Reading and reading everywhere, I guess I am frustrated at the moment. Nothing seems to make sense to me in relation to my PhD. I can’t find the real question that will move me forward and basically I am blocked but not only writing blocked but also acting wise blocked. I can’t take the initiative to go to the students and start the collection of data. But actually now writing I am beginning to think that it has to do with this feeling of not having a good research question still in place.
One of my interest is the relation between cognition+intellectual tools, how people learn and how tools are aids in that process.
Constructs to explore: Intellectual tools (Daniel Denette Mind pumps book, Jonassen)
I have thought that technology in what ever form it comes, being it writing, reading, the printing press, the watch, the map, the telescope, the train, fire, and many more have impacted profoundly the way we behave and I think the way we think. For example the complex logical and structural thinking present in Euclid’s Elements would have not been possible without the skill of writing. Having to display many steps needed in order to proof the unicity and existence of the tangent line to a circle, just to mention one example, is only possible if you have a structured way of thinking and then writing the sequence of steps you need to do. Socrates was against teaching people to read and write, he said when people learn how to write they are going to forget everything and only have remembrances. We can see almost 2 ½ millennia after, that learning people how to read and write was much needed and that these new skills has make an impact in the advancement of society. Around these ideas is where my thinking goes. Technologies, digital technologies, in particular web-based tools, are bringing changes in the ways we express ourselves, how we organise our thoughts, how we re-present knowledge. This process of knowledge re-presentation as the idea of finding a personal way of presenting your personal knowledge (a piece of information, of knowledge we are trying to make sense of) and how can tools shape this process hence how it shapes the role of teachers and educators who also need to make sense of what students produce is part of my interest.
How are these tools, and more than just the tools, the use of a bundle of them combined helping students to make sense of what it means to do research. How can digital tools shape the research culture and practice?
For a tool to shape the thinking it must be used enough so it has an impact in our thoughts. Where ever I read advices for PhD students I read that we need to write every day, that the more we do it the better we become at it, writing is a matter of practice, etc. So my argument is that what needs to happen in education is that we need to use and use and use digital tools so we can be agents of change.
I want to know about the informal systems (digital tools and tools in general) students have already in place, how they use these systems. In relation to what emerges from there I want to explore how there different systems could be improved (if it needs to) and how can this be done. What will students gain from going through the thinking process of what intellectual web-based tools are available and for what task they serve best, how can I create my own system. I am interested then to bring students to design and plan their own PLE. This planning process entails reflective thinking which in it self is important.
Is there anything new or different in relation to learning theories that I see emerging from the experience of designing a personal learning and working space? And is that change relevant to any learning theory? In what way?
I will stop now and do some reading I think I need to do. And as my tendency is being everywhere I am aiming to change in this respect and try to close a process to start the next. So this process of writing about my research and reflecting on what are things I ask my self is finished for today