It seems to be in the nature of things that CONSTRUIT! is obliging us to carry out ambitious plans with short deadlines and difficult logistic elements. The delayed start and delayed processing of the grant agreement have exacerbated this situation. I'm mindful that at this stage, because of the nature of the project, so much of the responsibility for directing the agenda devolves on me, and that it is hard for other people to contribute until more of the established culture of Making Construals (MC) has been shared. I also appreciate that it's all very well for me to be making bold plans for our strategic partnership, but others have many other pressures on their time and doubtless cannot share the same priorities.
In the interests of preserving my sanity (if it's not too late for that!), I am pretending that all the members of our consortium are in my position, and can devote their efforts entirely to preparing for the C5 meeting. In this way, I can feel more confident that the meeting can be successful despite the fact that we have just over a fortnight to do a large volume of administrative and practical work and are quite limited in the human resources that we can call upon here at Warwick. What I'm proposing below is a subteam organisation (some of which was conceived at our first Project Implementation meeting last month) to address the critical agendas for C5. Please do not be alarmed if in practice you have already committed most of your time to other matters over this period (as I'm sure many of you have) - this fictional device is there to serve a psychological purpose, and even though it may not be realistic for us to orchestrate our strategic partnership so rapidly, it will be good for us to construe our collaboration in terms that hopefully will become realistic in the longer term.
If you've not already studied this carefully, it is good to look at the relevant portion of the Timetable of Activities as set out in the CONSTRUIT! proposal:
The significant entries relating to C5 can be found in the first four columns as indexed by the months Sept-Dec 2014. Note that the events in the first column which were originally scheduled for September actually took place at the end of October: the cells M1, A1-A3 and C1 relate to our inaugural TPM and associated induction into making construals, and the red cell to the review of existing resources for MC that was presented at C1 and is largely documented on the C1 webpage. The line of red cells below relates to feedback from the partners to this review, some of which was directly given at C1 itself, but which still needs to be more explicitly represented and documented. To some extent, it is quite appropriate that these activities will be a significant part of the agenda for C5. It may be incidentally helpful to look at the scheduled agenda in conjunction with the proposed commitment (as given by the number of days work) as set out in the revised form of the budget I drew up in September:
The description of these activities is essentially the same as that documented in the original proposal (cf. p54 and p73 in the case of C5 etc), but the personnel and distribution of work has been modified.
A considerable amount of documentation that I have drafted for TPM1/C1 is still pending - it comprises minutes for the Strategy, Management and Implementation meetings and an account of "Matters Arising" from our discussions at C1. There is other material that is part of that response, such as the discussion (with prominent input from Steve) that Hamish has stimulated on the CONSTRUIT! Google Group, and other less conspicuous more technical documentation drawn up by Elizabeth. Some of this material represents useful input into C5.
The other components that cluster around C5 in the fourth column are: a 'Virtual Workshop' to take place in parallel with C5, the beginning of the first evaluation activity which will extend until the end of the project year, a Project Implementation meeting (the blue cell) and an extended visit by Carolina and Andres from UEF that has been postponed for logistic reasons. We should also bear in mind the green activities that are listed at the bottom of the schedule - it would be particularly useful to involve the International Gateway for Gifted Youth (IGGY) here at Warwick in some way in the CONSTRUIT! programme. IGGY would potentially be an excellent source of learners for the Virtual Workshops for instance.
Varieties of activities for C5
The objectives for C5, and its context in the project schedule as discussed above, motivate several different kinds of activity:
- an exposition of key principles and concepts for making construals, based on 'the progression of ideas' introduced in C1
- practical exercises and illustrative examples relating to the progression of ideas
- feedback sessions - discussion of the learner experience / documentation of this experience to be incorporated in the exercises
- free development activity aimed at two specific objectives:
- SciFest on the theme of light
- MENACE for maths+computing at school
- Q&A with consultants - responding to questions about the online course
In order to enable the Virtual Workshop activity, we shall need to create online resources to address the first three bullet points above. We envisage that much of this can be curated from the existing CS405 course material, as complemented by additional resources subsequently developed. It would be good if the online resources could serve a dual purpose, e.g. so that those who attend C5 can continue to study online after the meeting is over, and that learners who can only attend part of the C5 meeting in person will be able to access appropriate background material. Our current plan is to host the new online MC resources on the main CONSTRUIT! web platform rather than to spawn a new course from CS405 that is also created at Warwick using Sitebuilder. Such a course could be more self-contained and more clearly structured to reflect the sequence of learning objectives set out for making construals.
The idea of clustering our project team into subteams with a specialist agenda is a refinement of the notion of 'technology' and 'pedagogy' teams described in the proposal (cf. p26) that emerged from the Project Implementation meeting last month. Steve and myself will take responsibility for devising and organising the detailed programme for C5, and will be supported by subteams as set out below. Mike Joy, Dimitris and Erkki are in overall charge as the project leaders, Piet, Peter and Hamish will be consultants, the MC quartet and Soha Maad will act in the role of advisors, and there will/may also be input from other Warwick colleagues such as Emma King, Russell Boyatt, Jane Sinclair and Matt Leeke.
- for the Virtual Workshop - Ant Harfield, Rene Alimisi, Jonny, Hamish/Jen, Russell, Phil/Jo
- for the new online course resources
- the website - Rene, Manolis, Andres, Ilkka
- the technical agenda - Jonny, Elizabeth, Tim Monks, Ashley, Peter, Manolis, Ilkka
- for SciFest - Ilkka, Carolina, Andres, Chris Hall and Ant Harfield
- for Schools - Margaret Low, Sue Sentance, Jonny, Chris Hall, Michal, Ant
- for evaluation - Emma, Rene, Carolina, Jonny, Hamish/Jen, Piet, Ilkka
- IGGY involvement: Jo Thomas, Phil Tutty, Chris Hall
More information about the preliminary agendas associated with these topics will be set out on a separate webpage.