missmillerslearningjourney

My ideas, thoughts, and experiences

Author: msemilymiller (page 2 of 3)

EDCI 515 – Assignment #2

Introduction

As Mary McAtee states, “before starting any piece of research, it is important to identify clearly just what the purpose of that research is. It is only when this is done, that decisions about an appropriate methodological approach can be made” (McAteer, 2013). The researcher’s choice of research methodologies could have a large impact on all aspects of a study. Therefore, it is important to be clear on the purpose in order to choose the methodology that will produce the desired data and information. In this blog post I will first summarize the aspects of action research. I will then compare it to a quantitative research study and examine the impact to the researcher, research, researched, and reader would be if they had chosen an action research approach instead.

Overview of Action Research

Action research is vastly different from other research approaches. According to the SAGE Encyclopedia of Action Research, action research is a “type of applied research designed to find the most effective way to bring about a desired social change or to solve a practical problem, usually in collaboration with those being researched” (Coghlan & Brydon-Miller, 2019). This involves going through a process of ongoing reflection. This research approach can include quantitative and qualitative data, however, it is not the main goal or the focus of the research. The main goal of this approach is to make an improvement to personal practice, as opposed to policy. In education, this approach can be used for the information gathering about how particular schools operate, how they teach, and how students learn. But this approach is not specific to education and can be used across other fields of study.

Below are some visuals that have been used to portray the process of an action research process.

Whichever model or schematic researchers decide to use is personal choice. Each image demonstrates a “cyclical, iterative process of research where the initial focus of the research is subject to ongoing review and reflection through the repetition of plan, act, observe, and reflect” (McAteer, 2013). Also, as represented by the schematics pictured above, this type of research is complex, challenging, confusing, and rarely predictable. It is a dynamic and responsive approach to learning and can change directions through the exploration process.

Overview of Chosen Article

The chosen comparison article is called ‘Using Technology-Enhanced Inquiry Based Instruction to Foster the Development of Elementary Students’ Views on the Nature of Science’ (Schellinger et al., 2019). In this study, researchers were wanting to find ways to improve young students’ views and understandings of nature science. And were hoping that the use of an inquiry based platform and integration of technology would increase students’ engagement with the topic. Their two research questions were:

RQ1: How do elementary students view of nature of science change when they engage in a digitally supported scientific inquiry oriented curriculum that takes place in a formal and informal setting?

RQ2: Which views of nature of science are the most challenging for students to learn when they participate in a digitally supported, scientific inquiry-oriented curriculum that takes place in a formal and an informal setting?

The researchers in this particular area were using the science-based curriculum, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to identify the specific outcomes they wanted the students to demonstrate throughout this learning experience. They put together multiple choice questions that aimed at measuring the student views of nature of science and a total of 5 points was possible when all five items were combined. A contemporary score signified the best quality answer and received a one on the scale.

In a three week time span, a group of one hundred twenty-nine grade four and five students participated in three modules of scaffolded learning through an online platform called Habitat Tracker which was supplemented with a field trip to a local wildlife center. This epistemic-social approach to teaching and learning allowed students to “engage in discussion, reflection, and/or argumentation about nature of science through group interactions to form individual meaning” (McAteer, 2013).

What would happen if…?

As outlined above, the research done by Schellinger et al. (2019) is definitely quantitative in its data collection and analysis. This type of research allows for researchers to outline a specific question, set out guidelines, and measuring tools in order to track data. However, was this form of research the best way to gather this information and provide quality information to educators in the field? What would happen if the researchers had instead chosen to undertake an action research approach?

How it could change the 4 R’s of Research (Thom, J., 2019)

Research

This study comes from the “review of 105 emperical studies published between 1992 and 2010 on the views of nature of science to point towards attending to the epistemic-social aspects of learning nature of science through inquiry as critical to changing students nature of science views” (Schellinger et al., 2019). Therefore, the research question that come as a result is: how does the use of inquiry oriented technology improve students engagement and understanding?

In comparison, the action approach to coming up with a question would be reflective of personal practice and self-identifying teaching and/or learning gaps. If the educators were starting out with a question, it would be in relation to the teaching and learning that is going on in a specific classroom(s). Following that, the researcher would then need to reflect and explore what the present situation is in the classroom and ways in which to find out and collect that data.

Researcher

In this study, Jennifer Schellinger and her fellow researchers are academics at Florida State University. The data and information they are collecting is aiming to change teaching frameworks and policy for science education in order to better meet the needs of students and their developing understanding of concepts.

If this were to be an action research method instead, the researchers would be the school teachers that are looking for more effective ways to teach students the nature of science curriculum and how to improve their personal practice. This change immediately alters the direction the research would take as it needs to take into account the educators values, biases, and purpose of the information gathering. In order to follow an ethical research process, it would be beneficial for the educator group to bring in a research consultant that is well versed in the principles and practices of action research.

Researched

In the quantitative technology study, Schellinger and her colleagues collect specific data at the beginning of the program as well as at the end of the three week rotation of modules. The data gave very specific answers to whether students had increased their contemporary understanding of nature science. For some areas such as purpose of science and definitions of scientific theory the students’ contemporary understanding improved (Schellinger et al., 2019). However, in the other three areas, there wasn’t a significant change (Schellinger et al., 2019).

If the action research approach was used, researchers would be able to move through research cycles determining which platforms, programs, and teaching techniques are most effective in developing students understanding of all the components of nature science. They would not be limited to one option. However, that means that this would likely become a multi-year exploration of the best teaching practices for a well-rounded science program.

Reader

The intended audience for Schellingers’ et al.’s work was other academics in the field and gives ideas to other researchers about how to progress this learning further (e.g. look for and/or develop technologic supports that focus on a wider range of nature science concepts). In addition, the data is telling other researchers in the field that they are on the right track with the incorporation of technology as it increased student engagement through excitement, quick data analysis, and a built in learning community. This data is easy for other researchers and academics to understand, but not other educators to translate into their classrooms because there were gaps left with the insignificant data changes for three of the outcomes

On the other hand, the reader of action research data is the researcher(s) that are conducting the study because the methodology has the researcher at the center as it is a thoroughly personally reflective study. By collecting clear and detailed information, partaking in thoughtful reflections (e.g. diary) and keeping track of data as the researcher moves through the inquiry process, readers can easily track the purpose, supporting information, approaches, and changes to approaches as the learning develops. The data could be shared with interested colleagues, but it is for the purpose of personal practice improvement and not to instigate systemic change

Conclusion

The examination of a quantitative research study through the lens of action research highlights the advantages and challenges of both methodologies. Quantitative research requires specific types of questions, structured approaches, and data collection; action research relies heavily on the researchers’ personal values, beliefs, and biases in order to be effective. Action research, similar to mixed methods, allows for researchers to get a clearer representation of all the information through detailed reflection whereas, quantitative research is limited in its findings because some contextual information is not gathered. As evidenced by this paper, the choice of research methodologies significantly impact the 4 R’s of Research: research, researcher, researched, and reader. Therefore, these four aspects should be carefully considered when choosing an appropriate research methodology.

Class Discussion

After presenting this information to my classmates today, we discussed some of my critical thoughts, questions, and ethical dilemmas brought up by other researchers. (Nolen & Putten, 2007).

▰Was this a worthwhile study?

▰How did they choose the Habitat Tracker?

▰How would the outcome change if they created the online tool?

▰At what point does teaching become research?

▰Where does the accountability for this research lie?

▰Is the research reliable?

▰Are teachers properly trained to see the possible ethical pitfalls in such research?

▰How are the rights and freedoms of the researchers participants (the students) protected?

See information shared with classmates below.

Resources

Coghlan, D., & Brydon-Miller, M. (2019). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Action Research. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781446294406

McAteer, M. (2013). Action Research in Education. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781473913967

Nolen, A. L., & Putten, J. V. (2007). Action Research in Education: Addressing Gaps in Ethical Principles and Practices. Educational Researcher, 36(7), 401–407. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X07309629

Schellinger, J., Mendenhall, A., Alemanne, N., Southerland, S. A., Sampson, V., & Marty, P. (2019). Using Technology-Enhanced Inquiry-Based Instruction to Foster the Development of Elementary Students’ Views on the Nature of Science. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 28(4), 341–352. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10956-019-09771-1

Thom J., (2019). EDCI 515: E-Research: Harnessing and Understanding Technology in        Research. July 4 lecture notes. [Course lecture].

Literature Review – What’s the purpose?

Literature Review Overview

In our EDCI 515 course this week, we were given the task to read ‘Scholars Before Researchers’ by Boote and Beile to learn more about literature reviews. Literature reviews are commonly written at the beginning of research articles as a way to share collated information on a specific topic. According to the authors, literature reviews should “advance our collective understanding, a researcher or scholar needs to understand what has been done before, the strengths and weaknesses or existing studies, and what they might mean” (Boote & Beile, 2005). In research, specifically educational research, it is challenging to communicate with the diverse audience. Therefore, authors cannot assume knowledge, methodologies, or even common problems. Because of this, the need for a thorough literature review helps to even the playing field for everyone.

However, these authors have found through personal experience, that a large percentage of literature reviews are poorly planned and written and don’t meet their expectations for appropriate and holistic reviews. Boote and Beile quote a fellow researcher in the field, suggesting that “literature reviews should meet three criteria: to present results of similar studies, to relate the present study to the ongoing dialogue on the literature, and to provide a framework for comparing the results of a study with other studies” (Creswell, 1994).  A past criteria was adapted and incorporated into a 12-item scoring rubric which can be grouped into 5 separate sections (see below).

The researchers deemed this rubric effective after they applied and analyzed doctoral dissertations and found that the mean scores across all institutions were surprisingly low. However, because of the range of outcomes, they knew it was going to be an effective tool.

Literature Review of Interest

Since my teacher education days, I have been curious and interested in inquiry based teaching. My younger siblings attended an IB PYP school in West Vancouver and it was fascinating to see their interest, engagement, and knowledge of concepts increase throughout the years (until they reached high school – but I’ll save that for another blog post). Since becoming a teacher, I have integrated inquiry methods into my classroom. The launch of the redesigned curriculum has also allowed for more inquiry and competency based teaching and learning to happen in learning spaces. I am always looking for ways to improve my teaching and build a stronger understanding of my role in an inquiry classroom.

I found an article online that reviews the literature on the role of the teacher in inquiry based classrooms. I am going to use Boote and Beile’s literature review rubric to evaluate, in my perspective, the validity of the information provided (Dobber et al., 2017). See the image below.

I found this article very thorough in its background research, clear in their inclusions and exclusions of data in their collection, and specific in their communication of the results of their findings.

How does a literature review impact the four R’s?

I can see how the inclusion of a literature review can be extremely helpful in creating a well rounded contextual understanding of a specific area of interest.

Research – As mentioned in the Boote and Beile’s article, “a thorough, sophisticated literature review is the foundation and inspiration for substantial, useful research” (2005). By including a literature review into an article, it provides researchers the opportunity to see what has already been done in the field of study and identify where gaps are in understanding. By figuring that out, the researcher then has a clearer picture of what kind of research methodology would be the best approach to target the question.

Researcher – The incorporation of a literature review will help to build the researchers background knowledge on a topic and to build their foundational understanding in order to make effective research decisions.

As referenced in our recent readings, anyone can be a researcher, as long as you follow the protocol and structure of the methodologies.

Researched – One of the benefits of a literature review is it automatically forces researchers to look for information on the topic before moving forward with their own data collection. Information has to be systematically sorted, organized, and analyzed in order to understand the specific problem and subjects to include in the research.

Reader – By including a literature review to writing, it allows the reader to have a clear understanding of the background and history of a topic and why the researcher made the choices they did. It also allows for a cyclical process for the reader of the data to initiate research into the same area where there continues to be gaps or confusion. It also provides the reader with a  clear history of where they need to check to get background information.

Personal Reflection

As I reflect on the readings and guest speakers this week, I have noted some personal growth in relation to myself as a researcher, the research, the researched, and the reader of the research.

  • All of the research methodologies have advantages and challenges. Something that George Veletsianos noted in his conversation with us this week was to remember that when we are collecting quantitative data, we  can’t forget about the humanity in the study of people. In order to have research that is well rounded and provides context, researchers should include qualitative methodologies as he does with his personal interviews (mixed methods).
  • I think the incorporation of sources outside of the academic world could provide some great insight into topics of research. Someone in class brought up a great point that one of the Inquiry books they were reading by Trevor Mackenzie had only a handful of academic sources and instead, referenced thoughts, images, and examples from blogs and social media sites online. Is there much research to integrate sources like that into academia? If so, what are the guidelines around it?
  • As I begin to learn more and more about the different methodologies, I begin to think about my approach to my classroom. As teachers we are always collection quantitative and qualitative data in order to progress and plan for what is next. These mixed methods and action research methodologies are all new to me and are providing me with ideas about how to be intentional about what I am doing with that data.
  • Honestly, my assessment has definitely declined over the last year or so. Learning about these methodologies makes me think about what data I am collecting over the year, what I am doing with it, and how am I using it to guide my practice. How can I move through the action research process with the inclusion of quantitative and qualitative components?
    • action research to determine how I can improve my teaching in order to reach my wide range of learners more effectively, without completely burning out
    • quantitative data collection for students and their understanding of topics (sent out on FreshGrade at regular intervals)
    • qualitative data collection for students and their parents in order to get insight into their developing understanding of concepts, problem solving, and collaboration
    • action research as a school to move through how we come together to build a stronger community to improve the learning for our students

 

Developing a PLN

As Diana Forbes mentions in her research article, “Professional Online Presence and Learning Networks: Educating for Ethical Use of Social Media”,

“In teacher education, uses of social media include the production and sharing of content, discussion, and interaction with content, and collaborative connection with other social media users” (Forbes, 2017).

Twitter is becoming an avenue for professionals to share their learning, ask questions, and develop a social network in their field of interest. Users are encouraged to use social media to understand and communicate ideas which promotes openness by making research and resources available to anybody who is interested. It is now rare to attend a workshop or conference where there isn’t a hashtag  where participants can share their experiences and moments of learning. In addition to being a place where groups can congregate and share ideas, it also allows as a ‘backchannel’ of communication with or between people (Forbes, 2017).

Although it is great being able to connect with the local educators in my relatively small school district, I have now built connections with people outside my district through various professional development opportunities. Therefore, it is great to scroll through and get inspired by what others are doing in their classrooms in their school. So often as teachers, I feel like we get stuck inside our classrooms doing the same things. Being on Twitter and other education based social media sites allows for educators to get a glimpse of what is going on in other peoples classrooms.

I hesitantly joined Twitter in November 2012 and have been using it for a variety of purposes throughout my teaching and learning journey. As I scroll back,   I notice that I started using the platform as a way to view what was happening in the field of education in my district. I liked posts, retweeted some, and commented on others –  hoping to make connections in the district I was just starting my teaching journey in.  As I have progressed in my teaching, Twitter has grown right alongside me. I started sharing more of my own content such as field trips I was going on, inquiry lessons I had tried in class, hands on activities that my students enjoyed. Through these posts, I was able to garner support and feedback from the people around me. In addition,  I was able to connect with teachers, admin, and special guests coming in and out of our district. Through following special guests, such as Janice Novakowski, I was then able to connect with people in her PLN that are interested in the same things I am doing. Something that has grown in Twitter over the last few years has been the use of weekly chats to connect with educators across the province/country/world (e.g. #edchat, #kinderchat, #edtech, etc.).

I have even noticed a difference in my use of Twitter over the last week and a half. Being a remote learner in this program was difficult at first as I am a very social person and need to connect with my peers in order to create an effective learning space for myself. Therefore, having our cohort hashtag (#tiegrad) has been amazing as it has allowed me to connect with guest speakers and  my fellow classmates, see what is going on in their specific contexts, and see how they are connecting their class learning to their areas of interest. I appreciated everyone’s feedback on Saturday morning when I was feeling especially tired and stuck in a ‘world of procrastination’.

As much as I value and appreciate Twitter for it’s sharing and community building capabilities, I am hesitant as it becomes another time sucker as I scroll through on a Sunday morning before I get out of bed. I am learning to prioritize the ways in which I want to communicate with people around me.

In addition, it adds to the confusion of developing boundaries between peoples personal and professional lives. My district administrators have seemed to find that boundary. On their Twitter accounts they are only sharing out the amazing things that educators and other administrators are doing in their buildings.  A few of them have Instagram accounts where they share more personal family and life moments. As I move into this new administration role, I appreciate seeing the balance of both – and building in boundaries in their professional and personal sharing.

The ethics of Twitter use becomes more of an issue if you are using it as an educator and are in communication with your students. As an adult, I appreciate the communication and connectivity of Twitter, especially in this program. However, if I were going to use Twitter as a way to teach students about the respectful use of social media, I would use some of the items suggested by Alec Couros and Jesse Miller – mentioned in my blog posts (hyperlinked to their names).

What about students developing personal learning networks (PLN) online? Check out this podcast episode by InnovatED Image result for apple podcast logocalled ‘Surprise: what happened when my student created her own personal learning network’ to hear first hand the student experience with developing a digital PLN. Click the podcast icon to listen and let me know your thoughts!

 

Finally, something that was new to me this week was Tweetdeck! I love being able to curate specific people, groups, and tweets in order to follow what is going on in that area of interest. It allows me to see a quick snapshot of what is going on in my specific areas of interest, so I am not taking up so much personal time scrolling through content. See a screenshot of mine below (10/07/2019).

However, it then spiraled me into a deep dive of Twitter to see who else is out there and grow my own PLN. Below I have curated a list of people, hashtags, and personal blogs that are constantly adding to my professional practice as a BC elementary educator and leader. Here is just a snapshot, but there are so many more! (*And sorry I have not directly linked them all there, there are just too many!*)

People/Institutions

@_valeriei, @technolandy, @ChristineYH, @BreneBrown, @IE_UBC, @SELearningEDU, @courosa, @ereid38, @TomSchimmer, @SteveWyborney, @EdCampBCCC, @BCnumeracy, @LearningForward, @WabKinew, @FNESC, @IndigenousEdBC,  @bradleyrbaker,  @noiie_bc, @jhalbert8, @kaser_linda, @OpalSchool, @strong_nations, @trev_Mackenzie, @Usingtechbetter, @tweetsomemoore, @fayebrownlie, @TIE_BC, @akijae, @shareski, @anniekinders, jnovakowski38, @MediatedReality, @cdnedchat, @makerspaces_com, @bcedchat, @LFee17, @gcouros, @rbathursthunt, @ltnpbs (Lynne Tomlinson), @SLShortall, @JanetMHicks, @UBCmfenton, @DiscoveryEd, @chrkennedy

Hashtags

#edchat, #bcedchat, #kinderchat, #edtech, #EdLeaders, #FormativeAssessment, #SEL, #classroomdesign, #PLN, #inquiry

Blogs

Culture of Yes by Chris Kennedy

The Principal of Change by George Couros

Trevor Mackenzie’s Blog

Inquiry Mindset by Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt

Cult of Pedagogy

The Cool Cat Teacher Blog

 

I hope that this list of inspiring educators allows you to spiral into developing your own Personal Learning Network!

A Conversation with Jesse Miller

In todays EDCI 568 class, we had the opportunity to have a conversation with nationally renowned lead educator on the topics of internet safety, privacy, and professionalism, Jesse Miller. He is the founder of Mediated Reality, which is an education company focusing on new media education for the different stakeholders in education.

One of the first things that he said, which I thought was very poignant, was ,

“it is detrimental, what we are doing to kids. When we compare our experience with technology with the access that students have now, is not fair” Jesse Miller (09/07/2019)

I think this is such an important message to convey to educators and other adults alike. Students only know what they are exposed to and we, as a people, have to learn how to cope with what we have been given. Therefore, we as adults need to share best practices on the topics of safety and privacy that we have learned in the process of technology development over the past decade.

Related image

In his presentation, Jesse presented the following ideas that educators need to focus on in 2019 in order to support students in their understanding of safety, privacy, and respectful use of technology.  Under each heading, I have collated questions to consider and resources geared towards K-7 educators.

In 2019 we SHOULD focus on:

I found this image and thought it would be a great one to share with Gr 4+ students as they are spending more and more time on social media accounts – where a lot of them are image based.

Find poster here.

Manipulating Data to Tell a Story – Excel/Google Sheets

Step-by-step guides from Rich McCue  from the UVic Digital Scholarship Library:

Technology Integration in the Elementary Classroom

Alec Couros – Dropping knowledge on the #tiegrad’s

Ideas to ponder:

  • SAMR Model of Technology Integration (see above)
    • teacher has to be proficient in the tool and the ecosystem in which it exists before asking students to use it
    • it’s okay to be hesitant – start small (not every integration needs to be at the redefinition level)
  • Using YouTube as a research/learning tool
  • There is an abundance of information and tools out there for students to use, put them in situations where they can communicate in their ‘language’ and then translate it into a safe and generally understood platform
  • Providing opportunities and choice for students in order to show their learning (once they know how to acquire the knowledge, they need to explore different ways to show it

“If students are doing the same things in the classroom, are we really being innovative?” – Alec Couros

  • Social Media is a great way to connect to a network (develop your PLN)
  • Social Media can also be a teaching tool (students learning in multimodalities)
  • Using Social Media and crowd sourcing to learn (e.g. ‘The Learning Project’ by Alec Couros, videos by Mike Boyd)
  • Technology in the Elementary School context
    • Grades K-3:
      • understanding how to consume information
      • robotics
      • makerspaces
    • Grades 4-7
      • understanding the world of connecting and developing and understanding an audience
      • targeted ads
      • digital sleuthing (using the internet to find out all the information you can on someone *with their permission*)
      • practice Tweeting (papers around the room – limited characters, can comment below)
      • Twitter template (students have to submit potential Tweets and class discusses their thoughts)
      • FlipGrid

Lingering Question(s): Work in progress

  • How do you have conversations with staff members who are concerned about engaging with social media in the school context?

Quantitative Data and Social Media

This week in EDCI 515 we are exploring the concept of quantitative data collection for research purposes. Some examples of quantitative data collection that could be used for research are: statistics, sampling strategies, questionnaires, and surveys. The importance of quantitative data collection allows for development of a solid conclusion to a question based on numerical findings.

See below for difference between Qualitative and Quantitative research.

Qualitative Inquiry Quantitative Inquiry
Goals
  • seeks to build an understanding of phenomena (i.e. human behaviour, cultural or social organization)
  • often focused on meaning (i.e. how do people make sense of their lives, experiences, and their understanding of the world?)
  • may be descriptive: the research describes complex phenomena such as: social or cultural dynamics, individual perception
  • seeks explanation or causation

 

Research
Question
  • Qualitative inquiry is often used for exploratory questions, such as How? or Why? questions.

Examples:

  • How do breast cancer survivors adapt to their post-mastectomy body?
  • How is bereavement experienced differently by mothers and fathers?
  • Quantitative research aims to be more conclusive and pertain to larger populations, answering questions such as What? When? Where?

Examples:

  • When should women have their first mammogram?
  • What is the relation between bereavement and clinical depression?
Data
  • may be comprised of words, behaviors, images
  • the goal is data that can enhance the understanding of a phenomenon
  • can be manipulated numerically
  • the goal is precise, objective, measurable data that can be analyzed with statistical procedures
Design
  • Because the goal is exploratory, the researcher often may only know roughly what they are looking for. Thus, the design of the project may evolve as the project is in progress in order to ensure the flexibility needed to provide a thorough understanding of the phenomenon in question
  • A central tenet of quantitative research is the strictly controlled research design in which researchers clearly specify in advance which data they will measure, and the procedure that will be used to obtain the data
Data collection
Instruments
  • researchers are themselves instruments for data collection, via methods such as in-depth interviewing or participant observation. Data are thus mediated through a human instrument
  • date often collected ‘in the field’: the researcher observes or records behavior or interviews the participants in their natural setting (e.g. a clinic, the family home)
  • tools are employed to collect numerical data (e.g., surveys, questionnaires or equipment)
  • research environment is often a controlled representation of reality
Informant Selection
  • usually collected from small non-random samples (e.g., purposive samples, convenience samples, snow-balled samples)
  • not ‘measurable’ in a quantifiable or mathematical way
  • the aim is ensure that a sample is representative of the population from which it is drawn
  • gold standard is a random sample
Analyis
  • often inductive: the researcher builds abstractions, concepts, hypotheses, and theories from the data gathered
  • often relies on the categorization of data (words, phrases, concepts) into patterns
  • sometimes this data will then be embedded in larger cultural or social observations and analyses
  • Often complexity and a plurality of voices is sought
  • often deductive: precise measurement, mathematical formula, testing hypotheses

 

 

Results
  • The goal of qualitative research is to understand participants’ own perspectives as embedded in their social context
  • contextually based and thus do not seek generalizability in the same sense as quantitative research
  • Goal is prediction, generalizability, causality

 

For our EDCI 568 course, we were looking at a quantitative research paper on “Twitter Use and its Effects on Student Perception of Instructor Credibility” by DeGroot, Young, & VanSlette (2015). Some of the findings from this study are mentioned below.

Question(s)

RQ1: Is the type of instructor Twitter use (social, professional, or a blend of the two) associated with student perceptions of instructor credibility?

RQ2: Above and beyond the content in the Twitterfeed, do perceptions of instructor credibility differ based on whether students believe it is a good idea or a bad idea for an instructor to use Twitter?

RQ3: Does student use of Twitter (ie., frequency, use of Twitter for social versus professional use) change the association between the profile content and perceptions of instructor credibility?

RQ4: How do students describe the potential positive and negative effects of an instructor using Twitter?

Process of Research

  • Researchers used both quantitative and qualitative methods to examine perceived differences in instructor credibility based on the content of hypothetical instructors’ Twitterfeeds
  • Participants were asked to gauge their own social and professional Twitter use by answering two questions on a continuum (completely social –> completely professional)*sliding response scale
  • Three hypothetical instructor Twitter accounts were created (1) an account with only social tweets, (2) an account with tweets of only academic and professional messages, and (3) an equal blend of the tweets from the social and professional tweets (social = personal life [16 total], professional = relevant to professors teaching and research [16 total], blend = alternating social and professional [22 total]
  • Names and profile photos on the accounts were all female, shared the same name, and were purposefully generic
  • Quantitative Measurement
    • Assessed using the Source Credibility Measure (McCroskey & Teven, 1999; Teven & McCroskey, 1997)
    • 3 separate subscales: competence, goodwill/caring, and trust
    • Each subscale included 6  bipolar adjectives with a 7-point response *reverse scored
    • reflect on reasons why it would be a good idea and a bad idea for their instructors to have a Twitter account (responses given)
  • Qualitative Measurement
    • Open ended questions regarding the students perception of the instructors
    • Comments were thematically analyzed

Participants

  • Were recruited by the researching posting calls (out to university Blackboard sites and on social media sites – Facebook and Twitter)
    • 239 individuals
    • Criteria:
      • Current college students
      • Twitter user (Average = user for 2.6 years)
      • Between 18-89 years old (Average = 20.5 years old)
      • 65.7% female
      • Primarily Caucasian (76.6%), 12.6% African American, 6.3% Asian, 2.5% Hispanic, 2.1% Multiracial, 1.3% American Indian
      • Range of academic majors and distributed across years of education

Results

Quantitative

  • Participants rated the professional Twitterfeed significantly more credible than the social Twitterfeed and the professional Twitterfeed was also marginally more credible than the blended Twitterfeed
  • Students rated the blended Twitterfeed as significantly more credible than the social Twitterfeed

Qualitative

  • Organized into themes
  • “It keeps the students connected with the professor”
  • “Extending the classroom”
  • “Improving student-instructor relationships”
  • “Metalearning”
  • “Student/teacher relationships should not go much further than the classroom”
  • “Violating classroom and time expectations”
  • “Breaching the student-instructor boundary”

My perspective – I agree with the general result of this study. I think Twitter has a particular advantage because of the way that the platform is set up (can follow, be followed, limited characters, can repost, and comment) for academic purposes. As  Wasin Ahmed writes in his recent article, “Using Twitter as a data source: an overview of social media research tools” , that “Twitter remains the most popular platform for academic research.” As opposed to Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat – where they are geared towards people sharing their own personal experiences, instead of ideas.  By looking at what people post, you can make generalizations about someones professional credibility as well as pull data to gather information on a topic. I appreciate Dr. Valerie Irvine’s presence on Twitter as she not only shares information and research connected to what we are discussing in class, but also connecting us to other people to develop our Personal Learning Network, and engaging in conversation with peers in the field.

When comparing the outcomes for quantitative versus qualitative data collection for research purposes, I think that most of the information I will be collecting in relation to my area of interest will be qualitative. I am interested in the use of technology in the elementary classroom; which was excellent to hear ideas and suggestions from Alec Couros today such as digital sleuthing, targeted ads, and the use of Twitter templates before going online!

However, I could see benefits from researching quantitative data about how the use of technology and social media platforms improve information acquisition for students. This could be done through a questionnaire/survey in combination with a pre and post test on a random topic to see if it improved their understanding.

Supports for Success

The two readings that were provided for EDCI 568 this Wednesday seemed to be in direct contrast with each other. See my notes below for more information from each article.

Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not Work: An Analysis of the Failure of Constructivist, Discovery, Problem-Based, Experiential, and Inquiry-Based Teaching by Paul A. Kirschner, John Sweller  & Richard E. Clark (2010)

    • The goal of this article is to suggest that based on our current knowledge of human cognitive architecture, minimally guided instruction is likely to be ineffective.
    • Important to consider for this argument: working, long term memory, and the cognitive process
    • Long term memory – central and dominant structure of human cognition (everything that we see, touch, and hear is influenced by our long term memory)
    • Expert problem solvers derive their skill by drawing on the extensive experience stored in their long-term memory and then quickly select and apply the best procedures for solving problems
    • If nothing has been changed in long term memory, then nothing has been learned
    • Minimal guidance during instruction doesn’t allow learners to develop clear and precise pathways of learning to store in long term memory (stays in short term memory and is quickly lost)
    • How to learn needs to be scaffolded (when left to their own devices, higher risk for low aqcuisition of information and development of misconceptions)

Teaching for Meaningful Learning by Dr. Barron & Darling-Hammond, StanfordU

    • The importance of inquiry based teaching and learning in order for students to develop ‘21st century skills’ (inquiry, problem based, learning by design)
    • Types of assessment (ex. rubric) vs. the feedback that it gives (levels of progress)
    • Students learn more deeply when they can apply classroom-gathered knowledge to real-world problems, and when they take part in projects that require sustained engagement and collaboration.
    • Active learning practices have a more significant impact on student performance than any other variable, including student background and prior achievement.
    • Students are most successful when they are taught how to learn as well as what to learn.
    • These ‘new’ learning experiences require simultaneous changes in curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices

Class Discussion and Questions to Consider

As mentioned by Barron and Hammond,

“decades of research illustrate the benefits of inquiry-based and cooperative learning to help students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in a rapidly changing world.”

Personally, my views on students supports sits somewhere in the middle. I believe that the Inquiry approach to teaching is the most effective way for students to develop an understanding of themselves and the world around them.  Throughout my school year, I move through the ‘pool’ as Trevor Mackenzie notes in his book, Dive into Inquiry. At the beginning of the year, the whole class is engaging in the same inquiry together as we develop our questioning strategies, nonfiction reading skills, research skills, and persistence. Throughout the rest of the year, I often transition from controlled inquiry into guided inquiry. There have been very few instances where I have been able to fully let go in my grade 2/3 classroom. However, I am hoping to make this more of a focus as I transition into an intermediate classroom next year.

I believe that in order to build students success, educators needs to scaffold the learning experiences in order for students to develop the skills in order to be an independent learner. Reference the Zone of Proximal Development below.

The transition in education from traditional teaching strategies to Inquiry and Problem Based Learning experiences (PBL) was exciting and quick. However, I think it was done without much thought of students current education experiences as well as developmental abilities. As mentioned in our class discussion, high school students especially, are struggling with open ended teaching and learning.

Are students just lazy?

No. I believe that students are products of what they have been surrounded with. I think that in elementary school, educators are lucky because we have such a great opportunity to take advantage of our young students inherent curious nature to explore the world around them. Therefore, we should be using this time to scaffolding students learning process in order to transition into more difficult problems and concepts in the higher grades. It is unfair for educators to teach young students in the traditional way and then be expected to learn for themselves in a secondary setting. We need to provide students with the skills and strategies for success.

“Although unguided or minimally guided instructional approaches are very popular and intuitively appealing, the point is made that these approaches ignore both the structures that constitute human cognitive architecture and evidence from empirical studies over the past half-century that consistently indicate that minimally guided instruction is less effective and less efficient than instructional approaches that place a strong emphasis on guidance of the student learning process” (Kirshner, Sweller, & Clark, 2010).

If students are only wanting to do the minimum of what is expected, I think that is sign to us educators that they have not yet developed the appropriate neural pathways, they are used to low expectations of others, or they are not engaged with the learning that is happening.

How can students show their learning in different ways if they have not been taught it?

 

 

I believe that this is my job as an elementary school teacher – to expose students to exploring and experimenting with a variety of different ways to learn and share their learning with others. Therefore, as students get older, they can experiment with different ways to show their learning because they already know how to do the ground work.

Do grades feed into this?

 

As mentioned in the video above, the focus on grades for students pits kids against each other which creates a competitive environment instead of a collaborative one. I think the hyper-focus on grades, especially in the upper grades, gives students a way to compare themselves and develop a sense of self-identity that rides solely on their perceived abilities which is extremely detrimental as they get older.

In B.C. we are lucky to have a new sense of flexibility that comes along with the redesigned curriculum. The curriculum focuses more on the development of core and curricular competencies as life skills instead of the regurgitation of content. Because of the focus on skills and competencies, there is a need for a ‘continuum for growth and development’ as our School District calls it. So we are transitioning from a focus on grades and percentages to growth and development of a particular skill. We are definitely moving in the right direction, but it is going to take a while for students, but particularly, parents to be on board with this approach.

Transition from high school to higher education using an open model?

Parents continued focus on grades, I believe, is two-fold. They are used to the way things were when they were going to school (local, nationally, or internationally) and they are concerned about how the indicators on the growth continuum will translate into acceptance into a post secondary institution.

The first issue I think will just take patience and time. As educators continue on this journey of focusing on the competencies and clearly communicating the importance and the benefits of doing so, I think parents will come around.

In regards to the second issue, that is a systems concern. But some Post Secondary institutions are following the elementary and secondary school approach and altering their admission qualifications (see SFU’s here).

Something else to add – During a discussion with a secondary principal at the UBC Short Course this weekend, he had mentioned this his School District in Prince George have started to change the language between elementary and secondary schools to align  the approaches in the new curriculum to the types of learning that is going on at each site and each grade. He believes that the language of elementary, secondary, and post-secondary is not inclusive. Therefore, his district has moved to using the word foundational studies (Grades K-10) and graduate studies (Grades 11+). I thought this was a very interesting approach and something I would like to consider for my own site.

Research Methodologies

As defined by the Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries:

Research: a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it

Methodology: a set of methods and principles used to perform a particular activity

Therefore, Research Methodology is the careful study of the methods and principles used to do research.

(An excerpt from https://heidid.opened.ca/2019/07/05/mixing-the-methods-of-research-methodology/?unapproved=1&moderation-hash=2182d3af58c5c89812e71fea2a66dc89#comment-1)

As I reflect on my own personal learning experience and teaching approach, I realize that I have a very limited view of different types of research (methodologies) and how the use of a variety of methods ensure for deeper learning for myself and my students.

In my classroom, when my students participate in research based activities, I often have them go through the same process. We move through the Inquiry method and I scaffold by everyone participating in a class Inquiry and developing research skills and strategies before moving into a more guided or independent Inquiry (similar to Trevor Mackenzie’s types of student inquiry approach). The research categories and options are often scripted by me, to limit student’s confusion and support and meet them where they are developmentally.

However, reflecting on that practice after our class readings and conversations from EDCI 515, I am embarrassed to realize that is not enough.

Research Diaries

As I read ‘Research Diary: A Tool for Scaffolding’ by Marion Engin, I understood the intentional use of ‘diary’ in this approach. I have used Inquiry Journals in the past, however, they were quite prescribed on what was included and what was written in them – which serves a purpose sometimes. However, there is also the need, as learners, for a space to share thoughts, ideas, missteps, and questionings in order to improve personal performance and document the learning process. According to Engin,

“Diary writing is seen as an opportunity for reflection and inner dialogue. The articulation of thoughts becomes the catalyst for change in beliefs and practice, thus the narrative inquiry of diary writing is a tool which mediates teachers’ professional development.”

As classroom teachers, we often get wrapped up in quantitative data and forget to put strategic supports in place for students to move through and understand the process of learning – making their learning visible.

At the end of this past year, I planned a year-long Inquiry unit with my colleagues on the history of Canada. We were hoping to use Inquiry Journals in order for students to reflect on their process and answer questions for us to follow up with. However, I would also like to introduce the use of Research Diaries for my students. I would love for it to be something that students could carry with them through out the year and use it to help propel their learning. I think it could be extremely meaningful for the students, as it is something that is individual and not being used for marks, but as a visual example of their learning process. It could also be a great artifact for students to share with their families during Student-Led conferences in the Spring.

The video below describes some different reasons why the use of Research Diaries are helpful for post graduate studies.

Based on our EDCI 515 class discussion this week, here are some things that could be included and reflected on in Research Diaries in order to make it effective and progress the learning and development – whoever it is that is using them.

  • Data (observations)
    • Additional found items (photographs, letters, etc.)
    • Contextual information
    • Reflections  on research methods (ideas and plans for subsequent research)
  • Theoretical Ideas
    • Clarifying a concept or idea
    • Making connections
    • Connecting your experiences
    • Formulating a new hypothesis
    • Realising the process
  • Method/Logical Notes
    • Circumstances
    • Biases?
    • What role did I play in the situation under investigation?
    • Comments arise from my experience
    • What decisions did I make about the future course of my research, and why?
    • What conflicts and ethical dilemmas did I encounter and how did I deal with them?

Autoethnography

According to our EDCI 515 reading this week,

Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze (graphy) personal experience (auto) in order to understand cultural experience (ethno) (ELLIS, 2004; HOLMAN JONES, 2005).

Similar to my classmate, Benjamin Hood’s perspective mentioned in his recent blog, I “also I learn more when I can make a connections to something in the real world such as a story, an experience, or an event.” Traditional research methods are often focused on hard facts and quantitative data. However, this approach “acknowledges and accommodates subjectivity, emotionality, and the researchers influence on research, rather than hiding from these matters or assuming they don’t exist” (C. Ellis, T.  E. Adams & A. P. Bochner, 2011).

When researching authoethnography examples, I found Sarah Wall’s paper which explores international adoption through the lens of her own experiences. She notes in her abstracts that “this form of scholarship highlights more than ever issues of representation, “objectivity,” data quality, legitimacy, and ethics. Although working through these challenges can lead to the production of an excellent text, the intimate and personal nature of autoethnography can, in fact, make it one of the most challenging qualitative approaches to attempt” (Wall, 2008).

If I apply this understanding to my own teaching context. I will probably not be having students write their own authoethonography paper, but I think some of the data collection strategies such as taking field notes, listening to stories, noting feelings of themselves and others, collecting artifacts, interviews, and questions are important practices to introduce to students. From there, the important 21st century learning skills that can be practiced are perspective taking, adding their own perspective, understanding biases and context.  Prompting students to do additional research about the authors of the information that they found, what other researchers in the field were exploring at the time, and what was the historical and cultural climate at that time. That information could have a profound affect on the interpretation of the information being provided in the article.

Reflection on my own teaching and learning – The 4 R’s

Before – I would say that my role as a researcher was to explore new teaching strategies and techniques and my efficacy as an educator. I would gather information of my own teaching from assessments of students (anecdotal notes, tests, check ins, etc.) and the data would be shared with the students and their parents at scheduled reporting times.

Students responsibility in my classroom was to research concepts using resources that were given to them (for the most part). And the goal of this data collection was not personal, but to provide to the teacher a submission of their understanding. And often,  information was shared with peers during the exploration process.

After – I now understand that my role as the teacher is to guide and support students in their learning. Together, we explore a variety of research strategies to develop an understanding of each other, ourselves, cultural context, where we are, and the world around us in order to develop strong, respectful, and flexible lifelong learners.

I am looking forward to implementing concepts and strategies learned in these courses, into the teaching and learning that is going on in my classroom.

Considering Privacy Online

Do you even know what the privacy guidelines are for teachers? I can tell you I didn’t! I didn’t even know there were documents for us to reference in order to be safe and respectful representatives for our profession as educators.

The era of social media seems to be inescapable. We now have profiles on a multitude of platforms are and are often sharing and constantly in communication with others. However, have you ever stopped to think before posting an Instagram story, Snapchat  video, or Facebook post?

As my EDCI 568 professor shared with us, “once you move into the role of a public school teacher or within any public body, you must adhere to the laws set out by the B.C. Office of Information and Privacy Commissioner for public bodies (private organizations have a different set of rules). Their office has put together guidelines for you to follow to better understand what the rules are and how to get consent.” BC Cloud Computing Guidelines (PDF). And you can review the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act here.

When we are using educational platforms, technology, and communication tools, we need to ensure we are abiding by the rules and regulations of our profession in order to protect the little people that we work with and their families. It does not mean that we stop engaging online or outside of Canada. It means that we need to be knowledgable and get the proper consent. Some districts have their own expectations and safety considerations. You can see an example of how school district are addressing access to cloud tools outside of Canada here (Coquitlam) and here plus here (Victoria).

It is important to also review section 4(b) of the B.C. Digital Literacy Framework. The whole document is good to review as a refresher of what we need to be teaching and exposing our students to.

Additional resources can be found here:

Privacy Education for Kids by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

Information Security Awareness by the BC Government

MediaSmarts: Canada’s Centre for Digital and Media Literacy

Some competencies for you to explore and ask if you need help:

  • Is aware of the OIPC, FIPPA, and the Cloud Computing Guidelines and follows them
  • Understands what constitutes personal information
  • Understands that privacy online is a personal choice and must be respected
  • Understands that, as a preservice teacher or inservice teacher in the schools, that you assume a “public body” hat and have a duty of care for your learners, their parents and families, and your colleagues with regard to their privacy and protection of personal information
  • Is aware that the Canadian federal government states that the chances are remote that the US Patriot Act will access personal information of Canadians, but recognizes that it is our responsibility to protect privacy preferences and to ensure that consent obtained is informed consent. Some families may be involved with restraining orders and need to be private for their safety, but the reasons for privacy may be preference. Either way, it is not our business as to the reasons for privacy preferences, but it is our responsibility to uphold preferences.
  • Understands how media moves through networks into US cloud-based services (e.g., back-ups on iTunes, syncing with Dropbox, messages with personal information sent on Gmail, blog RSS subscriptions, etc.)
  • Understands that these acts do not prohibit participation in networked tools outside of Canada and many school districts are in need of teachers who model networked literacy and positive citizenship online for their learners
  • Is familiar with section 4(b) of the BC Digital Literacy Framework and is prepared to integrate it in teaching and learning
  • Understands what appropriate consent looks like for public bodies and is aware of what alternative steps are to support learners when consent is not obtained.

In addition,  I learned this week, that public expectation of administrators increases ten-fold. The importance of organizational leadership is paramount. As administrators, we need to not only comply with the FIPPA standards and the Digital Literacy Framework,  but think about the perception of our online profiles. We are now representatives of our school boards and therefore, need to exemplify respect, equity, inclusion, and a standard of excellence. Therefore, in the next few weeks I will be reflecting on my own online portfolio and ensure that I am aligned with those expectations.

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