putting it together

Teaching ICT Practices in Education this time has been the best experience I have had of bringing together my research and experiences from the field. Through the process of learning as action research, I have had an opportunity to put into words, for the students in this course, the connections between problems to be addressed, theoretical approach, and methodology.

The act of teaching these three aspects has forced me to put into simple language information, theories and methodologies that have been somewhat compartmentalized and obscure in my own thoughts. I finally feel a sense of connection amongst the three, which, in turn make it possible to write up the data.

The problem to be addressed is ICT practices in education. It is the problem of defining these three terms, and then bringing into action, the kinds of meanings we want associated with these terms when it comes to teaching and learning. It isn’t enough to use an overhead projector and a laptop computer to deliver a powerpoint lecture. Although that might fall under the definition of using ICT in practice in education, it does not go far enough in terms of incorporating ICT and contemporary technological cultures in the service of 21st century learning relationships.

I am addressing the problem of relationships. The problem educators face is relational and technological. It is the formation of technological cultures in educational practice that bring industrial age educational practices into 21st century societies.

The problem is relational, and that speaks to the idea of social learning systems, learning in social systems, social systems of learning. If we think of social systems as ecologies, we can speak of ecologies of learning. When we discuss social systems as ecologies, we are talking about social learning experiences that engender learning. Enactivism provides a theoretical explanation of how ecologies of learning function through the properties of autopoiesis, our drive for connectivity realized through structural coupling, and the consequent composite unities that emerge from these connections.

Linguistic cognitive domains explain how language and speech play a role in the formation of cognitive and metacognitive experiences. Our uses of language, expressed as speech, serve as the energetic flow that enables us to form composite unities through structural coupling. Our individual autopoietic properties allow us to discern when, how, and why we might initiate, sustain, or break off these connections. All this activity is relational, and it is manifested through linguistic cognitive domains.

Articulations counter-methodology provides a methodological approach to study the emergence and decline of relationships, understood as entities engaging (or disengaging) in structural coupling. Articulations is defined as methods of joining or jointing, the ways that we form, sustain, or discontinue relationships. There are multiple ways to understand these articulations, depending on the dynamic contextual conditions, the living entities, and the objects interacting within a particular moment in time. We can define this moment as an arbitrary moment of closure, whether that closure operates as temporal, spatial or a combination, of constraints. In our class we came up with several ways of understanding articulations as joining or jointing, as the formation of relationships. We also came up with several ways of understanding articulations as joining or jointing between participants, between participants and the objects they are involved with (including technological objects), and the dynamic contextual conditions they find themselves within.

This is the basis of my dissertation, the approach I am taking to make sense of the data we collected. It happens, that as we look at implementing particular relational experiences within the research program, we make it possible for new linguistic cognitive domains to emerge as temporary composite unities. We noticed, as research participants practiced new ICT perspectives and practices within the linguistic cognitive domain created by the research participants relationships, that a form of leadership emerged amongst the participants. This was a form of leadership that was temporal, spatial, and a combination of complex phenomena emergent in a particular time and place, with particular factors playing a role in emergent conditions.

This is the best start that I have had yet to unravelling the puzzle of writing up my dissertation.

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