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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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.

Grants & Scholarships…Grants & Scholarships

My funds do not equal the costs of my studies!

My funds do not equal the costs of my studies!

Grants and Scholarships – My Focus for the Month!

This month I need to really buckle down and hunt out new scholarships or grants to support my doctoral studies. Until now I have been supported by a series of graduate assistantships which will not be available next year since my course work will be complete and I plan to take part time credits. Not a big deal and something I actually enjoy doing.

The entertaining aspect of this is that my change in status has meant I am able to apply for full time positions. Many of these want grant writing experience. I have nothing I can document beyond the funding for my own studies. Note to self: write some grants. I wonder if the travel money I obtained last year counts as a grant? It was granted by the Dean….

Secondary note to self: research what distinguishes a grant from departmental money tossed to send poor graduate students to expensive conferences.

Today:

Search Grants

Tomorrow:

Repeat Today

Being Human

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I was talking with a colleague yesterday about how we find articles discussing the best ways to improve this or that social inequity in education. The research describes such artificial constructs and we were both left irritated at the lack of attention to being human. Personally, and lacking research to back this, you can employ all the constructs you want but you cannot achieve equity if people are not treated well. The secretary who smiles at everyone entering the school does more for equity than the contract with the interpreter.

Go ahead…walk into a school where you are ignored or even scowled at….see if you even want to ask about services.

Thinking Face

Integrative Thinking

Integrative Thinking

What is a thinking face? I have been considering a definition for this expression. I use it a lot and we see the varieties of the thinking face in everyday life.

 

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I have decided to go with Graham Douglas’s 1986 definition:

Process of integrating intuition, reason and imagination in a human mind with a view to developing a holistic continuum of strategy, tactics, action, review and evaluation for addressing a problem in any field.

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You can actually check out what he is really talking about here!

Vlogging

Hey critical practitioners and serious researchers. I feel like life gets too busy at times and we lose sight of the fun. To re-energize myself I have decided to differentiate my content via vlog. If you do not know it means to vlog click here! Over the last year I have found this work really well for communication with students and parents. Now that I am living the isolated life of an ivory tower denizen I felt a need to keep experimenting with the medium.

Check out my first vlog post below and be prepared for updates into the future!