This posting is about bringing three ideas together and exploring knowledge construction.
(1) I had a phone conference last week with 8/13 people enrolled in EDUC601. It became clear as I was talking with them that the investigation I am asking them to undertake is substantially different from other investigations (or research activities) that they have been asked to undertake. I want to tease out the difference as it is fundamentally related to the ideas I was developing in my thesis (2003).
(2) The Avonside research project (RULT) project that Lindsey and I are writing up has had feedback to say that we should strengthen our findings. We agree - it takes a lot of careful explanation to move a reader who is embedded in one paradigm to get even a glimmer of understanding about what is being said in another.
Rose sent the following: This question from EE (enviromental educator) Stephen Sterling might help: "How can we design in an open and non-deterministic way. educational systems and institutions that promote healthy emergence?" (2001, p.80)
Non-determinism is the key word here - I want to clarify how it relates to complexity thinking and emergence (I can see it but not articulate it).
What I am exporing here is non-determinism in relation to research processes (it is something to do with open-ended investigation where findings are found, but when we set out we do not know what they will be). We do, however, know the general domain of inquiry.
(1 & 2) The domain for EDEM601 participants is praxis.
(3) Capitalising on random interest - Kindle. As I was working away this morning, feeding material into the EDEM601 website, I heard Kim Hill interview someone who loved Kindle (it was the guy who invented blogs). You can load books into Kindle and read them where-ever - and it looks like a book - light is reflected off the screen and it is very portable, smaller than a paperback - and you can search within the text and hold heaps of books).
I got interested and googled Kindle and learnt that it works on wireless in teh states but in other parts of the world Google does not have wireless - but you can access material through a PC (not an Apple) and download it through USB - US marines in Germany do not miss having wireless. But - they will only send Kindle machine through a US mailing address - so you need a contact.
(1 & 3) The exercise of finding this out happened just at the same time as I was thinking about investigations - this juxtaposition made me think about an ongoing investigation of mine which is to keep up with and use technologies - in particular the web effectively (all the social networking sites and blogs and etc. - I struggle with figuring out what is going on and how to handle all the possibilities).
So I diverted from thinking about 601 investigations to thinking about my own e-investigation. I do not know what is going to come up that is relevant. BUt if something comes up it is worth noting it and following up (if and when I can find the time) It means that, occasionally and retrospectively, I can summarise for myself, where I have got to with my learning about e-technologies.
And, periodically, I chat with colleagues who have expertise about the things I am puzzling over or I share my insights with them. That adds to my knowledge.
(1 & 2 & 3) This is an example for me of non-deterministic investigation. I am interested in e-technologies (the underlying investigaton); I do not know where I might be in my investigation in three month's time. And random things happen - like hearing Kim Hill.
A non-determinist investigation relies on noticing and documenting the random events so that, at the end of the investigation it is possible to summaries what has been learnt.
(Not that my investigation will end, but it does have end points where I summarise learning for myself - in a similar way, 601 people need to round off their investigations in time to hand in their portfolios - even if they continue with them for evermore.
So - this blog entry helps me sort out what a non-deterministic investigation is. Great!