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My quick thoughts, back stage, and rants as I try to Teach kids about the Web while learning how to help others build a better Web.


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Greg McVerry

Greg McVerry

An Autoethnography on Learning About Autoethnography

I can write this down now. It has been swirling around in my head for a month, the readings mixing with my thoughts and reactions, but I did not know just how to put it down on paper. So much of what I want to say about autoethnography is about me, not it.

Okay maybe I am on the write track. I kinda wanna lose the traditional research headings. Gonna keep them for planning so the semantic sturcutre lies beneath and through whatever blanket of truth I weave.

reflexivity and voice, various vague approaches to autobiographical inquiry, validity and acceptability, defences and criticisms, and a wide range of published personal narratives, the typical product of autoethnography.

keeping with the essence of autoethnography, I finally came to the realization that I could share my experience of learning about autoethnography and, in the text, co-mingle me and it.

Philosophical and theoretical foundations for autobiographical methods

Think we can skip the whole positvist and post modern debate.

feminist researchers “emphasize the subjective, empathetic, process-oriented, and inclusive sides of social life” (Neuman, 1994, p. 72).

Stivers (1993) has stated that a vision of universal truth is really just a dream of power over others and that liberatory, emancipatory projects are better served by alternative knowledge production process.

Taking the question of voice and representation a step further, we could argue that an individual is best situated to describe his or her own experience more accurately than anyone else

The potential power of autoethnography to address unanswered questions and include the new and unique ideas of the researcher is inspiring to me as one who wishes to find my niche and make my own special contribution.

They noted, however, that the term autoethnography has been in use for more than 20 years (originated by Hayano, 1979) and has become the term of choice in describing studies of a personal nature (Ellis, 2004;Ellis & Bochner, 2000).

The basic design of a heuristic research project involves six steps: initial engagement, immersion, incubation, illumination, explication, and culmination in a creative synthesis (Moustakas, 1990)

Although these phases, as described by Moustakas (1990), strike me as quite idealistic and abstract, they do set the tone for a very nontraditional form of study that “engages one‟s total self and evokes a personal and passionate involvement and active participation in the [research] process” (p. 42).

autobiographical research methods have become increasingly known as “autoethnography” and have been promoted, influenced, and developed by Ellis and Bochner (1999, 2000).

Muncey (2005) added some concrete assistance to the question of “how to do” autoethnography. She suggested the use of snapshots, artifacts/documents, metaphor, and psychological and literal journeys as techniques for reflecting on and conveying a “patchwork of feelings, experiences, emotions, and behaviors that portray a more complete view of . . . life” (p. 10).

A third widely discussed approach to the researcher‟s use of self is personal narrative. Personal narrative is often presented as a typical product of autoethnography but is also proposed as a method unto itself.

Autoethnographers tend to vary in their emphasis on auto- (self), -ethno- (the cultural link), and -graphy (the application of a research process) (Ellis & Bochner, 2000, paraphrasing Reed- Danahay, 1997).

Holt (2001) published an autoethnography that is similar in approach to Sparkes‟s (1996), although it deals with a very different topic. Holt told his story about becoming a graduate teaching assistant in a university and using a three-level reflection strategy to refine his teaching methods.

Duncan, autoethnography was a method of inquiry in which the inner dialogue of the researcher was considered valid, that encouraged systematic reflection, offered an organized and traceable means of data analysis and resulted in a scholarly account (p. 3). Rigor in the research process (“-graphy”)

On the other end of the continuum are a number of examples of personal narrative that rely almost exclusively on a highly personal, evocative writing style, focusing on the auto-, omitting any reference to research conventions, and leaving the reader to make his or her own societal or cultural applications. An essay called “A Choice for K‟aila” (Paulette, 1993) is a mother‟s story about her decision not to permit her infant son, with terminal liver disease, to have a liver transplant.

Despite their wide-ranging characteristics, autoethnographic writings all begin with the researcher‟s use of the subjective self. By using self as a source of data, perhaps the only source, autoethnography has been criticized for being self-indulgent, narcissistic, introspective, and individualized (Atkinson, 1997; Sparkes, 2000).

Greg McVerry

Greg McVerry

Greg McVerry

Greg McVerry

Knitting rebellion: Elizabeth Zimmermann,identity, and craftsmanship in post war America

Elizabeth’s philosophy of knitting stressed each knitter as an independent craftsman responsible for material and design choices, in opposition to the uncritical, or “blind follower” of the patterns knitter of the knitting industry publications. This shift in the practices of knitting intersected with increasing feminine autonomy and increasing interest in fiber arts to shape a new identity of ‘the knitter’ as original and self-determining craftsman, rather than the mere producer-reproducer of knit objects for domestic consumption.

The work of anthropologists Dorothy Holland and Jean Lave in their text History in Person focuses on social and individual practices generative of individual and communal identities in relationship to the larger and more durably instituted historical and cultural movements, and offers a number of contemporary and historical case studies of this process

Francesca Bray brings this recognition of the individual acting in collusion and resistance to social identity in her work on hand weaving as a technological production of women’s identity in late Imperial Chinese society. Her example of the swadeshi movement of mid-century India, with its production of homespun cloth as a “less economically efficient” commercial enterprise while remaining a highly “efficient technique for the production of Indian Nationalism

Marie Griffith’s scholarship on conservative religious women and their embrace of a recognizable form of traditional femininity while reshuffling pre-existing elements of identity into new priorities outside of traditional gender roles and spaces

Thus knitting as craftsmanship, and as a viable form of cultural production, was able to generate the individual and social identities that could support major new publications, institutions and associations, that could in turn, self-replicate across time and reproduce new individuals, in resistance to previously dominant conceptual forms of commerce and industry.

this is why knitting fits into the idea of innovation systems as the focus is on the identity of the agent in face of the collective.


Greg McVerry

Greg McVerry

Greg McVerry

Semiotic Social Spaces and Affinity SpacesFromThe Age of Mythologyto Today’s Schools James Paul Gee

In this paper, I consider an alternative to the notion of a “communityof practice” (Lave and Wenger1991;Wenger1998). This alternativefocuses on the idea of aspacein which people interact, rather thanonmembershipin a community.

This is a key difference between cogntive apprenticeship and agentive apprenticeship. The space itself can often act as a mentor. This includes the people, knowledge repositories, and the tools.

Gee notes communities requires some level of membership. You are in or out whereas spaces allow folks to decide to stay a bit or a awhile.

To define any SSS, we needfirst to start with somecontent, something for the space to be “about”(remember, it’s asemioticsocial space).

Another way to put this is to say that theSSS has two aspects, an internal aspect and an external aspect. AnySSS can be viewed internally as a set of signs (a type of content) orexternally in terms of the individual and social practices in whichpeople engage in respect to the set of signs

What are the internal and external signs of of ?

To take an internal view of the SSS of real-time strategy games is toask about the design of such games. To take an external view of the SSSof real-time strategy games is to ask about the ways in which peopleorganise their thoughts, beliefs, values, actions and social interactionsin relation to the signs made available in such games

And, of course, the acts of people helping to form the external grammar of the SSS as a set of social practices and typical identitiesc an rebound on the acts of those helping to design the internal gram-mar of the SSS as content, since the internal designers must react to the pleasures and displeasures of the people interacting with the semiotic domain.

A portal is anythingthat gives access to the signs of the SSS and to ways of interactingwith those signs, by oneself or with other people.

What are the portals for ds106 and IndieWeb for both it is the hahtag but ds106 can be taken for undergraduate credit,

Greg McVerry

Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Education and Human Resources (IUSE: EHR)



IUSE: EHR also seeks to support projects that have high potential for broader societal impacts, including improved diversity of students and instructors participating in STEM education, professional development for instructors to ensure adoption of new and effective pedagogical techniques that meet the changing needs of students

This is the long term goal of the project. You can see it hashed out here: Though it went through some revisions as I shopped ideas to RFP's going back to the original focus on teacher prep.

$300k a small budget as well can't get lost in the larger narrative of what I want to scale up to.  Going to have to rethink the overall structure of the story into a much more focused lens. 

For all the above objectives, the National Science Foundation invests primarily in evidence-based and evidence-generating approaches to understand and improve STEM learning and learning environments

go read past studies for methods used. Not much room for instrumentation and plus I am more interested in studying the spaces we create for sources of evidence

Going to go for the institutional track. 

  • design and study innovative learning opportunities, including cyber-learning;
  • create, implement, and test program, curricular, course, and technology-driven models;
  • develop, implement, and test creative approaches for adoption of education research into disciplinary teaching; demonstrate effectiveness of validated practices in a variety of institutional settings; develop and validate assessments/metrics for undergraduate STEM learning and instructional practice;
  • and conduct fundamental research on issues of undergraduate STEM teaching and learning.

This track supports projects that use innovative approaches to increase the use of highly effective, evidence-based STEM teaching and learning, curricular, and co-curricular practices in institutions of higher education or across/within disciplinary communities. These projects may be proposed by an institution or set of institutions;

Is a public school considered an instution

For example, support from key administrative leaders, ranging from presidents and provost, to deans and department chairs, is often an important factor in affecting the development, impact, and sustainability of change efforts at the institutional level

start working on support letters

need to go look at my budget again. 300k ain't much, want to connect our teacher prep to STEM. Want to get practicing teachers into hyrbid classes.

A competitive proposal will include an evaluation plan that provides formative feedback to guide the development of the project and summative assessment of the effectiveness of the project in achieving its goals as well as expected and unexpected outcomes

think about organizing the evaluation section based on this paragraph.

Time to make the template.


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