Presentation on theme: "Can you find the “R” in Design? Or the “D” in Research? A Research-and-Design Marriage Proposal Alan H. Schoenfeld University of California Berkeley, CA,"— Presentation transcript:
Can you find the “R” in Design? Or the “D” in Research? A Research-and-Design Marriage Proposal Alan H. Schoenfeld University of California Berkeley, CA, USA Alans@Berkeley.edu
On to the Serious Questions: 1.Can Research and Design live in happy synergy? 2.If so, how? 3.Why should they? 4.Why haven’t they? I’ll address these in the order 4, 3, 1, 2.
Q 4. Why haven’t Research & Design been blissfully wed? You’ve seen the argument in detail: Burkhardt, H., & Schoenfeld, A. H. (2003). Improving educational research: toward a more useful, more influential, and better funded enterprise. Educational Researcher 32(9), 3-14. Some bottom lines:
The Research/Design Divide: Collaboration is costly in terms of time and energy. It means sharing credit. If it’s not a new idea, researchers don’t get credit. Design is product-oriented - who needs a “fifth wheel” that might slow you down?
Q 3. Why should Research and Design get married? Some domain-specific answers on the way to a generalization: A. Chicken Sexing B. Educational Design C. Archeology D. Airport Monitoring E. Teaching
3A. Chicken Sexing The chicken industry depends on quickly distinguishing males from female day-old chicks. (Male chicks are killed or ground up for feed; females are kept.) People used to learn chicken sexing by apprenticeship. It took decades to develop the right intuitions. “Enter the Zen-Nippon Chick Sexing School, which began two-year courses training people to accurately discriminate the sex of day-old chicks on the basis of very subtle cues.” Experts figured out the previously intuitive base of sexing decisions, made sexing teachable (to the rate of 1200 day-old chickens per hour!)
3B. Educational Design Assertions: There are some design principles and design heuristics in education, but these are largely uncodified; Most designers learn (inefficiently and incompletely) by apprenticeship; Much designer knowledge is tacit but could be made explicit. I’ll return to these assertions with a proposal later on.
“In looking at the earth, archaeologists attend to an array of color distinctions in order to discern the traces of past human structures. For example, even though a post that supported a roof of an ancient house has long since decayed, the earth where it stood will have subtle color differences from the dirt around it… Features can be difficult to see. In order to make them visible to others, the archaeologist outlines them by drawing a line in the dirt with a trowel. By doing this the archaeologist establishes a figure in what is quite literally a very amorphous ground. This line in the sand has very powerful persuasive consequences. As a visible annotation of the earth, it becomes a public event that can guide the perception of others while further reifying the object that the archaeologist proposes to be visible in the color patterning in the dirt.”
3D. Airport Monitoring. Here’s the blooming chaos… operations room at an airport.
Here’s the detail on the monitors. See anything?
3E. In teaching… Berliner shows beginning and accomplished teachers the same pictures or short video clips of a classroom. Beginners’ characterizations are detailed and descriptive. Accomplished teachers’ characterizations are less detailed and more interpretive, with interpretations suggesting actions. Sherin engages teachers in conversations about what they see, as a form of PD…
All of this is about Professional Vision. Experienced designers have it; Others don’t. It’s an important part of designers’ skill. I propose that “Professional Design Vision” can be studied and abstracted, just like chicken sexing. This leads to…
Q 1: Can Research and Design live in happy synergy? Yes.
Q2: How (and why)? I think a collaborative program of Research-and-Design explicating educational designers’ knowledge base, including professional vision, would be plausible and fun. The challenge is to document what accomplished designers know, what shapes their behavior, what they perceive (the vision thing!), and how these guide their actions (e.g., revisions).
An example (With thanks to Malcolm Swan) Consider Malcolm’s draft paper for Educational Designer, “A designer speaks.” Malcolm presents a theoretical framework, some design principles, and a discussion of some revisions he made after embarking on classroom trials. For example, some sorting tasks evolved as follows. This…
My question is, Just what did Malcolm look for; and what did he see, when he piloted (trialled) the materials, that led him to make the changes he did?
What did he look for? “Firstly… what I would say is that the algebra task as presented is not the design – the experience is the design challenge, not the artefact. The way the teacher uses and manages it has to be designed too.” That is, how Malcolm frames the use of the artefact is critically important. It’s about the content and the dynamics of the interactions over the content.
What did he see? Various classroom dynamics that led to the re-design of the teacher guidelines; The need for some more complex mathematical examples; The need for blank cards so students couldn’t just “finish the task” by elimination, and could reveal more of their own understandings; And much more, which is easy to see if you “get it” and rather mysterious if you don’t.
Malcolm is working at explicating some of these judgments (see his forthcoming ED piece, and others) but this is “just” a case in point. A major question is: Can we begin an R&D (Research-and- Design) programme aimed at systematizing some aspects of the design community’s professional vision?
I propose a researcher-designer partnership aimed at questions such as : How and why do experienced designers make the (tacitly principled) decisions they do, as they undertake design and revisions? What’s the knowledge base, including design principles, heuristics, professional vision, that supports such decision-making?
I hope and believe this would be useful to: Designers. Codifying the craft would help generate the next generation. And just as with chicken sexers, there’s not an adequate supply. Researchers. Figuring all this out would lead to some nice papers - and add to the knowledge base in important ways. The world at large. If we can support the development of more and better educational materials, everybody wins. (That’s the why.)
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