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Challenge of Teachers Design Practice

Masterman, L. (2019). The Challenge of Teachers’ Design Practice. In Rethinking pedagogy for a digital age: Principles and practices of design (3rd ed., pp. 120–133). Routledge.

What resonates?

Overally structured, process driven design would appear to be a poor fit for how teachers actually design and the context within which it occurs. Has some initial suggestions (from elsewhere) about how to respond to this.

Some discussion which raises the question of a forward-oriented design perspective and if and how much it informs what currently passes as design for learning.

Wondering how an assemblage of practices and tools that brings together

  1. An institutional adoption of a design process (e.g. [sharing-the-abc-approach]) with a focus on activity based design with a forward-oriented design focus.
  2. With the creation, use and updating of a design system of [casa] i.e. expanding [joyce-learning-design-systems] approach with [casa]

i.e. reinforcing my existing ideas

Extracted Annotations (1/6/2021, 8:26:44 AM)

Starting from an understanding of design as both creative and systematic” [Masterman 2019:120]

A major strand in research into design for learning has been the development of supportive digital tools that guide teachers’ thinking through the process of planning and constructing new learning experiences, and revising existing ones.” [Masterman 2019:120]

It is interesting that little mention is made of orchestration as part of the process associated with learning experiences. [note on p.120]

This chapter maps, and critically analyses, that problem space through a review of empirical work in which researchers at the University of Oxford been involved over a period of 14 years.” [Masterman 2019:120]

four factors that may bear on their design practice: students’ needs and preferences, the nature of the discipline, educational theories and frameworks, and the tension between teaching and research;” [Masterman 2019:120]

The chapter concludes by identifying some problematic implications for developers of digital tools to support teachers’ practice as they seek to marry the constraints of a structured design with the unpredictable, and often unruly, nature of design practice at the chalkface” [Masterman 2019:121]

Wondering if the “unruly” nature of chalkface design practice suggests that the “bricolage” approach (i.e. providing tools that can be at hand to do bits of design/implementation) might fit better (but not seeing it as a silver bullet, there is none) than a full on structured design process.

Something that could fit with the idea of expanding the [sharing-the-abc-approach] so that the identification of activities are used to create/match with constructive templates to implement those activities. Those templates (CASA?) can also be used in the more unruly,non-structured approach to design. Just be selecting those templates. The idea being that they embed bits of good design knowledge.

Better than nothing? [note on p.121]

Conducting research into a process which is often tacit, incremental, and distributed poses methodological challenges, particularly a reliance on participants’ self-reports. Each of the above studies adopted one or more of the following techniques: online questionnaires; interviews with academics, educational developers and learning technologists; workshops in which specific instances of practice were recorded; and inspection of artefacts such as lesson plans and VLE course areas.” [Masterman 2019:121]

Broadly speaking, the literature distinguishes two dimensions to design for learning: i) the planning and facilitation of structured sequences of learning activities to meet the learning objectives at hand, and ii) a way to describe, or represent, those learning activities so as to facilitate the sharing of teaching ideas and, thereby, improve students’ learning” [Masterman 2019:121]

And again this definition fails to engage with orchestration, but also evaluation and redesign (to some level). Not forward oriented design. A similar problem with the ABC approach [note on p.121]

Indeed, this perception of a creative aspect to design reflects a duality inherent in some conceptions of design. It can be simultaneously the application of’systematic principles and methods’ and’a creative activity that cannot be fully reduced to standard steps’ (Winograd 1996: xx, xxii)- or, both an art and a science” [Masterman 2019:122]

The overarching practice of design for learning has been operationalized by Dalziel et al. (2016) both in a hierarchical model operating at different levels of granularity and in a cyclical (process) model.” [Masterman 2019:122]

In terms of the four interrelated activities in Dalziel et al.’s teaching cycledesign and planning, engagement with students, reflection and professional developmentour interviews with teachers have focused on design and planning.” [Masterman 2019:122]

And this research itself explicitly divides teaching up and separate design and planning from the other aspects.

A question here is how do the authors using this separation consider Goodyear’s forward-oriented design. It’s not that forward-oriented design is actually doing all of these steps, it is engaged in design and planning that is thinking about those tasks and how to support it.

Perhaps suggesting that most people don’t think about this during planning and design. Observation would seem to suggest this but its not data.

If that is true, it doesn’t meant that we should change the teaching cycle, or the focus of this type of research. But perhaps it’s about explicitly asking teachers (and educational designers) what they are planning and designing when engaged in that activity? Are they taking a more forward oriented approach to design? [note on p.122]

In reality, teachers’ approach to design is considerably more complex than these two models. For example, different levels of the hierarchy can overlap as a teacher juggles interrelationships, dependencies and multiple actors:” [Masterman 2019:122]

Teachers may also take different routes through the task, some mapping out learning materials while creating the plan while others create all such learning materials afterwards.” [Masterman 2019:123]

Design and planning can never be wholly dissociated from the other stages in Dalziel et al.’s teaching cycle, since a design may need to be adapted in response to contingencies that arise during the learning session itself (engagement with students, or the micro level: Jones, Chapter 4), or reflection may lead to components of the design being added, modified or dropped.” [Masterman 2019:123]

Echoing forward oriented design

*TODO** Look at the Jones chapter [note on p.123]

Successful experimentation with a new technique or technology may lead to its incorporation into one’s regular teaching repertoire.” [Masterman 2019:124]

Furthermore, students’ demands for technology use can actually militate against innovative teaching practice and, even, propagate conservative pedagogies.” [Masterman 2019:124]

Interviews with lecturers in the Learning Designer project revealed a spectrum of relationships to theory.” [Masterman 2019:125]

Informal communities close to the chalkface were particularly valued by Learning Designer interviewees, largely for the element of trust that comes from close acquaintance.” [Masterman 2019:128]

A number of authors (including Jonassen 2008; Donald et al. 2009) have equated the thought processes involved in designing learning experiences to the solving of problems in ill-defined domains (Lynch et al. 2006)” [Masterman 2019:129]

Such problems lack a single definitive solution, there is no set of steps for the solver to follow that will guarantee success, and the solution chosen depends largely on how the solver conceptualizes the problem. In terms of digital support, this means providing guidance that makes the design’problem’ more tractable for the teacher without overly constraining their choices.” [Masterman 2019:129]

Masterman, Walker and Bower (2013) identifyfive approaches that may be adopted in the design of such tools: - - - A general model (ontology) of the domain, on which an expert system can be built to provide guidance to the user. Constraints, which either represent characteristics of a successful solution (patterns and templates) or guide the user towards successful solution of the problem (wizards). A’discovery’ approach, where the tool provides a digital environment in which the teacher can model different designs and/or gives guidance on demand.” [Masterman 2019:129]

Case examples, in which the toolfinds, and offers to the user, learning designs created by others to tackle the same pedagogic problem. Collaboration, where the tool either collaborates with the teacher or facilitates interactions between two or more teachers engaged in the design task, thereby leveraging the building of community knowledge.” [Masterman 2019:130]

Whichever of the above approaches (or combination of approaches) is adopted in designing a supportive digital tool, a paradox can exist in which some users perceive the functionality of a tool as being tooflexible, and others as too structured (hence, militating against creativity) (Masterman and Manton 2011; Dagnino et al. 2018).” [Masterman 2019:130]

Once a satisfactory storyboard has been arrived at, the design can be recorded on the computer in a more structured format.” [Masterman 2019:130]

The idea that creative design requires more flexibility and thus storyboards are good before moving to structured/computer based approaches.

Perhaps getting at the idea that something like the ABC approach (which includes story boarding) is the initial step to get a design before going to the tools? [note on p.130]

Supporting individual cognitive acts through developing usable and useful tools addresses only half of Bennett, Lockyer, and Agostinho’s (2018) characterization of teachers’ design practice. Also to be addressed is their deployment within a social context that can both shape, and be shaped by, their use.” [Masterman 2019:130]