The most important lesson I have learned this week is to “be intentional about this process.” The first week was exciting but a little chaotic for me as I had to get organized for all of my courses; this course was intimidating because I have yet to conduct a “real” action research project by myself. By the end of the week, I realized that by being intentional in learning this research process, I am able to more effectively focus my time, my learning, and therefore my research.
This week’s twitter session was a fun experience connecting with the other teachers, sharing advice on using wordpress and livetext, but also about the upcoming literature review. It was good to see the other topics that are being explored; while I have little knowledge or experience with some of the topics shared, I am eager to learn more from the research of others. Some helpful tips I gained from our twitter session were to gather peer reviewed articles on my topic but to also look for different types of articles. I also should be looking for qualitative research-based studies and that books might not necessarily be as helpful. It was also a great reminder to skim articles for an overview of the content and to decide if it was relevant. It made so much sense that the annotated bibliography is essentially a compilation of summaries of the articles I find.
I enjoyed reading the other blogs this week; it helped me find out more about other topics, how others are considering conducting research, and getting a backstory of their teaching experience, style, and interests in research. I was able to read most of the other blogs and comment with ideas from my own experience. I was also encouraged because others commented on my blog and gave me other resources to explore. In my practice I thrive on teamwork and collaboration, so having others’ writing to read and comments about my own writing has been so valuable to me since I not currently working with students. Writing my blog and reading the other blogs also helped me to return to my own topic and really think about what I am trying to accomplish in my practice and how that translates to my research in this course.
I spent some time this week reading through all the resources under Review of Existing Research & Annotated Bibliography (articles, library resources, videos), and the beginning stages about this research project started to make sense. It will still be a lot of work, but the methodical approach that we are using in this course will help me because I have not formally conducted an action research project (at least in this way). The video from Walden University about the common mistakes made when writing a literature review was especially helpful; thinking about my research not as an assignment or individual project but in the scope of work around my topic. This also helped me to think about the specific questions I want to answer through my research and why those questions are important to answer. The other resources for using the library databases were a good review and the instructions and tips for reading research study articles and creating my annotated bibliography were extremely useful. I printed some of them out as a guide until I get more comfortable with my research skills.
Last week I had decided that my research would focus on students interactions in MinecraftEdu because I will be helping to facilitate three MinecraftEdu MOOCs (Survivalcraft) this semester in my other courses. Student ownership over learning was a theme from other blogs that I read this week, and I started thinking about that with respect to my own topic. I am interested in how students will drive their own learning through the Survivalcraft experience, however, I’m not sure how data collection will work since I will not be working with students directly. Other teachers also responded to my blog this week about my focus on digital literacy or citizenship; since my role in Survivalcraft this semester will be to support teachers, I thought it would be better for me to focus my research on the teachers rather than the students. At this point, I’m starting to narrow the focus of my research to look at effective strategies for facilitating student interactions in MinecraftEdu. Since MinecraftEdu is fairly new and there is not much (if any) research that has been conducted, I’m focusing my search for articles on student interactions in MOOCs or online games, digital citizenship, gamification, and communication in digital learning games. I would like to get some feedback from others about my topic and research questions so that my annotated bibliography research can be more focused this week.
My research topic: Effective strategies for facilitating student interactions in a MinecraftEdu MOOC.
- What are effective strategies for facilitating student interactions in digital learning experiences? Should this be digital games?
- What behavior management tools and strategies are most effective in MinecraftEdu?
- How should teachers use the MinecraftEdu Teacher tools to facilitate student interactions (within and across groups of students – either with their own classmates or with students from other classes or schools).
- What role do students play in determining types and levels of interactions with other students in a MinecraftEdu MOOC. (Student Ownership)
Maybe I’m over thinking this research project and one of these questions is more than enough, but at the end of the day, I want to be able to support teachers who are using MinecraftEdu in their classrooms or in collaboration with other classes and schools.