Saturday, June 2, 2007

Developing knowledge through a creative process

Developing knowledge

I’m not sure how much knowledge about cyberlearning I’ve gained through this process. The reading I’ve done is very similar to reading I’ve done in recent years through my role as a teacher trying to maintain currency in education. The reading has reinforced for me the necessity to incorporate ICTs into my teaching, indeed, adapt my teaching style for the changing technologies and societal expectations.

Working in the team allowed me to experience asynchronous learning with no face to face contact. I think that has been a valuable experience as it has highlighted some of the things I take for granted in my teaching – particularly the opportunities to use body language to assist in communication and negotiation. Even with that, two team members phoned me during the process to discuss in ‘live time’ various difficulties they were having with the project. These ranged from the focus our section (the Big6) was taking, the possibility that it might be difficult to connect it to the ESL section and the lack of communication from a couple of team members. I found that, even though I don’t like phones, these conversations clarified a number of things and made me feel connected to the team members in a way I hadn’t felt prior. It removed the sense of isolation I felt throughout most of the process.

The computer screen acted like a bridge between me and other team members, and, like a bridge was a barrier to the development of any meaningful relationship. I think this inhibited the development of the team and the project. I firmly believe that if we could have all met face to face even twice, the project would have resulted in a stronger, more cohesive product. Whether this would be the case with other teams or was peculiar to the personalities in this one, I don’t know.

The creative process

I really enjoy creating new things – any new things, from stories to picture frames, from knitting baby clothes to creating anything on a computer. This project was no different. I was a little frustrated by the limitations of the vehicle we were using – particularly my inability to create a hyperlink connected to a picture on the website – but the creation of a website and working in a dynamic team minimised my frustration. I needed a few more and firmer early decisions to be made at the beginning and felt rather panicky when nothing had been decided by the middle of the second week. It was one of the reasons I created the initial plan of the website – to try to get other people to make a definite decision so we could begin work.

I also had health problems for a couple of weeks of the project which meant I couldn’t contribute fully. This was also frustrating as I don’t like doing things unless I do them well.

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