Developing Questions
Collaborative Ideas Generated at FETC 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008

Action research is about developing and leveraging your personal power.

Action research is a frame of mind.

Think about your values. And, your workplace. Where are there disconnects?

- The level of collaboration among teachers in school. We value collaboration. Our workplace doesn't exhibit it well. What action could we take to bring them into alignment? Time. Scheduling time. Maybe the formal structure of the system needs to be changed. Maybe they need a means for communication. Perhaps use technology as a support for collaboration. Look at what others have done. Predict possible outcomes of our action. Contact others who have already tried this solution. Then, begin a cycle of action.

- Communication and collaboration are also an issue in industry. Industry values collaboration, but doesn't always know how to achieve it.

- We value parent involvement in the school and in the design of education. Yet, there is a lack of parental involvement. What can we do? Increase communication. Find ways to bring them into the process and make them feel comfortable. Focus on the child as the primary responsibility for both the parents and the school. Use technology to facilitate the communication and put/keep the focus on the children. Perhaps using video segments to allow parent to "see" inside the classroom.

- We value collaboration, but it can often be perceived as "cheating." How can we overcome that perception? Re-position peers as "consultants." Re-position collaborative learning as a means to developing leadership skills. You become a more powerful person in the workplace when you develop leadership skills and learn how to collaborate well with others. Change the way you talk about things--consultants, rather than "group work"--can be a powerful technique.

[ breakout groups ]

Reports after Break

- We want to integrate technology into K-12 classrooms, but struggle to find ways to do so. Robert used a 4-step process to look at a number of issue--leadership, teacher training, vendor support. Tried to initiate change after gathering data. Outcome: made an impact on one school that has continued to change.

- We need good teachers in the classroom. How can we develop teachers and keep them in the classroom? Action research is a way to engage teachers in developing their own practice. Teacher leaders often do action research without even realizing it. By supporting it formally, the growth potential increases exponentially.

- Online learning in higher education is a good idea, but without the human contact, collaboration, and connections it can be disappointing. Action research is a process of self-discovery that engenders self-expression. And, technology supports it. (Skype, for example.) So, combining action research with online learning is an intentional strategy to overcome the disconnect. (Pepperdine uses a blended model, with occasional face-to-face on-site gatherings throughout the program.)