Comments: Reflection out of the box

Once again the key, in my opinion, is appropriating technologies already developed for reflection in other fields. Weblogging contains trackbacking and comments, which facilitate conversation to a degree; community sites like LiveJournal allow for much more sophisticated threaded conversations, almost like a miniature discussion board tagged to the end of each post. These conversations can often carry on for weeks after the post has been made.

LJ in particular also has a very cunning little Windows application that sits in your taskbar, to the side of your clock - every time you want to "reflect", you just click on the icon, write what you're thinking, and click "post". (Blogger et al depend on third-party software, via a standardised XML-RPC framework.) Because the user doesn't have to log into a web page every time, they're more likely to say something "off-the-cuff"; these comments, because they're less guarded, may be more valuable in terms of recording and thinking about the learning process.

Posted by Ben at May 25, 2004 03:44 PM

This is a question where I do not have any answers. We are currently testing out various approaches but at the moment I'm afraid it is still the textbox :( It will be interesting to see what others think.

I guess my thinking goes along the lines of trying to create an environment/situation where the learner can really say what it is they want without feeling like they are just jumping through hoops - the reflection just being another part of the assessment process - and we need to come up with strategies to engage the learner in this reflection process.

Posted by Dave at May 27, 2004 12:22 PM

Storytelling is a form of reflection that is very engaging. In fact, Donald Schon thinks "storytelling is the mode of description best suited to transformation in new situations of action.”

Posted by Helen Barrett at May 28, 2004 01:23 AM

(It dropped the second part of my comment.) I am leading a Digital Storytelling workshop in New Jersey, and it is very obvious to me that the addition to multimedia to the storytelling process is very engaging and motivating.

Posted by Helen Barrett at May 28, 2004 01:26 AM

Reflection is an important thing and so is dialog as well as linked information or communication. Combining portfolio methods with blogs online opens new dimensions in education specially now when it is so easy to send a telephone conversation to a blog, pictures from field trips with text via mobile phone, text sent with e-mail and picture as an attachment. With the ease of use the focus is on learning. Publishing your thoughts and get feedback is an important thing that leads to reflection, you have to think about what you say and think again when you get the feedback. With the voice you don't those who are strong writers are not ahead. Students here have also been taking interviews with their phone and put it into their blogs, then the voice discussion is part of the portfolio as one source. Clever idea developed by primary school students.

I myself am quite fed up with static web pages that doesn't "live" with the knowledge that grows.

Kær kveðja
Lara

Posted by Lara at June 9, 2004 12:23 PM
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