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My Research Journal
Wednesday, 12 December 2007
Argghh ... Thesis Writing
Mood:  lazy
Topic: Thesis writing

Well ... I got my comments back from my methodology chapter ... not entirely favorably ... hopefully it gets better as I rewrite it. I need to put a whole section into the validity and reliability of qualitative and quantitative data and how these two differ from each other. And also make clearer statements on how my methods relate to my research questions and why I rejected one methodology against the other ... now that's interesting as I really can't recall rejecting one against the other - I must have because I remember reading all the different methods and still going back to cognitive load ... ahh yes now I remember ... I had the choice of instrumentalization from Trouche which I didn't quite like since a lot more attention was placed on what the student was doing with the artifact - i.e. the strategies involved with using the computer rather than trying to determine the learning. There is also Tall's procept thing which I really never did get but it was more about thinking about mathematics symbolically and whilst that is perhaps a good way to help students learning mathematics such as calculus which has a lot of symbols I think what I wanted to answer whether the steps in software made any difference to learning (procedural and conceptual) rather than whether it help students to have better symbolic learning.

Hmm ... what else did I read about and reject. I did read about distributed cognition - and I only rejected it because I didn't feel like it ... but need some more research-like reason :). I guess again it is because there was so much emphasis on the instrument in distributed cognition and community - although I just read from Wikipedia it is not necessarily so it can be individually as well. Because as I quote from Wikipedia:

Distributed cognition is seen when doing an arithmetic problem. We use both our mind and hand movements (writing down the problem) as a way to answer the question. The steps of Distributed Cognition are seen when: a) setting up the problem, b) doing the correct manipulation/arithmetic procedure, and c) writing down the correct answer for every 2 digits we have manipulated.

I can very well use this in my research to explain the qualitative side of the research - I have absolutely no reason to reject this right now - so would keep it in mind ... Gill is also reading some stuff on it - so might ask her to give me a summary of it.

Right there is also activity theory ... and I got discouraged from using it because of Gill's hatred for the triangles but again I think in activity theory the emphasis is on the instrument and what people are doing with it rather than the cognitive learning involved - I think my research questions has to talk about cognitive learning in order to make this clear why we are rejecting the learning as described by activity theory. I think because is is more socially and culturally motivated present day Engestrom activity theory - and I am not concern how the society and culture shape the learning rather again just their conceptual and procedural learning and everything here is always about the instrument being important ... although to come to think about it the real-life comments made by the students might be society and culturally motivated? Nah! I can't seem to swing that by myself and be comfortable with it.

Right ... then there is also the situated abstraction theory by Noss and Hoyles which I'm still looking at - but so far haven't seen anything really happening in that region ... and I think this wouldn't be something I would've even considered but again here it is all about the instrument rather than the learning - I'm concerned with not only how the students learn with the instruments but what they are doing with the questions (well now I am!) - I mean there is nothing in the programmes that would show a great amount of situated abstraction playing a role in their learning ... right?

I think so far I've confused myself more - I know instinctively I don't like some of these methods because they just rub me the wrong way - but don't think that would be a really good explanation in a thesis :).

Posted by prejudice at 10:50 AM GMT
Tuesday, 24 April 2007
CAL paper writing
Mood:  cool
Now Playing: Radha Kaise Na Jale (Lagaan)
Topic: Thesis writing

(Technically not thesis writing)

Well I'm back again from vacation and I'm hurriedly trying to put together my paper for the Computers and education journal and it seems to be taking forever, because I don't know how to write a methodology paper it was so much easier writing the PME paper since that was more a typical research report paper. Anyway, slugging away at it - waiting to see if Jonathan is going to be writing anything to contribute to the paper. Hopefully he checked his email!

Posted by prejudice at 11:01 AM BST
Tuesday, 12 December 2006
Feedback from Chapter 1 Draft
Mood:  don't ask
Now Playing: One or the Other (Paula Abdul)
Topic: Thesis writing

Well, sent off the first draft of the chapter 1 (which I have to admit wasn't that great :D) - it was just about 2000 words. Anyway, John sent back some critical feedback and for some reason I started feeling defensive about my work rather than welcoming the critical feedback. So, I'm trying to understand why I'm feeling like that. I think perhaps I knew it wasn't up to par and I think him giving critical feedback just confirmed that my work wasn't so great but I didn't want to admit it to myself and that I wanted to be given encouragement instead. But one can't give encouragement over not good work, so, got to accept the comments and move on, and try to be more positive towards it.

I think in general I'm just scared at the moment, because I have to start my main study and I still have no idea what I'm doing for it or what exactly I'm looking at and James and Doug will be asking me about it again this afternoon and I would be drawing a blank. I have no ideas. Well, I do have some brief ideas, I'm still thinking about what I'll be looking in the software. I need to still typify what are glass-box, black-box and open-box software in terms of linear programming. Even from my remote observation study I'm not sure how much useful data I can get - especially with people not doing the problems using the software but going back to pen/paper, so, that type of experimental form won't work, because I can't compare between software if people decide to use pen/paper, because it won't be the same things I'll be comparing! So, I'm not sure what I do in that aspect ... this is getting me scared and confused more by the minute - but better find these things out now! 

Posted by prejudice at 2:37 PM GMT
Tuesday, 21 November 2006
Chapter 1 and Pilot Study
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: (I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight (Cutting Crew)
Topic: Thesis writing

Well, my writing came to a full stop when I decided to go to the TELMA workshop and haven't done anything since on it ... I've only managed a measly 1850 words ... well, it is still more that I had originally, I was thinking of reviewing it and then rewriting the chapter, but not sure how productive that would be ... I still have to rewrite my pilot study which I have put aside for quite awhile.

 To be fair, I did do the canonical correlation between the two questionnaires that John suggested, but can't make head or tail of how I should proceed to analyse it, and if there is anything of significance between the two questionnaires.

Posted by prejudice at 11:53 AM GMT
Monday, 30 October 2006
Writing a paragraph :)
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: Na Tum Jano Na Hum (Kaho Naa Pyar Hai)
Topic: Thesis writing

So, this is turning out to be a lot harder than I anticipated. I think it is because I have no clear structure in my head, so have no idea what to write. But got to keep writing, never know how useful the writing purpose might be. I did write one half-crack paragraph about 100 words as my daily paragraph (its really stupid) - but more words on paper than before.

I'm trying to figure what to write for my new paragraph, so did a whole new section of "Research objectives and aims" and then I drew a blank :) ... couldn't figure where to go from there. I think that heading was too daunting. Not sure how much this plan is actually going to be fruitful, because don't know if I have enough will-power to continue it, but I think once I have those annoying pop-up reminders it should help.

Anyway, the reason why I'm here posting to this blog, I'm hoping I can do a draft write and then copy it over, since I seem to think better when I'm here (well not think better - but rather don't have any preconceptions about the writing procedure and write better).

Right, so let's get to it ... (I think I'm still stuck :D ... just had a fire drill - so juices not running as it should.) Think I'll just write in the document instead (can sprinkle it with a lot of references and quickly reach 100 words :)!)

Posted by prejudice at 2:52 PM GMT
Thursday, 26 October 2006
Thesis (... I know a bit early!)
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: Champions Trophy: WI vs India (WI 43/1, India 223/9)
Topic: Thesis writing

So, after getting duly scared from Jonathan telling me I should start writing early ... that is what I'm doing. I've decided to write a few lines everyday for my Chapter 1 - I'm hoping this way my dislike for writing won't culminate.

Did the first paragraph today, and it is looking good (not the writing) - but the writing process itself ... it is helping me to think what I might want to get done, which I think is a good idea since I really unsure of what I'm doing ... I guess this is what will be called an impasse (I've been reading Jones and Fleischman :D).

Posted by prejudice at 3:01 PM BST
Thursday, 12 October 2006
Remote Observation: When you thought it couldn't get any worse ....
Mood:  crushed out
Now Playing: Matters of the Heart (Michael McDonald)
Topic: Thesis writing

Well, new drama with the remote observation study has just entered into my life! I can't do video, voice and application sharing behind OU's firewall to anyone outside of it! On the upside I can use people in the OU with no problems! The only way I can use it, is by telling the IT people the time, the date and the software I'll be using and then I would (probably) be able to get the ports open - and I have to give 2 days advance notice!

Another thing, is when I use Bulent Screen Recording, the computer gets so slow that the webcam starts to chops ... so will have to see if I can find some other way. And before when I thought it was recording both the microphone and speakers ... it wasn't true ... I was hearing the echo from Gill's computers that made me thought so, so, it only records one thing - so, now got to go find some software to do that ... Dave P. recommended I go trawling to find some software that does it and then try the shareware versions and if I like them request buying them.

So, long and painful ....

Posted by prejudice at 2:48 PM BST
Monday, 19 June 2006
Probation Report
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: You Needed Me (Anne Murray)
Topic: Thesis writing
So, the probation report is off!!! I submitted it on Friday - so have no reason to think about it until July 17th comes my way. Unfortunately, not very proud of it, don't think I have any clear argument or rather a very critical literature review. It is lacking severely in those areas - but needed to get it off - so not too proud of it. I think I might cringe when I read the final version before my mini-viva.

Anyway, got the CALRG and the ICTM conference coming up and I have to prepare the presentations for those.

Posted by prejudice at 10:20 AM BST
Monday, 12 June 2006
Probation Proposal again :D
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: Kasto Mazza (Parineeta)
Topic: Thesis writing
So, have a supervisory meeting this afternoon - don't think I'm going to have much favorable comments on it - it was bit of a rushed job. I'm still hoping it would come together - but it is taking forever to gel in my head exactly what I'm doing - but I think with each of the patchy jobs I keep doing it seems to get better and better ... not great as yet. I'm still not sure about my rationale and purpose and whether the literature review is critical enough and helps support my argument. I think one of my problems is that I loathe to drop out any of my literature since I spent so much time writing it up ... but I think I have to make the decision and drop the unnecessary bits that are no adding to my argument but still uncertain what my argument is at the moment - I think perhaps that is why it is so patchy.

Let's see if I can identify my argument clearly here. I think my argument is although there have been studies into how students learn with mathematical software, there hasn't been much work done on how students learn with black-box and white-box software. Right got that. So, that is one part of the argument. The other part is that the belief that how students learn with software differ between disciplines. Yeah that is one other thing. I think I further want to establish that the use of a software in the learning and teaching process may also vary between the disciplines. And that some software may be used in a white-box or black-box manner.

So, probably I think I want to establish how is software used in the teaching and learning linear programming, that is, how it is transformed into a learning tool in the different disciplines ... yeah something like that - and what this transformation entails (i.e. going from black-box to white-box etc - any exploration). Also, whether this transformation impacts on the learning of the student.

My problem how are you going to see the transformation of these learning tools as it is by remote observation and only one student? Would I have to take into account the collaborative aspect? I'm not quite sure what kind of data I will get to see this data - what is the transformation going to be shown? Getting more confused by the minute.

Posted by prejudice at 2:04 PM BST
Thursday, 15 December 2005
Passed U800
Mood:  bright
Now Playing: Rainbow Rider (Tanya Tucker)
Topic: Thesis writing
Not sure where this topic fits in ... but hey, just got results for my dissertation got 82 ... passed with merit ... so that completes my masters!!! I hence automatically upgrade to Ph.D (never mind that we've been doing Ph.D work since October) - but now we know the work we've been doing since October is no longer in vain :D.

Posted by prejudice at 7:52 PM GMT

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