Each of the following highlights were a great learning component for me during this course. Following is each one, how they helped me, and how they will help me in the future.
· Lectures. One thing I learned from the lectures is to make my Action Research Project very specific and not too elaborate. By doing so, I can increase my chances of a successful research project. Keeping things simple and focused will prevent a project to “go rogue” or get to large and unproductive.
· Readings. I enjoyed how the developers of this class honed in on the important aspects of the text and did not require us to read the entire books. Some of the things I will take from this course, that were in the text, include:
-Where do I find my wonderings and questions. These will assist me in finding a good Action Research Project.
1. Staff Development
2. Curriculum Development
3. Individual Teacher(s)
4. Individual Student(s)
5. School culture/community
8. School Performance
9. Social Justice
-On Page 64 of the Dana text, it stated that it is important to not find an Action Research Project that focuses on controlling or changing other people’s craft. This is definitely important to keep in mind at all times, because a sure way of failing in this is trying to change people to my liking. One thing to keep in mind is to always work on a project with the success of students in mind.
-Chapter three of the Dana text introduced the road map in developing a data collection plan by showing us various strategies to use. These include 1) Quantitative measures of student achievement, 2) Field notes, 3) Interviews, 4) Documents/Artifacts/Student Work, 5) Digital Pictures, 6) Video, 7) Reflective journals and/or Weblogs, 8) Surveys, and 9) Literature. This information was presented in an excellent, easy to use format. Most people that think of research think of prior research (documents and literature) and current data on student (i.e. STAAR data). It’s important to use all of the other strategies for a more concise research project.
· Searches, like electronic searches of topics and questions
I did various searches online when I needed clarification on some of the tools that I used in class. There is a plethora, yes plethora, of information on Action Research onine, so I had to be very careful not to get lost with the amounts of information available.
· Assignments and activities. Assignments were set up in a way that allowed me to use all of my class tools. This includes the textbooks I purchased, TK20, Blackboard, and Google Blogs. By working with all of these components, it made it easier, or clearer for me to grasp the concept(s) being taught.
· Discussion Board. The discussion board is an excellent tool to look at other people’s projects and provide feedback. It’s also great to hear my fellow students viewpoints/suggestions on my postings. It’s always good to hear another person’s input, especially if that person does not have an interest in your work – pure and unbiased opinions.
· Blogs. Blogs are another excellent method to allow others to view my planned work and give input. It also provides for a historical account of my on-goings, or steps toward completing a successful action research project.