Monday, May 03, 2010

Learning welding #6 - coming to grips with video transcription

Flip and I collected a series of videos and voice recordings over the last couple of weeks and are busy transcribing the material. To begin, we are selecting portions of the videos and recordings to transcribe by first doing a preview of the entire recording. Time codes with pertinent notes are taken at key portions of the recordings. These are noted for follow up.

We then select the recordings which we will focus on studying and transcribe these. This is mainly for both of us to practice video and voice transcription. We then compare out transcriptions to find out the nuances of transcription which are different. For the moment, Flip, with his intimate knowledge of welding is content focused. I tend to be able to put my researcher’s hat on as I am an absolute novice to the welding trade. This provides a good model which I will need to think through when we extend the multimodal project to include other trades. Flip will need to hone his skills as a researcher when he works with other trades as there will perhaps only be the two of us to work with tutors from other trades. This ‘apprenticeship’ model has worked well for the project so far towards building capability for vocational education research focused on trades learning.

Studying the video recordings is providing good practice at honing observational skills. For instance, I now notice the differences in how students touch metal services they are filing down for macro testing of welds. There is touching to gauge smoothness, but also touching to clear the surface of debris. When the surface is being studied for smoothness the tilt of the head is an indication of this action. Whereas when clearing the surface of debris, there is no head tilt. This indicates the importance of being attuned to whole body movements and not to just concentrate on the actual activity. The stance with which the student approaches a filing task seems to also be significant in indicating their confidence at completing the task.

Analysis of voice recordings indicate students who have been learning welding for a term (8 weeks) to be comfortable with the use of technical language related to welding. When the tutor talks to them in small groups, there is general nodding of heads when specific welding procedures are mentioned. In a short recording of the tutor discussing the results of the ‘nick break’, three students other than the student whose work is being evaluated gather around the tutor. All students are focused on how the tutor dissects the results of the ‘nick break’. Through the course of the short conversation of only 4 minutes, at least 16 technical terms specific to welding is used.

The above is a good example of how deeply students have begun to be acculturated into the community of practice of welding, in particular, how the common understanding of welding terms allows them to discuss welding concepts with the tutor. This is a good example of how inter-subjective understanding (Hutchins and Klausen, 1998), as described in paper on airline cockpit communications,  is being learnt through the tutor modelling the use of these terms within the context of welding.

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