (include the websites, newspaper articles, magazine articles, letters, presentations, books etc that informed your research.

Social Commitment:
What activities has your team led or participated in this year that demonstrate your commitment to global issues, social justice and the community around you?

Mobilising Others:
How have you collected the views of other young people in the UK on G8 agenda issues before the Junior 8 summit? If you were able to attend the Summit, how would you then inspire other young people to become involved in global issues in your community? (Up to 300 words in total)

Additional Material:
You can supplement your competition entry by submitting additional materials to present your views, your research and your work on social justice issues, such as photographs, audio/visual materials and any other creative media.


This was led by Elsa then different sections were divided up:

Environment - Vibia
Economy- Explo
Development - Topper
Diseases - Emodalek
Mobilising Others & Social Commitment - Kali.

They met in world a couple of times but I think that the entry didnt get submitted because it was the Easter break and people went away and the entry form couldnt be finished...unsure on this - I think Kali would be the one to ask. There was a forum topic but I can't find it at the minute..will keep checking.
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« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2008, 08:29:56 AM »

...
Learning by becoming = 'Becoming' what? comes to mind. You could have becoming part of a community, which I reckon the whole of Phase 3 helped. Back in April/May when we had that big meeting, I know it was an important meeting but there was a lot of people there, everyone had their inputs - the whole community. That meeting shaped the rest of the phase. Lots more 'strands' were thought of, many were successful.
Then there's 'becoming someone' which links into playing a role and to an extent learning by doing. The space project group, they were learning by doing and playing a role and at the same time becoming scientists.

...

For me the difference between 'learning by playing a role' and 'learning by becomming' is to do with the degree to which you actually take on the role - I
* In the regatta Topper was not pretending to be the race officer he really was the race officer.
* In the Space competition the participants are genuinely doing what scientists do - they are behaving as scientists would behave 'in the real world' - which is very different from what you would find happening in most school science lessons.
* The governance - particularly the planning permissions - was real - folk were being the planning officers - not just playing the role but actually doing the job.

In the SpARTan's wedding you get a clear feeling that they were 'playing' at having a wedding - they were taking on the roles of people who were getting married but it was clearly a game or play acting. There was something qualitatively different about the first wedding between Trixxie and Wintermute - though they were also play acting to some extent (Wintermute said to me at one point 'you know it's not real') but the wedding was a real community event in a way that the SpARTan's wedding was not. Now that may just have been because many more people were involved in setting it up - I'm not sure ... but it felt different somehow ...

Seems to me that this distinction between pretending to do something (playing the role) and actually doing it (becoming) is very significant (in a not statistical sense). Might be to do with authenticity and relevance - but also to do with the depth and nature of the knowledge that you gain (richer, not just declarative).  ???

Yep I agree with that. I'll continue to look for other examples.
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« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2008, 08:34:07 AM »

Got one, archaeology exploring the shipwreck...were they becoming underwater archaeologists or playing the role?

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« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2008, 02:10:15 PM »

Rather scarily I have been playing with some of the data about usage levels and looking at what folk have done (as best I can from the traces left behind) and am beginning to wonder whether I need to rethink my view on 'teacher led activities' (in the sense of teacher facilitated/structured/driven) - thinking particularly about the SpARTans, the two 'competitions' (Space and Y factor) and the machinima activities (Hindenburg and Gothic Murder Mystery) - all of these sets of activities seem to me to have had some key features:
  • Introduced and facilitated by staff
  • Had clear outcomes and/or deadlines
  • Were 'creative' projects - so open ended and with lots of scope for student choice and control of what happened within the overarching framework provided by the adult/competition/deliverables/deadlines
  • Required ongoing commitment from participants over long time frame - students had to 'sign up' to the project
Does this ring true for you?
What am I missing?
Do you have evidence that challenges this view (or extends it)?

I think that these projects stand out because there was a clear goal in each case i.e. A certain outcome had to / has to be achieved by a specific deadline.  Even though these projects were initiated and supervised by staff, certainly in our group Schomer input has been massive. Staff input has mainly been to help/prod train of thought to allow students to come to decisions/revalations themselves rather than being told the "answer" by us.  Also we help with time management  :P to keep things running smoothly. 

I think the interactive art and Savvyavies are examples of other strands that were relatively long term that also had outcomes/goals which acted as an incentive and held participant interest. 

Also there is a certain amount of pride, when a group of people have been working together to achieve something - be it the J8 proposal, Y factor or Space Experiment groups.  Students themselves have been willing to commit longer term to these projects. 

 
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KitKatKid Schomer
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« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2008, 02:15:17 PM »

Agree with the pride factor, there's a great sense of achievement knowing that for example you are in the last 6 in a national competition with a huge prize, also the fact that an awful lot of the work was done without actually knowing who you are working with.
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« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2008, 05:30:34 PM »

I would also say that so many extents the Y factor and J8 particularly but also on the space experiment they have been staff lead to a extent but the staff have been more of administrators and supportive instead of leading, for example with the J* it was Kali who lead very much... The Y factor was lead primary by kit, and the space experiment phase 1 was lead by Kali. When i say lead though i mean that it was very much a voint effort on the teams but those members help deligate stuff and helped guide it forward....

I might be totally misreading the suitations here though :P

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Marsbar9 Schomer
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« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2008, 05:32:51 PM »

I agree - and perhaps that was why they were better because there was always some sense of leadership and someone to bring everything together.
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« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2008, 05:55:10 PM »

However lets not forget the e+P especally in phase 1..

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« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2008, 06:13:41 PM »

That was different though, in the way it was discussing things. If you have a project where people are going away and doing their individual bits I think it's better if there's someone  to coordinate it.
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