Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Creswell at the Beach

If only the greatest challenge of grad school was getting sand out of textbooks. The beauty of being a teacher on the West Coast is that I get to read on the beach in July and August. My usual ritual is as follows: research ideas, print papers (4 pages on 1 page, double sided), read papers on beach, come home with new ideas, realize limitations of ideas, and find more papers to read at the beach.

Time at the beach used to stand still. Now, with papers to read, 2 hours goes by quickly. This is a good thing. The challenge, of course, is that once I get home, after a reflective drive of about 30 minutes in traffic, I realize just how little ground I’ve actually covered. This is not to say that I’m reading limited or somehow deficient research. Instead, I realize just how little of a certain subject I’ve actually covered. Creswell, for example, is pretty good. Then again, one can buy entire books on the ideas the Creswell covers in a chapter. I’m experiencing the same sort of thing looking at the lit review for the Dr. Jacobsen course. I’m examining measures of progress in the use of educational technology. As soon as I think I have one area covered, I find a new area that needs exploration. The idea of a lit review can be a bit frustrating in this regard. Just when one is happy to have one piece of knowledge squared away, another emerges. It’s analogous to academic whack amole. Then again, lifelong learning, especially with/about technology, requires constant vigilance for new ideas. It’s not so much about knowing, it’s more about knowing how to keep up.

Anyway, tomorrow, I’m off to the beach with new papers and ideas to examine. I suppose current knowledge fades at about the same pace as a tan. I suppose an indicator of academic progress is self-awareness and the limitations of what one knows (or of what is currently known in any given field). The challenge, I guess, is twofold: 1) keeping up with the knowledge, and 2) being able to apply the current knowledge. Easier said than done –like getting sand out of the Creswell text.