I’ve spent most of the last week putting together the ideas of time banking, reviewing my reading list and then digging for more papers to read and integrate. It’s always a bit of a worry when you go to see if what you’ve been thinking about for 12 months has just been published by someone else but, fortunately, most people are still using traditional deadlines so I’m safe. I read a lot of papers but none more than when I’m planning or writing a paper: I need to know what else has happened if I’m to frame my work correctly and not accidentally re-invent the wheel. Especially if it’s a triangular wheel that never worked.
My focus is Time Banking so that’s what I’ve been searching for – concepts, names, similarities, to make sure that what I’m doing will make an additional contribution. This isn’t to say that Time Banking hasn’t been used before as a term or even a concept. I’ve been aware of several universities who allow a fixed number of extra days that students can draw on (Stanford being the obvious example) and the concept of banking your time is certainly not new – there’s even a Dilbert cartoon for it! There are papers on time banking, at low granularity and with little student control – it’s more of a convenient deadline extender rather than a mechanism for developing metacognition in order to promote self-regulating learning strategies in the student. Which is good because that’s the approach I’m taking.
The reasoning and methodology that I’m using does appear to be relatively novel and it encompasses a whole range of issues: pedagogy, self-regulation, ethics and evidence-based analysis of how deadlines are currently working for us. It’s a lot to fit into one paper but I have hope that I can at least cover the philosophical background of why what I’m doing is a good idea, not just because I want to convince my peers but because I want volunteers for when pilot schemes start to occur.
It’s not enough that something is a good idea, or that it reads well, it has to work. It has to be able to de deployed, we have to be able to measure it, collect evidence and say “Yes, this is what we wanted.” Then we publish lots more papers and win major awards – Profit! (Actually, if it’s a really good idea then we want everyone to do it. Widespread adoption that enhances education is the real profit.)
More seriously, I love writing papers because I really have to think deeply about what I’m saying. How does it fit with existing research? Has this been tried before? If so, did it work? Did it fail? What am I doing that is different? What am I really trying to achieve?
How can I convince another educator that this is actually a good idea?
The first draft of the paper is written and now my co-authors are scouring it, playing Devil’s advocate, and seeing how many useful and repairable holes they can tear in it in order to make it worthy of publication. Then it will go off at some point and a number of nice people will push it out to sea and shoot at it with large weapons to see if it sinks or swims. Then I get feedback (and hopefully a publication) and everyone learns something.
I’m really looking forward to seeing the first actual submission draft – I want to see what the polished ideas look like!