Monday, July 06, 2009

GCoS PD--Day 1

We're getting together for some professional development. I'm leading, we're all learning (creating knowledge in our community)
  1. A major goal for this day was to initiate software tools-- joining and getting proper access to the GCoS site, this coming year's Class site, FLE3 and CmapTools on the CmapServer. This process was time consuming and a bit bumpy but also was successful.
  2. A second major goal was to do the "epistemological discussion". Numbers 3-8 are the points covered in this discussion. I argued...
  3. ... That theories/models (such as Dalton's theory of the atom or constructivism) do NOT tell how the real thing works, just like the map isn't the territory.
  4. ... That as our theories/models/maps develop they don't become ever-more accurate descriptions of 'reality'. Not everyone agreed with this. I asserted that these theories/models become more successful at solving the problems we care about, using the tools and 'habits of mind' available to the community.
  5. ... That, for many (hundreds?) of years, at least in the western world, we've consider the mind like a container and knowledge as a thing to acquire: the "Mind as Metaphor" and "Acquisition Metaphor of learning". Both traditional "Transmitter-Receiver" and more modern "Constructivism" models of learning are within the Acquisition Metaphor of Learning.
  6. ... That in the last 20 some years another model of learning has been/is being developed that looks at learning differently. That it sees learning as 'authentic participation' in a community of practitioners such as plumbers or scientists. Knowledge in this view is not a thing, but an action w/in a community. This model has gained great favor these last years.
  7. ... That there has been a great argument between these 2 camps, the acquisition and participation groups. It has been somewhat resolved by accepting the, 'map isn't the territory' arguement. That, each metaphor or model of learning is useful to solve particular educational problem--of course neither handles all challengers.
  8. ... That more metaphors have been created that can be grouped together and called a, 'Knowledge Creation" metaphor. This theory of learning subsumes the acquisition and participation models. The version of this metaphor that I'm using as my main framework for Growing Communities of Scientists is the "Knowledge Building" model. Note, this Wikipedia article is becoming less useful and more ideological over time but it is an introduction.
  9. Finally, we ending on talking about developing community values. We briefly looked at the AAAS site which shows Benchmarks--we looked at chapter 12, "Habits of Mind". Our homework was to make a concept map on the shared server of our values, goals and mission and then too read chapter 12, at the high school level, and start to consider a concept map showing shared values, attitudes and beliefs of the scientist community.
All in all, we got a lot done, did tons of talking/sense-making in the 3+ hours we were together. Yes, I was more than satisfied :)

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