Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Week 4 - AM/PM acquisition vs participation

We had a spirited discussion in class about the strengths and weaknesses of AM vs PM as a metaphor/model to explain what happens when we learn. Does learning mean gaining knowledge or is it the process of "knowing"? The biggest problem seems to be when it comes to assessment. Is it possible to assess someone using the PM approach? The sticking point is this: participation means that learning takes place in a "community of learners", but really happens as the learner is initiated into the practices, behaviours and customs of the practitioners themselves. I learn to be a baker by working with a baker, in a bakery, doing the things that bakers do. Assessment would have to take place in an authentic environment, and would be very time and personnel intensive.

In my own personal understanding, I prefer to see AM as the way we learn, building knowledge up, with the final goal being able to participate in a community of practitioners (PM). For example, I learn to play the fiddle, use books, CDs etc to inform me. But my goal is to be able to perform with other musicians, and function "as" a musician. It is only when I am able to do this last step that I can say I have "learned" to be a fiddler.

Activity Theory Report Project
For our project, Rachel, Al and I have chosen to analyze how teachers, secretaries and admin are using the new BCeSIS system. We will be looking at Elementary and High School settings. More to follow!

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