This week has been a great one for looking at our projects from different angles and asking more questions.
The biggest growth spurt for me and my project was initiated by the DQ Initial Analysis a couple of weeks ago. Articulating my ideas, work, and learning into this framework helped me on so many levels. I began to see connections between the research project I did in the fall, the subsequent action research I’ve been working on, and the Instructional Design Models we’ve been learning. I was able to start seeing a vague image of my capstone in the distance, beginning to take form. This week’s work has begun to help this vague image of my capstone gain focus and definition.
I think, in an Innovative Learning Masters Program especially, it is very important to continue to revisit Punya Mishra’s TPACK model. Watching his video this week caused me to look at the bigger picture and reevaluate how TPACK fits into the framework of my project. Viewing it from a different perspective, I ask myself, “How do all the pieces of the web I call my project interconnect to form a context for technology, pedagogy, and content?”
In my project, technology (which Mishra says can be as simple as a blackboard slate) is a valuable piece of the puzzle. Although it might not seem like my project is technology focused, it would be infinitely more difficult to implement without technology. I used technology in the form of simple alphabet games, both on paper and online, to strictly control the methods being used to teach the Kindergarteners. This is important because the people using this technology to teach the students are not trained teachers. They are parents, older siblings, volunteers, and middle schoolers. The pedagogical approach to my project is the most complicated feature of my project. I’m using research on what has been done like this, and also exploring new areas to find the best ways to design the program so that the teaching is effective for the students. Luckily, the content is my best friend. Alphabet sounds is content that virtually anyone in the Kindergarteners’ lives has already mastered, and can help them to do the same.
The work we did this week on the THINK SHEET was also especially helpful. This activity gave me a moment to explore, in a visual way, the variables in my project. I created a Mind Map (my favorite visual organizing tool) to explore additional possibilities that could be. Had it not been for this activity, I would have never taken the time to go further. After completing this step, updating my visual prototype (also a Mind Map from bubbl.us) was a snap. Having these two tasks complete made my Table of Contents process a snap. Even though we might not have a Table of Contents for our projects, creating this linear representation of the components of our projects was highly valuable. I was able to organize the elements, while double checking for completeness and for flow.
Continuing to look at our Capstones from multiple angles is essential because it enables us to keep asking ourselves questions that help us to further develop it, and refine it. This process illuminates any unseen gaps, as Dervin might say, allowing us to find our way to a clearer picture of our projects' potential.