well folks...it's been a long time.
I've been running for a while now - last year was my third year at Ryerson in the ECE program, and it was deeply rewarding. I found a pretty big love of research, and got to put it to good use.
As I've posted before, I worked with Dr. Jason Nolan (part of our ECE Faculty) as a research assistant at the interdisciplinary research lab he directs, called the EDGE Lab. I did that for all of last year, and then got to run my own research project last summer when I got back from the Arctic, looking into Adaptive Design and the way people learn how to do it.
As the new year scooped it's way around, and I started back up into my classes, I got a nasty surprise. I had carefully set up my fourth year internship in an ACTUAL SCHOOL, to see what that was like - only to have it fall through when my police record check didn't arrive in time. I had to re-evaluate not only my semester, but my whole year, as not being able to do my internship this semester had some pretty major impacts on my academic timing. As you'll soon see, however, it all worked out for the busy busy best.
So - I re-evaluated and decided to do my internship in the spring semester, in a big block. It works better that way in a school setting anyway - since you're with the kids everyday and can build better relationships with that kind of time - but what that means is that I can't go back up to Inukjuak this year. Which will be hard, but Clea will go instead of me, and the continuity will continue in some form.
With no internship this fall, I was looking at having a leisurely academic time - until my profs heard about it, that is, and dangled in front of me some of the most un-pass-up-able carrots in the form of several fascinating research projects. Instead of working at an amazing school with amazing educators and kids, I'm the project manager of a pilot research project about outdoor play in child care centres, helping out as a facilitator and consultant on a project designing a game about privacy WITH CHILDREN AS CO-RESEARCHERS, on top of the ongoing research at the EDGE Lab about Adaptive Design and that sort of stuff. Yikes - but fun.
I got to go to Seattle to present on some of the stuff we've been thinking about and putting together at the EDGE Lab a couple of weeks ago, and got to meet my admitted hero Teacher Tom. My colleague and I spent a great afternoon with Tom, his parent co-teachers and the pre-K class - exploring boxes and scooter and super awesome floral beads that expand in water. It was a really wonderful time - oh, and the conference was pretty good too - although I did cause a bit of confusion for some folks, who were surprised that an undergrad was hanging out and presenting. I used to live in Seattle, many years ago, and got to see some very good friends that I hadn't seen for 10 years. That just made the trip amazing.
When I got back, I had to leap into a whirlwind of activity. I've decided to keep on keepin' on with this ol' academia thang, and am going to do graduate studies - but in keeping with all the re-evaluation that I've been doing this semester, I took a hard look at the plan I've been holding steady on, and threw it to the dogs. What I've realized is that I really like research, and I want to keep doing it. So - that's what I'll do. I'm gonna look into doing research about the things I'm really fascinated by these days - my favourite things that I've learned about during my courses in my undergrad and in doing research at the EDGE Lab. All our exploration about play and learning and learning environments, and autonomy and risk and child rights - they're all coalescing into some fun ideas that I want to keep chasing. Soooooooooo - that's what I'm going to do. I'm kinda thinking about looking into how children learn in informal spaces that they make for themselves - playgrounds and backyards and parks...oh my!
Anyway - more on that soon. I'm Mr. Poster Infrequently, so we'll see what soon actually means. Maybe I'll get back on here and tell some stories of what's going on in my crazy wonderful courses this semester!
Nerd out - :)