Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Processes and Steps

Today has been that type of busy day that it is difficult to assess if anything has been accomplished. The students are very busy with end of term projects and besides brain storming on various projects, production has been halted until they finish finals. What is interesting is that many of the students I work with are under pressure not from their exams but from their class projects.

All the same the Center is buzzing with activity. As a group Monday evening, the Info Literacy team re-evaluated where the game concepts have been going and are now seeking to redirect. Janet Cottrell and Sarah Cohen from the library gave the students criticism about what points the projects were going astray on. I admire the students as that did not dissuade them from continuing. An important thing to remember is that this project is volunteer and about 20 students—from freshmen to juniors are volunteering—even during this very busy time. Instead they asked very targeted and to the point questions. 

It was discovered how much the process of Info Literacy is like the process a gamer goes through when playing a game. Depending on the researcher, the process, by any other name is very similar. Using Carol Collier Kuhlthau the sequence looks like this: 
initiation>selection>exploration>formulation of focus>collection>presentation>assessment.
Of course then it all cycles around. Just like the gamer's steps! The more difficult piece of concept development will be finding the metaphor that brings that message home—not teaching the process itself since that is so intuitively familiar to the gamer (ahhh - perhaps that is why these students are so bright!). This morning I was caught up in the idea I suggested to the students of starting at the end and letting the player then discover the process backwards—a type of deconstructive discovery. But this is up to them.

The funny piece of that was this afternoon I was late for a meeting with John Cohn and the student team working on the IBM/Engineering Week project. I walked in and John walked us (for my benefit) backwards to what had already been discussed. He created great sound effects as he back-stepped through the PowerPoint that is the current conceptual outline for that project. 


That project seems to have finally discovered its true path which is wonderful as our timeline is compressed. However it is the group searching—the creativity, the questions and the unique student understandings of the dynamic power of emergent medias—that give this developing EMC process its unique potential for innovation.

Here is a quote from an article I am reading tonight that has my head turning about creating relevant education (Nov. 2006 Scientific American by Stuart A. Kauffman from the University of Calgary):
The Evolution of Future Wealth
"...a deeper understanding of how species adapt and evolve may bring profound—even revolutionary—insights into business adaptability and the enginesof economic growth...
... Evolution can innovate in ways that cannot be prestated and is nonalgorithmic by drafting and recombining existing entities for new purposes—shifting them from their existing function to some adjacent novel function—rather then inventing features from scratch."

And with that tonight's photo is from the technological marvel that was Chichen Itza—also still ruminating in my head. Where did that all that creativity and artistic, written and technological discovery go and why?

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