Blog 5: Observing/interviewing potential learners

I began a draft of my questions for my potential gardener interviewees. I plan to mark each question as close or open ended; categorize them, and par them down to 20 essential questions and 30 total ones. I think this will put me at about the 45 to 60 minute mark if all goes well. I plan to start out by interviewing gardener friends and then hope to interview a few acquaintances at my local community garden. Interviewing my friends first will hopefully give me some quick feedback on whether there are some questions I should drop.  My questions center around how people began gardening, what they knew when they started, and how they gained information about it, how they trouble-shoot gardening issues, how they share that information with other gardeners.

I also wonder whether I should develop questions that are geared towards people who want to garden/have very little experience in it but plan to/want to garden in the future. Right now my questions are all geared towards people who have some experience in gardening. Do I want to also target users who might be reluctant to try gardening if they think they don’t have a green thumb?

I’ve been at the community garden for 3 years so I can write down observations from memory as well in order to create my empathy map.

Needs: information about planting/growing that is locally-focused (i.e. does this plant grow in this particular climate, with this type of soil, etc.); critter identification and prevention (what is eating my plant, how do I get rid of it? How do I keep the squirrels, groundhogs out of my garden plot?); plants that grow well near each other; plants that shouldn’t be planted near each other; fast, easy plant identification; fast, easy plant disease identification and how to trouble-shoot

Many, if not all gardening websites answer the questions above but I find their websites to be information dense and text heavy, which is difficult to look through while I’m at the garden. That’s where I often need the information. Looking through different apps, it looks as though there are many that focus on only one thing at a time, like plant identification or plant disease, etc. Would a community based app be better or worse? Would users want to use it so they can share information or would there be too many competing views or incorrect information flying around? I do think that more experienced gardeners like to share their knowledge with others, maybe that would be a reason to use it. What would be the benefit of using this app over one of the many that exist already?

I’m curious what my interviewees will bring up!

I’ve also been working on my QFocus which has been much more difficult than I thought it would be. At the moment, the best that I’ve come up with are:

  • Sharing knowledge enhances practice.
  • A community of practice has the ability to link generations.
  • A community of practice elevates knowledge.
  • A community of practices shares knowledge.
  • Crowdsourcing is a part of community of practice.
  • A community is not bound by technology.

I have more work to do to get the wording right. I do think that my project is moving towards a product that is based on a community of practice that is linked via technology.



ramblings about design ideas

Below are some of the ideas I’ve been thinking about (in no particular order)

  1. creating a lesson on reflection/metacognition
  2. create a lesson on using multimedia/technology
  3. creating easily transferable reflective practices to use across programs
  4. redesigning the online layout of a current module for a online program
  5. best practices for colleagues
  6. gardening project: work with my community gardeners to promote educational outreach (organic gardening guidelines, “growing” gardeners, crowdsourcing common gardening issues–critters, plant disease) grow community of practice

The last idea was sparked by looking at Figure 1 and thinking about an email from my local community garden about ‘growing’ gardeners. Would I even need the local community garden board’s blessing or is it something that enough gardening nerds would take interest in? I could see how it could be a local resource for gardeners who want to crowdsource problems with their plants, look for organic gardening resources. There are many plant blogs out there, but I haven’t really found one that speaks directly to this area.


Blog 4: Personal Learning Network-Revised

I began revising my PLN by revisiting my twitter feed and taking a look at who I was following. In my trusty notebook, I made two columns, “Who to Drop” and “Who I started to Follow”. Those I was unsure about whether to drop or keep following were placed in the middle. I realized that I had a lot of work to do to find sources that were relevant to me and particularly, since I haven’t settled on a topic, sources that could be relevant across all project ideas. Design/Organization and Thinking were still at the top of my list, as I can see how they are relevant across all disciplines. After class I added/renamed topics,  including Narrative Storytelling, Academic (rather than learning and teaching), Personal (work contacts), Joy (sounded more fun than generally inspirational), and hanging off the learning cliff is Divergent, as it doesn’t really make sense to have it as just one category.

My list is here.


I need to work a bit more on narrative storytelling, personal, and SME in organic gardening (yes! I added another project idea) After receiving feedback in class, I looked further into Figure 1, narrative medicine, and am making my way through the other suggestions. I found that I really liked Figure 1 even though it totally grossed me out sometimes and I had to throw my phone down because I was so traumatized by the pictures that came up. I began  thinking of ways I could use it for a completely different topic (like community gardening). Could we crowdsource plant disease or critter identification? How much of a need is there for that? IMG_1600.JPG

I use the Notes tab on my iPhone for remembering sources, collecting things I’m thinking about or want to look up later, and adding tasks that I want to do. Because of that, I decided to start with EverNote to collect resources. I like that the add-on extension allows me to take screenshots, add bookmarks, and clip articles. It doesn’t look as though I can drag links to Evernote; that would be a nice functionality to have. It would also be nice to be able to upload photos from my Evernote account directly to my blog. Figuring out where to store/save photos and how to get to them from different apps or devices  is probably the biggest pain I have. Admittedly, maybe other people have figured out how to do this but I’m always having problems with it!