My proposed action research project is inquiring, "How can video production promote writing and reading skills for at-risk fourth grade students?" My inquiry was inspired by my experience and new learning in my last grad course Multimedia Video Technology. Not only does the video production process share similarities among the writing process, it is quite engaging and a rewarding experience. I plan to use two after school tutoring sessions per week for 5 consecutive weeks. Students who will be invited to attend "tutoring" are students who struggle with skills such as making visualizations, sequencing, retelling, planning, and organization. Often, these students struggle to get their thoughts on paper and I truly believe that integrating technology will help motivate them as these skills are practiced and reinforced. Another significance of this action research project is addressing the motivation factor of at-risk students. Many of these students struggle with focusing and lack of engagement during traditional instruction. This action research could offer more insight into utilizing additional methods for engaging at-risk learners.
This week in my grad course, Research for Teachers, I learned about how action research can be applied to various educational areas such as staff development, curriculum development, teachers, students, school culture/community, leadership, management, school performance, and social justice/equity. Schools face many challenges in each of the areas mentioned and action research is a great way to take the problem into your own hands and do something about it. As a current teacher, I already find myself using my new understandings to reflect on challenges I am facing in the classroom.
Action research is the focus of my current grad school course Research for Teachers. Unlike the traditional education research, action research involves local school leaders and teachers exploring ways to address a campus need in an organized and systematic manner. The steps to action research include identifying a current need of a campus, collecting and analyzing the data that highlights the need, researching relevant literature and best practices associated with the need, making changes based on new findings, and then sharing findings with stakeholders (Dana, 2009, ch. 1, para. 4).
As I read more about action research, I realized that action research is quite a logical and organized method of problem-solving. As a teacher I often find myself questioning how I can best address a need in my classroom. The next step is often researching best practices and then taking action. I now realize how using action research can greatly enhance and improve my own problem solving process and professional growth through increased organization, documentation, and sharing.
Sharing ideas throughout and at the completion of action research is a critical component and this can be accomplished using weblogs. Blogging is a powerful tool that educational leaders can use to track their thoughts, concerns, and progress. Photos, videos, and podcasts that apply to the research can be easily uploaded and provide easy access to visitors. Another benefit is that commenting features can present educational leaders with instant feedback from their staff or colleagues. Much like an online journal, blogging allows organized archives to be revisited when needed. With blogging, the sharing of ideas and information becomes limitless.
Dana, N.F. (2009). Leading with passion and knowledge, the principal as action researcher. (Kindle ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. DOI: www.amazon.com