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Marie Hoepfl Appalachian State University 2010 ITEEA Annual Conference A CTION R ESEARCH IN THE T ECHNOLOGY E DUCATION C LASSROOM.

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Presentation on theme: "Marie Hoepfl Appalachian State University 2010 ITEEA Annual Conference A CTION R ESEARCH IN THE T ECHNOLOGY E DUCATION C LASSROOM."— Presentation transcript:

1 Marie Hoepfl Appalachian State University 2010 ITEEA Annual Conference A CTION R ESEARCH IN THE T ECHNOLOGY E DUCATION C LASSROOM


3 W HAT IS A CTION R ESEARCH ?  Research conducted for the purpose of analyzing and improving conditions or practice in a field-based setting (such as a classroom).  Often involves comparison of different types of “actions” or strategies to determine differences in outcomes or effects.

4 W HAT IS A CTION R ESEARCH ?  Action research is typically cyclical in nature: Teacher devises and implements an action plan Teacher observes a need or a problem in the classroom Teacher monitors the effects of the action plan

5 W HY C ONDUCT A CTION R ESEARCH ?  To improve your teaching practice or student outcomes.  To systematically analyze the effects of some aspect of your teaching on your students or your program.  To document student progress toward educational goals.

6 A CTION R ESEARCH F UNDAMENTALS  Takes place in the actual/natural setting (the classroom).  Should focus on improving teaching practice at the classroom level and taking action to make improvements.

7 E XAMPLES OF A CTION R ESEARCH IN T ECHNOLOGY C LASSROOMS  Does varying the placement of labs (before or after lecture) in a Principles of Technology program result in changes in test scores or student interest?  Does using open-ended design problems versus prescribed drawing exercises affect student learning in a CAD classroom?

8 S TAGES OF A CTION R ESEARCH 1. Identify a problem, idea, or concern in your classroom or program. 2. Design research question(s) based on the problem or idea you wish to try. 3. Identify and implement data collection strategies, and analyze findings. 4. Develop and implement an action plan (improvement plan) based on the findings. 5. Evaluate the action plan.

9 A CTION R ESEARCH : G ETTING S TARTED  Identify a problem, idea, or concern in your classroom or program.  Sources of ideas can include: Observing students in your classroom Discussions with colleagues Articles in the education literature Student work samples

10 A CTION R ESEARCH : G ETTING S TARTED  Identifying a research topic: Self reflection What can I do to make this unit better? How can I explain this in a more meaningful way? What’s the best way to present this information? Which elements of this activity are most important for achieving the learning desired? Does small-group activity produce better outcomes than individual work? Can I cover this material more quickly without losing the educational benefits?

11 A CTION R ESEARCH : G ETTING S TARTED  Identifying a research topic: Teaching journal Keep a log of new activities or approaches with comments about how they worked and what you would change next time. Make notes about “critical incidents” observed during the day. Take notes about ideas or issues that interest you in articles or from discussions with colleagues.

12 A CTION R ESEARCH : G ETTING S TARTED  Identifying a research topic -- Think about recurring problems: My students have a difficult time creating sketches to illustrate their ideas. When I let my students select their own partners for team projects their work quality seems to suffer. Students are careless with resources and often break or lose track of parts/materials. My students’ quiz scores on a particular unit are always below target.

13 A CTION R ESEARCH : G ETTING S TARTED  Identifying a research topic: What are your personal/professional interests?  Example: I’ve always wondered about the effects of modular labs on student learning in technology education. Do self-guided (e.g., modular) approaches to learning result in better understanding than teacher-guided approaches?

14 S ELECTING A T OPIC Consider:  Importance – will the information I gain address a key issue in my program?  Relevance – is the problem widespread? Will solving the problem have an impact on a broad number of students?  Interest – is this an issue about which I have a high degree of interest?  Feasibility – is this topic really researchable? Can I get access to the information I need to answer the research question(s)?

15 W RITING A R ESEARCH S TATEMENT  The research statement describes the purpose of the research, establishes the need for the study, and gives a brief overview of the research design.  Example: This study will examine the effects of providing basic perspective sketching instruction on the ability of students in a technology education classroom to communicate ideas through drawings.

16 F ORMULATING A R ESEARCH Q UESTION  The research statement should provide the basis for the research question (or hypothesis).  The research question should provide: Parameters for the study. Distinct indicators for the design of the study. A question that can be answered through your data collection and analysis.

17 F ORMULATING A R ESEARCH Q UESTION  Sample research question: Are students who have been given basic instruction in perspective drawing techniques better able to create multiple ideas when generating designs than students who did not receive basic instruction in perspective drawing techniques?

18 R EVIEWING THE E DUCATIONAL L ITERATURE  Purposes? Become more knowledgeable about the “state of the art” relative to your topic Learn what research has been done  Resources: Google Scholar ERIC Books (esp. university libraries)

19 S OME R ESEARCH D ESIGN B ASICS  Variables  Controls (the “fair test”)  Qualitative Data  Quantitative Data  Validity  Bias

20 S OURCES OF D ATA IN THE C LASSROOM : W HAT TO M EASURE ?  Test or quiz scores  Time on task  Project work grades (relative to a rubric)  Student comments (written or verbal)  Number of incidents of a particular type  Ability to complete a task (relative to a checklist)  Etc.

21 H UMAN S UBJECTS R EVIEW & P ROTECTIONS  Institutional Review Boards  Exemption from review: “Research conducted in established or commonly accepted educational settings, involving normal education practices, such as (a) research on regular and special education instructional strategies, or (b) research on the effectiveness of or the comparison among instructional techniques, curricula, or classroom management methods. “

22 Variables INDEPENDENT: a variable that is the possible cause of a change; usually the factor that is introduced or manipulated. Example: using a new type of instructional approach. DEPENDENT: a variable that is potentially influenced by the independent variable or treatment; usually the effect that is of interest. Example: student test scores improve as a result of a new instructional approach.

23 Experimental Designs Involve the presence of clearly identifiable dependent and independent variables. Set up to examine cause and effect relationships.

24 A Sample Experimental Design GroupTime Group 1ObsTxObs Group 2Obs---Obs Features: Quasi-experimental design is typical of classroom settings. Pretest or prior measure of some type is conducted. One group receives a “treatment” or modification of some type; the other does not. The post-treatment observation is compared to the prior observation.

25 Extraneous Variables Extraneous variables are undesirable variables that can influence the relationship between the dependent and independent variables. –Also known as lurking variables.

26 Q UALITATIVE R ESEARCH D ESIGNS  Any research that is non-quantitative in nature.  Seeks a better understanding of a situation, in context-specific settings.  Used to gain in-depth information or when quantitative measures cannot adequately describe or interpret a situation.

27 Q UALITATIVE R ESEARCH D ESIGNS  Interviews  Descriptive observations  Examination of written (or other media) materials

28 S AMPLE Q UALITATIVE S TUDY  What are common misperceptions about energy generation among students?  Data collection: Have students respond in writing or interviews to specific questions or prompts that require detailed responses.  Data analysis: Review the student responses to uncover common misperceptions.  Consider ways to resolve the misperceptions.

29 A NALYZING THE D ATA  Quantitative – statistical analysis Descriptive (mean/median/mode) Correlational Inferential  Qualitative – looking for themes or for descriptions that provide key insights  Draw conclusions based on the data: what is the answer to your research question?

30 U SING THE R ESULTS OF A CTION R ESEARCH  Continue to work with, test, and refine the most promising strategy.  Share your findings with others through presentations and articles.

31 A CTION R ESEARCH : A N E XAMPLE 1. Problem: Students break or lose a lot of materials/parts in my classroom. 2. Observation: I’m going to document how much is lost, the accumulated cost, and which classes are the worst on a per- student basis. 3. Action plan: I’m going to try a new classroom management strategy (student lab managers) that a colleague suggested for dealing with breakage and loss.

32 4. Research Statement: This study will examine the effects of using student managers on loss and breakage in my classroom. 5. Research Question: Does the use of student lab managers in my technology education classroom lead to a reduced number of incidents of breakage and loss of materials and parts? 6. Research Design: Quasi-experimental; two similar groups; treatment (lab managers) in one for a period of weeks; collect data throughout. Action Research: An Example

33 7. Analyze Data: Compare the data from the “treatment” classroom with the other classroom and with prior data. Draw conclusions based on this data to answer your research question. 8. Apply Research Findings: Because the classroom with the lab manager showed modest improvements, you implement this strategy in all of your classes. Not all show similar gains. 9. Redesign: You make modifications in how you use lab managers and continue to collect data and monitor improvements. Action Research: An Example

34 C OMMON I SSUES IN A CTION R ESEARCH  Extraneous variables aren’t sufficiently controlled – it’s not a fair test.  The measure selected isn’t valid or is insufficient – it’s not a fair test.  “No significant difference” can discourage further action research.  There is no follow-up or follow-through: the findings of research are not used.

35 O BSTACLES TO R ESEARCH  Small number of TE researchers  Lack of a research culture in technology education  Lack of access to classrooms and lack of resources  Limited number of “reformed” TE classrooms, due to: Lack of solid curriculum models Inertia stemming from allegiance to traditional models  School systems are not designed to promote carefully-designed evaluations of interventions

36 P ROMISING SOLUTIONS TO PROMOTE RESEARCH IN TE  Promote action research by classroom practitioners by training and expecting undergraduate and graduate students to conduct research  Partner with classroom teachers as research collaborators, mentors, and co-authors

37 A CTIVITY  Ask the following questions: I would like to improve….. Learning in my classroom would improve if…. A student behavior in my classroom that makes me angry is…. A teaching strategy that I would like to try in my classroom is….. Students always have a difficult time with….

38 R ESOURCES  Altrichter, Herbert; Feldman, Allan; Posch, Peter; & Somekh, Bridget. (2008). Teachers investigate their work: An introduction to action research across the professions (2 nd Ed.). London: Routledge.  Craig, Dorothy Valcarcel. (2009). Action research essentials. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.  Johnson, Andrew P. (2008). A short guide to action research. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.  Lassonde, Cynthia A.; & Israel, Susan E. (2008). Teachers taking action: A comprehensive guide to teacher research. Newman, DE: International Reading Association.  Mertler, Craig A. (2009). Action research: Teachers as researchers in the classroom. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.  Sagor, Richard. (2005). The action research guidebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

39 I F Y OU ‘ RE I NTERESTED IN D OING M ORE WITH A CTION R ESEARCH : Contact Marie Hoepfl 828-262-3122

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