Thursday, July 9, 2009

Full steam ahead with interviewing

It's full steam ahead with interviewing this week.

I've had two interviews and have one more this lunchtime. Each interview takes 30-45 minutes (not including travel and 'chatting' time), and then another 6-8 hours to transcribe I suppose. But transcribing is very intense work, so I can only do it for about an hour at a time.

In transcribing, you have the interview recorded in digital format, so it's playing in a screen on your computer. You listen to about 3-5 seconds, then stop it and type exactly what they said. And continue. If you didn't catch what they said you have to rewind by a bit and listen again - and again. If you have the situation where people are talking at the same time as each other (which does sometimes happen, even if they are not meaning to interrupt), then you might have to go over a portion of tape 6 or more times to catch each voice.

So why do this? Well, I'm researching people's experience of their child starting school. In some cases I ask questions and people have already thought about it and can answer quite succinctly. In other cases, people have to ponder and try to put their intuitions and feelings into words - whch can involve hesitations, and starting again, and sometimes if you are interviewing a couple (as I have been) they also build on each other. this can lead to some of the overlaps mentioned above. In a few cases I'm asking questions that people have not thought about before, and they are actively considering a new angle to what they were doing or why for the first time.

And the net benefit? Well, already a few things have cropped up where I'm thinking to myself if the school knew how this (sometimes they've done) appeared to parents, they would do it differently. And so on. So I hope to provide insights that will help early childhood centres and schools to be better (or more consistent) at helping parent help their child with the transition to school. That is, remove the aspect of "good luck" from whether any particular family actually gets the information and support they need.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Am annoyed. I just typed in a new post - and it disappeared! Don't know where it's gone.

I'm on Facebook

A couple of weeks ago I joined Facebook. This was mostly to find out what it is all about, and to see what Katie and Rowena do on it. But I have found it very interesting, and it can take up a bit of time.

The most important thing is to find some people you know who already have Facebook pages. You do this by searching their names or e-mail addresses. Once you find one person, you can look through their list of 'friends', and if you know anyone on their list, you can send a 'friend request' to that person as well.

What seems to work is to find a gregarious person from each of the different groups of people you have in your life (workmates, uni, interest groups, etc).

On Facebook I have created a 'fan page' - Eat More Toast. Basically as a way to find out how to create fan pages! I have also just started a farm in 'Farm Town', a game where you grow and sell crops and achieve higher levels which allow you to do more stuff. (I'm not really into fast paced games.)

Is it useful? Well, I've had enquiries about my books from a Facebook contact (I sent them off to the Playcentre Shop), and gave professional development on an issue to someone from my teacher training course. So, yes, it can be useful to be in contact with people.

Is it entertaining? Mostly if people are popping on now and then and updating their status, or giving a brief comment on what they are doing. There are a million games and quizzes you can do, but after the first dozen or so they are all a bit lame, so I don't bother any more. It's more interesting people's real life, not their fantasy ones.

Anyway, overall, highly recommended.