Thoughts, writing & snippets

Marguerite Koole, PhD

Additional Notes on G. H. Mead

mkoole, · Categories: Identity, PhD Studies, Research · Tags: , , , ,

. . . continued from previous post . . .

I would like to Know the degree to which Rom Harré’s work has been influenced by Mead. There are some useful definitions from Mead’s work that can help us understand some of Harré’s work.

UNITY – “… if this whole is touched at any point it may bring out any other element in the historian’s experience of Gladstone’ (p-85).

MEANING – ”a content of an object which is dependent upon the relation of an organism or group of organisms to it” (p. 80).

Mead suggests that one’s altitude shapes how we communicate and ”give the import.’ to the top,-01 information. He provides our use of conjunctions as an example (and, but, though). These words can set up that which follows. (see p. 86).

“The later stages of the experience itself can be present in the immediate experience which influences them.” (p. 87)

This suggests that we have already internalized altitudes (values, positions) towards experiences. (But all experiences? I suppose we might draw upon previous experiences in order to process the new experiences.)

UNIVERSALISM – when I first saw this word, my immediate association for it was ”essentialism:’ However, Mead appears to view universalisms as the means by which individuals, each with their unique perspectives, can communicate about an idea. (The idea, however, may ultimately be conceived slightly differently by each individual-but the general, universal underlying understanding of the idea transcends the particular.)

-> “It’s universality in conduct, however, amounts only to the irrelevance of the differences of the different perspectives….” (p. 89)

THE GENERALIZED OTHER – “The very universality and impersonality of thought and reason is from the behavioristic standpoint the result of the given individual taking the attitudes of others towards himself, and of his finally crystallizing all these particular attitudes into a single attitude or standpoint which may be called that of the ‘generalized other’ ” (p. 90).


Mead, G. H. (1934). Mind, self & society: From the standpoint of a social behaviorist. (C. W. Morris, Ed.) (Vol. 13). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.


(Note: Converted from Livescribe Pen via MyScript. Still don’t have the kinks out. Will edit properly later.)

Social Constructionism, Social Psychology, Social Behaviourism . . .

mkoole, · Categories: Identity, PhD Studies, Research · Tags: , , , , ,

Berger & Luckmann (1966)A few days ago, I finished reading (rather, finally finished!!) Berger and Luckmann’s Social Construction of Reality. They indicated in the introduction that they would not cite their precursors and references as per academic style. This is a pity as I find myself wishing to dig further into the background of social constructionism.

Berger and Luckmann do provide some clues regarding the underlying philosophies of their work. In the conclusion, they mention G. H. Mead: “. . . we would contend that the linkage we have been led to make here between the Sociology of Knowledge and the theoretical core of the thought of Mead and his school suggests an interesting possibility for what might be called a social psychology– that is, a psychology that derives its fundamental perspectives from a sociological understanding of the human condition.” (p. 186).

What I have found noteworthy as I dig more deeply into Burger and Luckmann’s work is that their version of social construction does not propose that the world is completely socially constructed, rather: “there are always elements of subjective reality that have not originated in socialization, such as the awareness of one’s own body prior to and apart from any socially learned apprehension of it.’ (p. 184). Oh, and they add, ”Subjective biography is not fully social. The individual apprehends himself as being both inside and outside society” (p. 134). The individual constantly strives to achieve a balance between his/her objective and subjective self (identity).

Mead (1934)Naturally, language is the primary source of socialization. And, this emphasis upon language, conversation in particular, was also salient in the work of Mead. So, I am now reading in order to understand more fully the background of social construction (as per the European/Scandinavian flavor–rather than the current North American focus on the work of Papert vs. Piaget). Mead’s (1934) Mind, Self, and Society from the Standpoint of a Social Behaviourist is very important.

In his introduction to the book, Charles w. Morris provides some evidence of a possible foundation for social construction: ”Mead’s endeavour is to show that the mind and the self are without residue social emergents; and that language, in the form of vocal gesture, provides the mechanism for their emergence”(p. xiv).

Coming from a behaviourist perspective–albeit a Social Behaviourist perspective–the linkage with the body and the physical world ekes through his (Mead’s) writing. At my current stage in the book it appears that he is already working towards a position that recognizes that symbols do not mean/signify the same thing to both hearer and listener—that an utterance may evoke a different emotional or physical reaction in the listener. By page 65, Mead is building an argument about the significance of the “vocal gesture.” (I am a little hazy about whether or not Mead was more a critical realist or could be classified as a pre-social constructionist.)

This is what has captivated my attention: “The vocal gesture, then, has an importance which no other gesture has. We cannot see ourselves when our face assumes a certain expression. If we hear ourselves speak we are more apt to pay attention. One hears himself when he is irritated using a tone that is of an irritable quality, and so catches himself. But in the facial expression of irritation the stimulus is not one that calls out an expression in the individual which it calls out in the other” (p. 65).

What is interesting is how hearing our own voices affects us. Take, for example, the scene in “The King’s Speech” (the movie) when the linguist places headphones (blaring loud music) upon Edward’s head, and asks Edward to read a passage. Instead of stuttering, Edward was able to recite the passage perfectly whilst unable to hear his own voice.

Can we use this information when considering human interaction in online environments? How do our online gestures affect us when we are aware of them? Can we hear ourselves online? Or, lacking the vocal gesture, does the text-based interaction impact us less? Or, just differently? And what of ambient presence and the longevity of the online footprint? Lots of questions . . .

(Note to self: I wrote this text by hand using a LiveScribe pen and notebook. Then, I converted my cursive to text using their MyScript tool. I think I needed to set the options to the text (only) format. It did include some arrows and boxes that I tend to draw in my notes—due to the use of the shape and freeform drawing settings mistakenly being toggled on. More testing needed.)



Berger, P. L., & Luckmann, T. (1966). The social construction of reality: A treatise in the sociology of knowledge (p. 219). Garden City, NY: Anchor Books (Random House, Inc.).

Mead, G. H. (1934). Mind, self & society: From the standpoint of a social behaviorist. (C. W. Morris, Ed.) (Vol. 13). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Past CIDER Session – Mobile Learning: Solutions & Challenges

mkoole, · Categories: Mobile learning, Research

Mobile Learning: Solutions & Challenges

Took place: October, 2011

In this session, Marguerite Koole (Athabasca University, Canada), Fatma Elsayed Meawad (German University, Cairo), and Inge de Waard (Institute of Tropical Medicine, Belgium) will describe two mobile learning projects:

1. A project piloting a Java-based system called “MobiGlam”. Through MobiGlam, students accessed Moodle course modules on their mobile devices. Evaluations from this 2008 project highlighted some interesting challenges in the Canadian context.

2. A mobile learning project of the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium and the Institute of Tropical Medicine Alexander von Humboldt, Lima, Peru. Twenty physicians, deployed in urban peripheral HIV/AIDS clinics in Peru, used Smartphones with portable solar chargers to access 3D simulations of interactive clinical cases, discussion forums, and quizzes.

Prior to the presentation, participants are invited to review the project videos. The link to the presentation will be posted just prior to the session start date.

A Secret By Lauryn

mkoole, · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

A secret is heard from the 11th floor.

It hurries down the stairs to spread the word.

The Snooper grabs a pen and paper to write down the secret, then suddenly, so delicately crumples and throws the paper away.

Paper ball“What am I thinking” the Snooper says quietly.

This is a secret, it should not be told.

The secret rushes back up the stairs and now remains unknown.


This was written by my friend’s daughter. Wonderful.

Advances in Qualitative Methods Conference

mkoole, · Categories: Events

The International Institute for Qualitative Methodology is pleased to announce that this year the 17th Qualitative Health Research (QHR) Conference will be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada from October 25-27, 2011.

There will be a pre-conference workshop on October 24th, 2011.  Please reserve these dates in your calendar.






QHR is the premier international and interdisciplinary conference for the dissemination and discussion of developments in qualitative health research. All conference papers will be peer reviewed, and we welcome presentations from scholars in a range of disciplines exploring health-related issues and experiences.


Abstracts are invited from scholars engaged qualitative health research in such disciplines as public health, nursing, medicine, social work, psychology, sociology, information science, education, human ecology, anthropology, dentistry, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and many more!

Click here to submit an abstract<!=public=12985845498149=14=56115563&Conference=75159> or visit the QHR webpage for more information at:

This year the AQM conference will not be held in conjunction with QHR.  AQM will be postponed to 2012 in an effort to revitalize and introduce some exciting new initiatives.  In the interim, individuals that were planning on submitting to AQM are encouraged to submit abstracts on Qualitative Methods to QHR.  A series of multi-disciplinary sessions on methods will be offered at QHR and will be highlighted as advanced sessions.



Geeking out on Research & Study Leave

mkoole, · Categories: PhD Studies, Research · Tags: , , , ,

Yes, I am geeking out. Even if I weren’t to achieve any of my goals for my PhD research, this R & S leave (sabbatical)  is plenty fruitful.

I’ve been scouring the Web looking for interesting tools that my students will be able to use to create interesting projects for MDDE 615 starting at the end of April.

The one that caught my attention today is MobileNation. I’ve been playing with the interface. My goal to create two pages with one linking to the other. That’s it. I just want to see how to create a couple of pages. So much can be done with so little. I’ve been testing it on our decrepit old iPod Touch. No phone, no camera, and only 8GB of memory. Being somewhat paranoid, I haven’t wanted to re-install iTunes on my main computers. So, I’ve dusted off my decrepit old Sony Vaio (great computer when it was new; too old for an OS upgrade to Windows 7). I’ll have to do several hours of updates to the security and anti-virus. Then, I’ll have to do a firmware upgrade on the iPod Touch, etc., etc., etc..

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to see if the output from Mobile Nation would work on my HTC TYTN II, now 3 years old. (I have not yet succumbed to purchasing an iPhone nor an Android. I had to install a QR Code Reader (NeoReader was compatible).) To read this “link” to my MobileNation page, which I creatively called “one”:

QR code linking to my first MobileNation page

QR code linking to my first MobileNation page

Anyways, my HTC cannot read the page. So, I’ll have to try on the iPod Touch.

What else have I been doing besides WordPress? Well, I have been installing and testing WordPress plugins. Love the mobile one that allows me to write blog postings from my phone.

And, today, I have been checking out some pushpin maps and Cluster Maps. I really like the how modifiable the pushpin map API is; however, it would require data to be transferred to a 3rd party somewhere in the world. I try not to do that with my students. Now, that I think about it, so does Cluster Maps, but there is so little data (no cookies or spyware) that I think it is better.

On a side-note, I have also been reading some of my classmates’ PhD thesis proposals. I’m starting to formulate some questions for them.

Busy day.


Recording for my presentation today: The Web of Identity

mkoole, · Categories: Identity, PhD Studies, Research · Tags: , ,

Gale (my PhD supervisor) and I did our presentation today for CIDER. Gale got to do the tough stuff. 🙂 I think it all went very well, except when my home telephone began to ring. I found it terribly distracting. I will have to make sure I shut off the ringer next time.

The Web of Identity: Identity Formation in Online Learning

Screenshot for The Web of Identity presentation

Facilitator: Marguerite Koole
Institution: Athabasca University
Date and time: Mar 02, 2011 11:00 AM


As learners interact in online networks of learning, how do they come to know one another? Building on the work of Goffman (1959) and Foucault (1988), the Web of Identity (WoI) model shows how online learners may use dramaturgical strategies to create and negotiate their personal identities in a continuous flux of presentation and interpretation. Philosophically, the model is highly social constructionist and places a great emphasis on relational dialogue. For practitioners, the implications include finding ways to aid learners to improve their use and translation of WoI strategies. Such skill, theoretically, should help them to enact their unique personalities, lessen their sense of fragmentation, increase their sense of belonging, and gauge authenticity of others. The researchers, Marguerite Koole and Dr. Gale Parchoma, will then discuss some preliminary research projects on identity in networked learning and future research in the field.