RE: [xmca] observation tools

From: Leroy Clarke (
Date: Tue Jan 10 2006 - 03:23:31 PST

Thanks Donna, for that note on subject-object relationship with respect
to the physical sciences which happens to be my own formal training. It
certainly points to the issue of the philosophy and nature of science
and the fact that "hard" science is perhaps not all that hard (a priori
status) as long as humans with their own biases and perspectives
fashioned by their sociocultural backgrounds and limitations are
involved (refer to the works of Popper, Lakotos and others.) It
certainly calls into question what then can be called science? That
being said, take for example, if evolution can be called science, why
not intelligent design? Epistemologically, as far as humans are
concerned, observability and testability are questionable for both
notions. I would certainly be interested in learning more about the
specific references to the writings of Bell and Wheeler. By the way, I
am almost certain that Jay Lemke has a background in theoretical
physics, I would be very interested in hearing what he has to say on
this topic!
Kindest regards,

Leroy C. Clarke
Curriculum, Teaching & Learning
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto
252 Bloor Street West
Toronto, ON, Canada, M5S 1V6

-----Original Message-----
From: []
On Behalf Of Russell, Donna L
Sent: January 9, 2006 8:06 PM
Subject: [xmca] observation tools

just for fun:
This issue of observer/observed relational effects is also an issue in
the 'hard' science of quantum physics because of the Heisenberg
Uncertainty Principle, the writings of John Bell on quantum mechanics
and physicist John Wheeler's writing on "acts of
observer-participancy"-- to name a few. Physics now tells us that
there is no separation between subject and object- (Cartesian duality)
that only "objective tendencies" and "potentialites" occur in nature.
It seems that we are philosophically in the same boat. The
similairities between the discussion of defining the process of
observation of preschoolers and defining the observation of quarks is
not without some irony - perhaps we should ask a physicist to join the
In support of the principal that we 'see' reality relationally- Bruner
notes that we see what we are prepared/anticipate seeing
"perception is to some unsepecifiable degree an instrument of the world
as we have structured it by our expectancies. Moreover, it is
characteristic of complex perceptual processes that they tend where
possible to assimilate whatever is seen or heard to what is expected."
Actual Minds, Possible Worlds.
As a final note- the physicist Wheeler also said "I do take 100 percent
seriously the idea that the world is a figment of the imagination."
Donna L. Russell, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Instructional Technology
Curriculum and Instructional Leadership
Suite 309
School of Education
University of Missouri-Kansas City
Kansas City, MO 64110
(cell) 314.210.6996
(office) 816.235.5871
----- Original Message -----
From: "Peg Griffin" <>
To: "'eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity'" <>
Sent: Sunday, January 08, 2006 1:18 PM
Subject: RE: [xmca] Observation Tools?

> So I guess the two poles are the "scoring scheme" Mike C. notes would
> problematic (c.f. work Mike, Denis Newman, and I did on "locating"
tasks in
> experiments and education) and the "observe and pick sample dialogue"
> Shirley F. describes.
> My interest is to work with two givens: the observer is primary to the
> the measurement (observation) changes the measured.
> Some preparation of the observer and the observed situation may bring
> the open the observer's "apprenticeship of experience" (pace Lortie
1975 who
> coined -I think- the term but about impacts on teaching not
observing). More
> public and consensual frames about the educational content (like the
> mathematics of tangram) as well as developmental/educational concepts
> make observations and discussions of them less dependent on separate
> observers' apprenticeships. What Moll calls "funds of knowledge" is
> way to think of it. If the observer has worked to make a situation for
> observation that makes working capital of the observeds' funds, it may
> possible to prevent some sabotage from the gap between observer and
> observed. What Cicourel called triangulation is another way to think
of it
> -- while the actual involvement of the observed in the analysis of the
> observation may not always be feasible in CC classes about
preschoolers, the
> observed preschool students' personae are implicated in the
preparation of
> the situation for observation.
> Peg
> -----Original Message-----
> From: []
> Behalf Of Shirley Franklin
> Sent: Saturday, January 07, 2006 4:03 AM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Observation Tools?
> I am not too sure what you mean.
> But I use very old-fashioned methods of getting my students to observe

> lessons and home in on samples of dialogue in the classroom. This is
> then analysed for interactive learning, teaching, etc.
> It is great, and as there is just so much that can be done with these
> samples. We have had fun with class analysis when students present
> their observations. This discussion in itself can be analysed!
> On 6 Jan 2006, at 17:44, wrote:
>> Does anyone have an excellent observation tool of children, any ages
>> from infant, toddler, or preschooler to observe Vygotsky's "theory in

>> action?"
>> The texts I use are quite weak for my community college students but
>> would really, really like to help them get a great "theory in
>> practice" experience.
>> Of course, I will credit you.....
>> Thanks in advance for any help you might offer!
>> Wendy Sanders
>> College of the Desert, Palm Desert, CA, USA
>> _______________________________________________
>> xmca mailing list
> Shirley Franklin
> 5 Hartham Close,
> Hartham Road,
> London,
> N7 9JH
> Tel: 020 7700 4975
> Mob: 07958 745802
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list
> _______________________________________________
> xmca mailing list
Donna L. Russell, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Instructional Technology
Curriculum and Instructional Leadership
School of Education
University of Missouri-Kansas City
(email) <>
(cell) 314.210.6996
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