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Interfacing practices: domain theory emerges via collaborative reflection

  • Author(s): Abrahamson, D
  • Chase, K
  • et al.
Abstract

Can reflective practice help an interdisciplinary team collaborate? When a new team begins negotiating their working process toward achieving project deliverables, members implicitly bring diverse professional practices to the table. Once minimal common ground has been established, members specify what they each need from the other in order to implement their respective expertise. This process of imposing mutual constraints results in adjusted workflow protocols that may modify participants’ regular course of action yet are vital for facilitating the collaboration. Yet, we argue, this discursive process of negotiating collaboration protocols in interdisciplinary projects may result in more than just surface reconfiguration of local practices. The negotiation may yield an articulated reification of implicit know-how in the form of new theoretical constructs bearing potential impact beyond the local context of the project. We support the argument by presenting and analyzing archived records gathered from an interdisciplinary project, in which educational researchers and technology engineers collaborated in creating new instructional media for young mathematics students. In the course of struggling to formulate a mutually coherent workflow, the team ‘stepped back’ to formulate new goals that would address their coordination challenges. In turn, these goals implicated a new theoretical architecture that we present.

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