Apr 10

Day of Silence

Screen Shot 2014-04-10 at 11.39.53 PMTomorrow (twenty-nine minutes from now) is the Day of Silence. It is the 19th in which GLSEN, the LGBTQ allied organization working for equitable and safe environments of learning for all youth, has had a big part in. With 8 of 10 LGBTQ students being harassed due to their orientation each year I always saw the value in this expression but was unable to take part for various reasons.

This year, for the first time ever, I am planning to take on the full experience. In (now 25 minutes) I will stop posting to my social media and allow automated posts share some images and links related to LGBTQ accomplishments over the last year. I will put my phone on airplane mode. During class I will listen attentively but will not be expressing myself. This will be tough as I love discourse and socialization. It feeds me. During the day I plan to silent vlog and compose a video reflection at the end. In a strange merger of my personal and professional life I am sharing the YouTube video I posted explaining this just fifteen minutes ago.

With twenty-minutes to go, see you on the other side of Friday!

 

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Apr 10

Really Enjoy Quantitative Methods – WHAT!?

Fake figures representing a classroomMany of my colleagues in this doctoral program are interested in qualitative studies. A few are excited by the potential in a mixed methods study. We are all taking a quantitative methods course together looking at the data analysis. This is definitely an applied class and I am loving it! Our theoretical courses have been fun but this class is much less guided and I finally feel like I am enjoying a non-linear exploration of research methodology.

The way in which content is presented definitely has a huge impact on my engagement. There is a bit of linearity in this course. We work on analysis together and maintain a fairly similar pace. Simultaneously the instructor entertains extensions, independent explorations, and ad hoc communications and discussion about specific areas of interest. I try creating this space in my own teaching of educational technology and have enjoyed exploring the different ways in which our instructor accomplishes this. My one critique of this course relates to a lowered emphasis on creating a socially inclusive learning space.

In this critique I am also trying to be self-aware relating to my own work establishing a safe environment. Do I overemphasize this? Do my concerns around LGBTQ and race issues mean I forget to confront issues over able-ness, religion, or other marginalizing topics?

Just things I ponder during class.

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Apr 08

A Focus for My Work

Picture of Rurik glaring at a fake skeleton

Rurik – glaring into the face of research!

Recently I met with three individuals plotting ways to support online play spaces and recognize the inherent benefits of these spaces. Our discussions tempted me into subverting my entire dissertation for an opportunity to study the birth of an organization dedicated to this mission. Quickly I pulled back but I learned some valuable things from this:

  1. My dissertation is transferable. The methodology I am planning to use is easily transitioned to new contexts. Design-Based Research really does a lot for the field of educational technology and game-enhanced learning spaces in particular.

  2. My dissertation will not eat away every moment of my life. Sure I will spend quite a bit of time on the weekends developing my study, conferring with the design team, and combing through the data – but it is not going to consume every available hour.

  3. My dissertation is important. As I was mesmerized by the idea of studying this forming educational organization I was snapped back to my plan as scheduled by several comments about how important the research I was doing would be for the future of similarly embryonic organizations.

It is exciting to think that even in potential failure the work I am doing has purpose beyond the esoteric.

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Feb 24

A Lecture Response: Promoting Justice by Dr. Jacqueline Temple

Tonight I was privileged to attend the retirement presentation of one of our faculty at Portland State University. She spoke on inclusion and her experiences with thought leaders throughout her career. As a consummate educator she provided question prompts on each table and had us respond and ask those questions.

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She shared personal stories of her own lived experience as a person of color. Her travails as a women of color pursuing a life in academia might seem like fantastical stories from ancient history to students today. Her ethnography documents momentous changes in our society but also illuminates how much further we have to go.

She defined Inclusion and Diversity:

Platforms for critical conversations and courageous actions across differences that are pervasive… Where diverse knowledge, experiences, histories, and cultures are affirmed.

She also described obstacles to inclusion:

Push back: the space between the ‘talk and walk’

She went on to describe her framework for inclusion as something that looks different wherever you go. It is situational. Not only this, but it is knowledge dependent. She defined knowledge on the institutions, people within them, community, students, parents, and policy makers.

Too many children have been marginalized.

Education depends on inclusion and diversity. Our curriculum, whether textbooks or lesson plans or another artifact, must be examined closely. Referring to Paulo Freire Dr. Temple discusses how she wants more than integration but participation that leads to transformation.

During her Fulbright experience she worked in Finland on their burgeoning needs related to diversity. Her scholarly inquiry there became both an expiration outside but also introspection around her own life.

From visiting a K market and discovering challenges unknown:

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To living overseas during the attacks on the World Trade Towers and Pentagon – worrying for her daughter in Washington DC:

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Through this experience she found herself othered and yet accepted. This led to literacy programs between two elementary schools in both countries. Two multi-lingual schools exchanging thoughts, ideas, and people.

Dr. Temple ended her talk with thank you in several languages and asked for our reflections. It was a somber, informative and transformative retirement experience.

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Permanent link to this article: http://rurik.nackerud.net/2014/02/a-lecture-response-promoting-justice-by-dr-jacqueline-temple/

Feb 22

Explore Social Media – Non-Educationally

Thinking in text today.Recently I have begun encouraging my students and consultancy to explore social media tools for fun. To use them for the same purposes they imagine their students using social media. One of the major benefits of this exercise is that folks tend to delve more deeply into the features of a tool. Already I am hearing back from individuals about affordances that they did not realize were available. Youtube is a prime example. Now that I have a few students using it socially they are seeing how they might leverage a simple YouTube channel and Google Plus page as their entire portfolio. Sure there are more sophisticated and professional ways to package this material but at this point they are still developing the content. That is another thing, content developed in one form of media can often be easily converted and shared in another format.

I think this all goes back to one of my main tenants regarding using technology. Technology education must be approached with a playful mindset. If the goal is all business you miss the frivolous yet revolutionary possibilities.

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