For this week’s class we were asked to do some research on what it means to map the field. Automatically, my mind went to thinking about Google Maps and how Google has worked over the years at mapping the world, and in a sense it is a similar, yet very different concept. While at first I thought I understood the idea of mapping the field, it was made more evident through class discussion that it is more complex than what I originally thought. Now, I will try to construct my new understanding here in this blog.
When we choose to do research, generally we will gather information about what has already been done in that field. While gathering all the right resources and making sense of them can be a long process, since extensive research might already have been conducted in this field, it allows the students to identify the limits or the gaps within the research. As seen in class, this could even take a visual mind map like form, in order to visualize the connections or the missing links. In turn, this allows students the possibility to choose new theoretical perspectives, expressed a new voice or raise new questions to guide their own research.
While a literary review also allows us to study and review what has been done in a field, mapping the field allows students to pave the path for their own research.
As we stay hello to 2019, I feel excited by the possibilities that lie ahead. Perhaps the energy that I feel is fuelled by hopes, dreams and aspirations of bringing positive change to the world of education. As I look back, it seems unbelievable that last year at this time I was unsure about applying to the program (fearing I would not get accepted) and now I am already beginning the fifth course in my master’s journey.
As I reflect on all that I have learned so far, I wonder what I would like to accomplish during this semester. What is my intrinsic motivation for taking this Advanced Research Methods course?
Personally, I like to learn by doing and by playing an active role in my learning experience (social constructionism). To do this, I like to reflect on the assigned readings, I usually will use my iPad and the Goodnotes app to highlight different passages with a colour code and write notes directly on the readings. For instance, if I highlight something in yellow it is important, in pink it means that I would probably want to reference it again, in purple it is a key concept I want to memorize and use again and in blue, it is something I would like to read or research further.
Another strategy to remember and classify my thinking that I like to use is Sketchnoting. This allows me to organize my thinking visually and although this requires a more significant effort it also allows me to better assimilate the new information by classifying and knowing why and how it is important (metacognition and situated cognition). While this part is usually done on my own individually, it allows me to share my thinking with my fellow students and with my online learning community. Also, I take a lot of pride in my work, which is why I like to share it with the world which is why I have started this site in this blog (social constructivism). It gives me a sense of accomplishment and it allows me to structure my thinking and make it more explicit in order for others to understand it.
Furthermore, taking an online course can sometimes be difficult. There are many strategies that can be utilized to facilitate this process. First, taking short breaks. Personally, it seems to require more effort to concentrate and connect with others when I am taking an online course. Yet this can be facilitated, by using the camera function. Although, some prefer not to use the camera (perhaps they are stretching or taking down notes – this can be distracting) I like to be able to view the speaker as it makes it easier to focus and allows me to understand non-verbal cues. Moreover, I like to interact and share ideas with other participants, while conversations are not always a possibility, this can be quickly and easily done with a Google Docs or Google Slides.