Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The hidden lives of learners

At a NZ Association for Research in Education conference in 2001, I had the pleasure to attend Graham Nuthall’s Jean Herbison presentation on The cultural myths and the realities of teaching and learning. I had learnt about Graham & and Adrienne Alton Lee through my B Ed studies in the 1990s. Much of their work had particular relevance to me as my children were younger then & provided me with a source to apply my learning. To this day, both my children remember the sessions we had about learning smarter, not just harder.

Over the mid semester ‘break’, I read Graham Nuthall’s book, the hidden lives of learners and this brought back many memories for me of his presentation. Previous to reading the book, I have been mulling over my thoughts about the mlearning pilot and where it‘s next trial could take my research participants & myself. My Phd reflections established a link between becoming a baker and the use of technology to capture some of the essence of how young people ‘become’. The eportfolios produced by apprentices are very much digital narratives of some aspects of their journey towards becoming bakers. It records some of the skills and knowledge they have accumulated but the collection of multimedia evidence also captures some of the ‘unstructured’ pathways, methods, interactions and important life skills which are being gained as well.

The collections of evidence do not provide solid evidence of what goes on in the apprentices’ heads as they transform from immature, self focused boys into responsible, reliable, competent and mature young men. There is scope (if I can secure some research funding) to study the meta-cognitive processes as novices become semi – experts by using a mixture of what is currently taking place with the mlearning pilot and the research tools used by Nuthall and Alton Lee.

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