Saturday, October 26, 2013

C@SS Conference - Keynote 1

Classrooms, Kitchens and Farms: Exploring the Narrative Nature of PCK
Professor Sally Fincher
(Professor of Computing Education at University of Kent)

Cookbooks: Mrs Beeton was the first to separate ingredients from method and also gave some contextual information (e.g. The cost of the meal.) This was very influential but other ways of describing recipes are possible, for example the engineer's cookbook time is on the x-axis and ingredients are on the y-axis. The best selling non-fiction book a wee while ago was Jamie Oliver's 30 minute meals. A comment on Amazon said the problem with the book was to prepare a meal in 30 minutes with Jamie's book, you had to be Jamie Oliver!

Knowledge is situated. You have the knowledge in the recipe but you need a whole bunch of other skills and experiences to pull it off. Often the best way is to see someone else make the food (mother, friend, ...). How do teachers share this situated knowledge? How do we learn from the experience of others?

One way Sally has tried is through Disciplinary Commons where people who are teaching the same areas meet on a regular basis to share practice and experience. Gave the example of introducing selection - don't start with the complex logic and flowcharts. Start with playing cards and lay hem out - ask people to choose the largest. If you do it that way, they will not be able to explain how the chose the right one. If instead, you put the cards face down and say they can only look at two at a time, then they can start to unpick what they are doing. This marries the content knowledge (about selection) with pedagogical knowledge (how people learn) and experiential knowledge (about what we've taught before and whether or not it was successful). Disciplinary Commons has an archive of portfolios with:

  • Context
  • Content
  • Instructional design
  • Delivery
  • Assessment
  • Evaluation

There is also a commentary to contextualise. This narrative knowledge is not a recipe but supports and builds expertise.

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