Eventually all things fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moments, and know EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON.
– Albert Schweitzer
I started researching in about February 2014 by steeping myself into a massive review of theoretical topics regarding mobile technology enhanced learning. I used a licensed referencing tool, EndNote, to store and order themes of resources into categories appropriate for my topic, gradually expanding and synthesizing new categories as I progressed. I am a very structured and methodical researcher and at times, and was accused by my MSc Prof of having OCD ways.
I suppose that my relationship with the beloved EndNote app proves this point. In tandem to EndNote I keep an ongoing set of notes alive and thriving via EverNote, an open source application. The building of these 2 databases is still work in progress. I can recommend that both be used in parallel and that the categories of information are kept aligned. In addition, both applications offer cloud storage options, ensuring safety and accessibility at all times.
I want to propose a hybrid theory for technology enhanced learning (TEL) where mobile devices are used to facilitate the process. This is my B-E-E-G theoretical picture – the enveloping lens. Within the picture I have already synthesized a matrix of categories and factors to be used to evaluate a higher education context which strongly features mobile TEL (MTEL) aspects.
In order to apply MTEL, I have designed a case study, collecting empirical data from architectural undergraduates, studying in a blended learning way. The task at hand is to analysis the data, advance body of knowledge by adjusting the MTEL and finally to adjust and evolve the initial hybrid theory. In so doing, the findings will culminate in both practical for ill-defined domains such as architectural technology and theoretical recommendations. Thereafter, plenty of additional post-doctoral research is envisaged.
Let’s see what happens over the next 6 months.
A professorial friend called to find out how my doctoral research is going. We have lengthy academic chats which would possibly classify us as ‘old nerds’. But I enjoy the thought-provoking topics. She recently asked if I have been making a note of possible limitations of my study. Of course there are limitations, I respond: “Money, time, energy, courage etc … ”
On a more serious note there are of course limitations, a few are listed here as my thoughts flit through the doctoral experience to date:
- Single case study methodology means the outcomes are not likely to offer generalizations;
- Data collection is challenged by availability and willingness of participants – one respondent replied 3 months after the others;
- Usual issues associated with the collection of qualitative data such as reliability of feedback are possible; and
- There will be others …
But for now, I have parked them in a specific document until I write Chapter 5.
Am delighted to record that data collection was completed on Friday, 3 April. I have now put the plan together to move towards completion. Going to be tough a tight to get it all done but hell, I am going in that direction. Now to start the analysis of my data, leading to findings by the end of May.
That’s the way to get it done. Avoid the “What-ifs”, “No-buts”. “I can’t” and do it. Start each day with at least one small writing slot. I have noted this makes a difference to the rest of my day as, instead of anxiety over what I have not done, I am aware of what has been started – the tendril of a rhizome has been sent out. The tendril spreads on its own thereafter … thanks my friend from Ghana.
Found the secret of working in noisy spaces, thinking it to be a bonus. So managed to think and type in a noisy coffee shop, staff room or with TV on on the background. This skill developed of necessity when too much multi-tasking was going on: degree, work, parenting, entertainment – all in parallel.
However, there has been fallout from this ability. I can no longer work in silence. And, doing doctoral research where difficult theories form the foundation of my studies so need to dig deep to understand the concepts. Going to try this week to focus in total silence for short periods, turning the clock back to study-days of youth and see if I can speed read and then then write accompanied by noise. Reverse engineering?