The Pattern Language Network

Taming web2.0 in Higher Education

Archive for the ‘pattern languages’ Category

everything you wanted to know about pattern methodologies but didn’t know who to ask

Posted by yishaym on March 23, 2009

Planet is hosting a symposium at CAL’09 tomorrow. If you’re in Brighton, drop in and join the discussion. Our plan is to break away from the usual talking heads format, and devote most of the time for conversation. We’ve set up a web-space for the symposium at:

http://purl.org/planet/Groups.CAL09/

Where you can find drafts of all the slideshows and a few position papers. We’ve also posted some questions for the panel discussion, and you can add some of yours – either as comments on that page or as tweets tagged #cal09ptns.

We’ve managed to bring together some of the top innovators in design pattern approaches to education and e-learning across Europe, so we look forward to be surprised and having our preconceptions challenged.

Now I should turn my attention back to the speaaker.

Posted in conferences, pattern languages, related projects | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Mapping the Planet Patterns – and a Pedagogical Framework for Learning

Posted by jhensman on January 13, 2009

The Planet project has collected and is developing a number of patterns related to using Web 2.0 techniques for learning. How can these be connected to each other to form a language, and incorporated into a wider pedagogic framework that can be easily used by learning practitioners? These questions are looked at in a document available at:

http://patternlanguagenetwork.myxwiki.org/xwiki/bin/download/Outcomes/Internal_Reports/PatternFramework.pdf

 

The document looks at the principles of connecting patterns together into a language, and maps the patterns collected by the project, including patterns that came out of the very successful recent workshop on Digital Identity. It then suggests a general pedagogical model and framework that can include the Planet patterns, and uses a simple example scenario to demonstrate how this could be used in a practical situation to help design a unit of learning.

 

Although diagrams and maps can help in understanding pattern structures and pedagogical frameworks, it is only if these are part of an online dynamic interactive system that they can provide an easily usable practical tool. The document considers what a system like this would look like, and concludes with a discussion on how such a system could interface with other learning tools and systems, which the project has begun to investigate.

Posted in papers, pattern languages | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

pattern browsers that make you go ahhh

Posted by yishaym on December 15, 2008

I’ve recently come across these beautiful pattern browsers from Interface Design Team of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam.

Of course, my immediate reaction was “I want one like this”. Its not surprising that an interface design / information visualisation group can come up with a better interface than our humble table. But there’s more to this than aesthetics. These browsers are functional. They are designed to help you find the pattern you need, when you need it. This makes me think about our quest for organising structures. Our primary criterion for choosing a structure should be functional. After all, isn’t that what pattern are all about? Providing a solution to a problem in context? This suggests that there isn’t a single-size map. Each domain of practice will have its set of contexts and problems, and the organisation of patterns for that domain should be driven by them.
Another question that emerges from these examples is: do we need fixed structures at all? Google made its fortune on the claim that where search is powerful enough, you don’t need structure. These patterns browsers allow you to search by specifying your needs. Although they don’t display any fixed structure, you can find the patterns that fits your problem in 3 clicks.

Posted in musings, pattern languages, related projects | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Organising Principle for Patterns.

Posted by johnrg on December 12, 2008

Jakki, Andrea and I made an attempt recently to map some of the patterns held on the Planet Wiki against the time and decision based organisational structure put forward by Sally Fincher. We had some success and we also encountered several issues. Particular areas of difficulty arose from:

  • working with a dynamic timeline
  • identifying disciplinary based decisions

We also made a number of observations including:

  • the same patterns could be applicable at different points along the time line
  • the same patterns could be applicable to differing group sizes
  • there are evident groupings of patterns e.g. communication and team working

What did we learn?

There was considerable discussion between the three of us about where to place some of the patterns on the diagram. Similarly our understanding of the timeline varied because of its circularity e.g. at what point are you making decisions based on student module evaluations is it at the end of the time line or the beginning.

As a result of this exercise a variant on the decision based organising principle was proposed based on the idea that designing learning experiences can be modelled as a life cycle and that this can be represented as phases that may be sequential and iterative.  Another factor in seeking to represent things in this way was the view presented by  Sally Fincher that however we seek to offer patterns to staff it must be as close as possible to what staff actually do otherwise they are unlikely to make use any outcomes from the project.

In looking at this mapping activity it rapidly became clear that the number of factors influencing decisions arose from pedagogic, operational and administrative considerations and that while there may be useful patterns to be mined from each of these areas we need to limit ourselves to pedagogic patterns for the purpose of this project.

Another observation made relates to ‘groupings’ of related patterns. Looking at Sally’s structure there are also ‘groupings’ evident in this e.g. classroom activities, evaluation, reflective, project work and so forth. It seems to us that one approach here would be seek to collate patterns into groups and to identify appropriate points in the ‘life-cycle’ of a learning experience where such groups may prove helpful to academic staff. Clearly we need to understand what groupings might prove useful and we would need to evaluate potential workflows of such staff to see how they actually go about designing, delivering and evaluating learning experiences.

 

Proposal.

We identify a few active and amenable members of staff to talk to about how they create student learning experiences. We should seek potentially useful points at which collections of patterns could be made available, what form this might take and also what patterns might prove useful.

Posted in notes from the field, pattern languages, uncategorized, user group | Leave a Comment »

Planet 2-day meeting

Posted by Janet Finlay on October 29, 2008

My head is buzzing following our very productive two day meeting in London which finished yesterday. The first day was a meeting of the Planet team; on the second we were joined by distinguished guests with expertise in various areas of patterns and representations of practice. These included: Lorna Burns from Barnet College; Mark Childs from Coventry; Juliette Culver from the OU; Sally Fincher from University of Kent; Christian Kohls from the Knowledge Media Research Center in Tübingen, Germany; Diana Laurillard from London Knowledge Lab; Helen Sharp from the OU; and Niall Winters from London Knowledge Lab. Jill Jameson also joined us for the afternoon on the second day in her role as critical friend to the project. In between the two working days, the team and guests met for dinner at the wonderful Ottolenghi restaurant in Islington – well worth a visit! But back to the main business. 

Frankly it is difficult to know where to start. On day one we thrashed through some major issues to do with the process of eliciting patterns, the scaffolding we offer through our wiki, and the need for (and current lack of) an organising structure for the patterns that are emerging from our workshop activities. On the second day we had invited our guests to submit stories about their own successful teaching practice which we then used in the morning to give them a taste of our workshop approach to pattern elicitation. In the afternoon we invited them to feedback on this which led to a valuable discussion of the strengths and weaknesses in our approach and alternative approaches which really helped us to pin down the aspects we need to focus on in the remaining months of the project.

Each of these needs further consideration (and warrants its own blog post) but to summarize:

  • We are proposing a three workshop model, with active facilitation from a pattern-knowledgeable moderator pre and post each activity. Much of this is in place but needs closer specification so that what is currently “craft” knowledge is made explicit, the activities required of participants are more clearly defined and the case and pattern structures currently on the Wiki reflect what we are seeking in these two forms.
  • We need to agree what and how we are abstracting from case stories to make patterns: what are the salient questions to ask? And what order is it appropriate to ask them?
  • We urgently need an organising structure to help us make sense of the patterns that are already emerging, to identify gaps where new patterns are needed, and to scaffold the use of patterns in practice. We have some candidates and we need to start working with them: how do our existing patterns map onto these? where are the gaps? what sense do they make to users? The latter is key: whatever structure we choose must reflect the way teaching practitioners work and think about their practice or the patterns will not be used.
  • We currently have upwards of a dozen user groups, with whom we are working and talking. All are at different stages in the process, but it is important that one or two at least complete and evaluate the whole three workshop cycle. CETL ALiC and the e-formative assessment groups are furthest along this path so we need to make sure their forthcoming workshops reflect the process as it is developing.

There is much more to say and other team members will give their own reflections on the event. But for me this has been a significant activity and one which has really enabled us to examine what we are doing. There is a lot still to do but we are definitely making progress! The challenge now is to keep focused on these critical elements of work.

Posted in action items, pattern languages, patterns, project, reporting, workshops | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »