Knowing with New Media
Critical self-reflection and collaboration
Students begin their work on a given learning task by setting up their self-reflective journals. The recommended software for the journal is PowerPoint or Adobe InDesign.
The software needs to be conducive for creating overtonal montages where separate text frames
can be overlapped with image, animation and audio/video elements. The compositions of the representational fragments are constructed by means of layering and stacking order, rather than
a linear text-thread similar to Microsoft Word.
Students attune their individual interests, existing knowledge and personal potential with the areas relevant to the task. They do this by generating data, organising it in their journals and calculating the most productive match in terms of actualising their potential and personal interests within the set learning task.
Communication and control of the process are achieved through cinematic writing bricolage.
The individual’s reflection is presented to the learning group who then discuss how it can contribute to the group project.
The received feedback informs the next step of self-reflection in which students gather information equilibrating their individual focus to a group goal. The students present the results of their reflection
to others and so on.
Engaging in self-reflective collaborative practices, students learn how to expand their knowledge by attuning their personal interests
and abilities to the progression of the collective enterprise.
Critical self-reflection is one of the five pedagogical dimensions of
the Ripples' knowing. Today, self-reflection is a widely recognised and acclaimed pedagogical practice. It encourages students to make 'self-judgment' in which 'they compare their own performance against
a standard […] and they also describe a "self-reaction" that assesses their affect in relation to their self-judgment' (Kaplan, Silver, Lavaque-Manty & Meizlish, 2013). Such a practice leads to metacognitive activity which, in simplistic terms, can be explained as thinking of one's thinking. Metacognition is often seen as a private activity. In the Ripples, however, metacognition is viewed as a segment of self-reflection collaboration circuity.
In the Ripples, critical self-reflection is not an assessment of performance taken by an individual at the completion of a learning task. It is the assessment of an individual’s potential from which self-motivational energy can be drawn and on top of which new knowledge and skills can be built. In the Ripples, critical self-reflection is not the wrapping up of a task but an ongoing activity realised through continuous feedback loops. The underlying reason for this arises from the Ripples' understanding that the validity of students' construction
of individual survival rafts — sets of life-savvy skills — is inseparable from the natural/socio-cultural environment in which they are intended for use. In this context, self-reflective activity takes on a new perspective.
It is within a 'churning' circularity of self others, that the knower develops their sense for positive criticality and breaks from egocentricity of thinking. The circuity of recurrent feedback loops promotes a 'reflecting-in-action' (Schön, 1991) approach which becomes an opportunity for the students to 'find their groove'—finding their passion—to develop their communicative and controlling competencies in integration of their intrinsic motivation with collective needs.
In collaboration with each other, students learn how to accept differences, what it means to walk in another person’s shoes and
how to live in communities with people who are different to them.
'Collaborative competence is a capacity to contribute something
of your own experiences and knowledge in a group learning context, where the sum of group knowledge is greater than the sum of the individual parts' (Kalantzis & Cope, 2012, p. 294).
Nancy F Dana
Danielle Lavague-Manty & Deborah