Friday, December 31, 2004

now that i'm resigned to the next three years

I have been doing a little looking around and have found some interesting stuff - of course I may have stubbled across some obvious stuff here - there is always that feeling when one blogs something of interest - that 'everyone' (whoever this is ... ) already knows about everything I'm writing or pointing out. But i don't really care - take it as you will.

Somehow connected to (sponsored by) Eastgate (perveyors of fine hypertext - for a price of course) is this interesting 'journal' on new media and software aesthetics, Tekka ( There seems to be some well written, interesting articles and reviews - as well as hypertexts, 'tool' reviews etc. Have a look at the book reviews by the fine Jill Walker, (Nick Montfort. Twisty Little Passages: An Approach to Interactive Fiction. MIT Press, 2003), and others, (David Thorburn and Henry Jenkins, eds. Rethinking Media: The Aesthetics of Transition. MIT Press, 2003), (Brenda Laurel. Design Research: Methods and Perspectives. MIT Press, 2004). All very interesting.

Of course you have to register (US$50) to get the full thing, but hey ... perhaps later.

Also found fray which seems to have some great writing.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


OK, I promise I won't go on about this for days, but just another thought ...

Considering that a PhD is an ‘apprenticeship’ of sorts, and that ideally one would use a PhD to generate a number of papers and other opportunities so to strengthen one’s ‘academic street cred’ etc., it goes without saying that the topic of research must be something sufficiently inspiring (intellectually and otherwise) to motivate one for a number of years (three for the actual project and then a number more post-thesis – perhaps many more years post-thesis!).

My dilemma is that while I’m interested in issues of literacy, technology and education, there are other issues that, since my honours thesis (2003) and my research this year (2004), continue to preoccupy my mind, interests, passions and intellect. Issues such as professional learning, dialogic and conversational knowledge construction, academic-teacher research processes, reflective practice and the role of writing in professional learning, etc. I’m not sure whether pursuing a PhD in lit-tech studies will give me the opportunity to pursue these other interests as well. I don’t really want to put these other issues of the ‘backburner’ right now. I feel as though I can make a significant contribution to this area, especially as a young early career teacher and researcher myself.

I realise of course that generally a PhD has plenty of room and that one is not necessarily locked in to a research program forevermore, and this is a comforting thought.

I guess this may be the last on my long list of concerns about this HUGE decision. I always thought of myself as a good decision maker, someone who was decisive and who took action when it was necessary – and perhaps I am this person sometimes – but at others I feel very silly and underprepared to make any more such as this.

they never come when you're ready or waiting ...

School has finished for another year and the goose is getting fat. The whole weekend I have been labouring (sorry darling - not as hard as you did!) over a interesting opportunity. It goes like this ...

Thursday last week I was offered a major role in a hugh ARC funded Monash Uni research project. Ilana Snyder, who I have written about previously, has been awarded a massive grant (well, to me it's massive) for a research project she has written called 'Being digital in school, home and community: investigating the implications of young people's engagement with ICT for education'. She has kindly written a PhD opportunity into the project and offered this to me. We would be working as a team (there would be a researcher with PhD quals too) and I'd get a scholarship of about $18,837 per year for three years (tax-free). I'd also be allowed to work 8 hours a week on top of this without affecting the scholarship.

This would effectively mean leaving full-time teaching for at least three years. (a very uncomfortable idea at this stage - school's over and holidays are kicking in! You forget the pain of middle term 2!)

I haven't yet decided what to do. I've talked to various close friends who have all given me excellent advice and I thank them for this. But I'm still undecided.

It would mean a substantial pay cut (my salary scale now is about $43,000 - and a little more with the extra stuff I'm doing at school) and things would be tight at home - Austen has just arrived and E is not working till at least Septmeber (OUR choice). In terms of family, timing is quite good, Austen is small and has no brothers or sisters yet (!), and we can live on beans and rice for a year or two.

Leaving the classroom scares me.

Can I get along with Ilana for three years? (or she with me?) Are we on the 'same page' in terms of values, politics, epistemology, approach to teachers and their work? In most of these I would have to say 'of course', but then you never can tell really. I've never worked closely with her before - in terms of a Mentor-mentee type thing - which is what she is really offering - an induction into academia.

Is this what I really want?

Sure, it sounds fine, but I know I'm gonna miss my kids, MY students.

And there is always that nagging feeling that when you take one door, you miss the opportunity of many others.

E would tell me to get over it and do it. 'Analysis Paralysis'

Monday, December 13, 2004

seeking the third way

Interesting article on leader of the oppostion, Mark Latham. Very interesting.

In his optimistic period, [he, i.e. Latham] was fond of quoting Tom Bentley of Britain's Demos Foundation: "Today's politicians are trapped in a contest between two inherently limited models of policy delivery. The left offers the promise of strong public services, developed and managed by a strong political centre, using new technology to individualise the services each citizen draws upon. The right, meanwhile, continues to offer the chimera of a minimal state, with social need met by private action. The striking fact is that both models continue with the myth that government can deliver on behalf of the people it serves.

"The truth, of course, is that politics cannot change society unless it can persuade people to change the way they themselves behave. In other words, we must now move towards grown-up government - institutions which respect the intelligence and self-determination of individuals, but which expect people to take active responsibility for producing collective solutions."

I realise it's been a while. Thanks for all those who have encouraged me. Young Austen is 6 weeks old now and we're getting a better grip on things - if that is possible. School finishes at the end of the week, so I'll have some more time and energy soon. In some respects there is not much excuse, as school has been winding down now for a couple of weeks.

Year 12s reveived their results today. We had some excellent news. JA (student) dropped by this afternoon to say hello and to have a chat - says he's very happy but a little out of sorts (wonderful results) and not sure what to do or how to react.

And thank goodness for Ann Rennie this morning - putting it all in perspective.