Thursday, July 22, 2010

Professional Development Blog

I am still toying with the idea of how I can make an action research project work with 63 school districts. I have been training science teachers almost every day this summer on the new science standards, EOC Success for Biology, 5-8 Science Academies and English Language Proficiency Standards. I have been very impressed with the class blog and how quickly we have all taken to sharing our experiences with each other. One idea that I am now thinking about is providing a professional development session where I invite the teachers that I have worked with this summer to come to the ESC for a day and create a personal blog page. Then I would like to teach them how to follow each other's blog. Once this has been set up I would like the group to determine areas of focus (an action research project) to implement within their classroom. The group can then follow each other's progress throughout the semester and perhaps come back together towards the end of the semester/year to go back over their results and brainstorm new ideas for the next semester/year. I could see doing this many times and building small groups of teachers who are working with and supporting each other through the use of technology. By setting up professional development sessions, I can work with smaller groups at a time and then replicate the work many times over.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Action Research Topic

I am planning on devoting time tomorrow to my homework for this week. In my position, I work with the science teachers in 63 school districts in our region. I am having a hard time deciding how to approach this research project. I would like to focus on ELL students and raising their test scores, but I am not sure how to approach the project. Option 1 - I have one school that I work with in an instructional coaching capacity. I could design a project that works specifically with them. This would benefit this one school. Option 2 - I am drawn to the possibilities of the blog/technology and trying to figure out how I can use it to reach all/more of my teachers in the 63 school districts. Some of my schools are over 2 hours away and it is difficult for those teachers to receive professional development face to face. This option has the capacity to benefit hundreds of teachers/students. Any suggestions before I get started would be appreciated.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Analysis of how educational leaders might use blogs

Educational leaders can use blogs to share research and strategies they find with their peers and teachers. In my job as an instructional specialist, I can use the blog to provide teachers with specific strategies that they can implement in their classroom. By providing research and strategy ideas, I can help impact instruction throughout the region. Blogs can be used for ideas, links to sites, links to articles, videos of strategies in use, etc.

Description of Action Research

Action research is an attempt to understand what is happening in a certain situation and then to develop a plan of action to improve the situation. This plan is not formed from the top down, but collaboratively with all who are involved. By working together all participants are more willing to suggest ideas for improvement and implement the changes required for success. Action research differs from traditional educational research in that the participants are actively involved in the action research. They are looking for solutions to problems and then working through those solutions as they work together for improvement. Inquiry, critical analysis, and reflection are used throughout the research. Educators are working to understand and improve their educational practices through active participation, not passive observing. In traditional research, the researcher is not personally involved because they are striving for objectivity and knowledge by studying what others are doing. For a teacher, traditional research is not as beneficial due to the nature of the research. The teacher might be doing the research project in place of their daily instruction. The teacher may not be able to make changes to their instruction during the research project and there is less chance for collaboration with their peers.