It’s week two of 5301 and the black cloud looming over my head (a.k.a. Action Research Project) is beginning to turn a light shade of grey. Now, that’s not to say it isn’t ready to burst at any second, but I have a good feeling that it will remain intact, but applying just the right amount of pressure. All exaggeration aside, I have digested a considerable amount of information over the development and beginning stages of action research.
Watching Dr. Kirk Lewis’s interview made the most impact on my understanding of action research. He conveyed the importance of conducting action research on a topic of true interest and how that will ultimately provide a more focused outcome and will prove to be most beneficial to students. I really learned a lot about his tactics and his views on the importance of action research. His strategy of evaluating data and research from various districts or campuses and learning from the ways they have addressed problem areas is a great way to begin assessing your school’s areas of difficulty. Just as Dr. Arterbury and Dr. Jenkins expressed in their interview, knowing what is practical for your students or teachers and being invested in your action research project will ensure a more focused outcome and a project that is beneficial for advancing student achievement.
After considering many topics with my site mentor including using iPads in the classrooms, evaluating discipline procedures, and improving student-teacher-parent communication, we decided to focus on evaluating the effectiveness of professional development and teacher training. I struggled with finding an action research project that I would have the opportunity to really spend the amount of time necessary to research and comprehensively evaluate. Unfortunately, I am not teaching at a school this year because we moved at the beginning of the school year for my husband's job. After seeing the limited opportunities for teaching positions in my certification area, I have begun exploring other options. I thought that focusing more on technology-centered training, which is something I thoroughly enjoy and currently do part-time, I would have a better chance of really utilizing my research in the event that I cannot secure a teaching position next year.
I plan to attend many trainings and faculty/teaming meetings in order to observe the overall structure vs. effectiveness of the meetings. I plan to research recent findings and other literature to determine how to present material in the best and most beneficial way possible. To teachers, time is everything. It is scarce and precious. In an interview for the New York Times, Barbara Stein, senior policy analyst for education technology issues for the National Education Association, said "The greatest indicator of technology improving student achievement depends on the degree to which the teachers can use it" (“More technology training,” 2000). I completely agree. I plan to prove that cooperative, ongoing training focused on implementation in the classroom is the best approach for teachers to utilize technology and relay these learning experiences to make certain their students are receiving the highest-quality education possible.
More technology training for teachers. (2000, November 22). The New York Times. Retrieved from http://nytimes.com/2000/11/22/technology/22EDUCATION.html