January 17, 2013

The Up-Goer Five text editor – explaining my geoscience research

Posted by Dr. Laura Guertin

Although it’s a crazy-busy day today, I couldn’t resist taking this challenge that came across my Twitter feed!  For the full explanation, please visit the Highly Allochthonous blog posting on Explaining geoscience using only the 10 hundred most common words.  I saw how my fellow geoscientists carefully crafted some of their descriptions of their research, challenged by not being able to use discipline terms such as “paleomagnetism” to basic terms such as “snow” (see Sarah Boon‘s entry).

I went into this challenge thinking this would be easy for me – after all, my research is in geoscience education.  I figured that “pedagogy” would not on the list, but how hard could this exercise be?  So off to the website I went for The Up-Goer Five text editor, and I started typing!

Well, I got squashed right away!  Not only was “geology” and “research” not on the list, but “Earth” nor “science” was even present!  This ended up being much, much harder than I anticipated.  I don’t know if the following description makes my work easier for anyone to understand, but it was a very interesting challenge!

Here is what I do (really brief, and I apologize for that, but more meetings await me today) – with the thousand most common words. (also linked here)

My work looks at the way students learn about water, life, rocks, and air. I am a teacher at a college, and I study how my students learn with computers, small ones that fit in their hand and and big ones. I study how students can make voice and movie pieces. I also have my students take their work and share it with others outside the college. I enjoy learning about how students learn!

It is interesting how this “fun” technology tool is actually making it difficult for me to explain my research on/with technology!