My Research Design

Research Design
In this study on teacher tools and strategies for supporting, monitoring, and moderating student behavior in MinecraftEdu, I take a qualitative inquiry approach examining a real world situation in the Givercraft experience, without manipulating it.

I take both an interpretivist and constructivist approach (Mackenzie & Knipe, 2006) in this research through an observational case study design, “an intensive analysis of an individual unit (as a person or community) stressing developmental factors in relation to environment” (Merriam-Webster, 2015). Teachers participating in the Givercraft experience will be managing their students in a virtual learning environment through MinecraftEdu. Individual classroom management tools and strategies used by Givercraft teachers will need to be adapted to accommodate this additional or extended learning environment. The teachers will attend a teacher training focused on tools and strategies used for supporting, monitoring, and moderating students in the MinecraftEdu gameworld.

Participants
Participants are four (4) 6th, 7th, and 8th grade teachers at elementary and middle schools in Anchorage, Alaska and Duluth, Minnesota. Participants are chosen because they registered their respective classes in the Givercraft experience, a MinecraftEdu online course facilitated by graduate students at the University of Alaska Southeast.

Interviews
A group interview consisting of four (4) questions on the topic of tools and strategies used in the MinecraftEdu game world will take place during teacher training on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. The group interview will happen here because the teacher training will include an overview of MinecraftEdu tools and strategies for teachers to use with their students. A group interview will be used so that teachers may share their answers and reflect on common issues or themes.
Interview Protocol for Teachers

Observations
Observations will occur in the MinecraftEdu game world during weekdays from March 2 – 27, 2015 between 7:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m The times are chosen because each class is in the MinecraftEdu game world at a different time based on their class schedule.
Observation Protocol for MinecraftEdu game world

Field Notes
Field notes are completed immediately following the observations.
Field Notes Template

Documents
The documents to be analyzed are the daily teacher Google Hangout chat history, the Givercraft Teachers google group posts during the data collection period, the daily chat history from the MinecraftEdu game world and individual student Wikispaces pages. These documents were chosen because teachers will use these tools to share and reflect on their use of tools and strategies within the MinecraftEdu game world. Individual student Wikispaces pages were chosen because students will post reflection from their experiences in the Minecrafted game world.
Sample Givercraft Teachers Hangout Chat History
Sample Givercraft Teachers Google Groups Chat History
Screenshot of the MinecraftEdu Chat

Analysis
Internal validity in this study will be accomplished through triangulation, the analysis of multiple sources of qualitative data (Merriam, 2009). Content analysis is used by researchers to “quantify and analyze the presence, meanings and relationships of such words and concepts, then make inferences about the messages within the texts, the writer(s), the audience, and even the culture and time of which these are a part” (Busch, et al., 2015). A content analysis of interviews, observations, and documents will be conducted to examine the effectiveness of teacher tools and strategies used by teachers during the Givercraft experience to support, monitor, and moderate student behavior in MinecraftEdu.

References:

Busch, C., De Mart, P.S., Flynn, T., Kellum, R., Le S., Meyers, B., Saunders, R.W.,
Palmquist, M. (1994 – 2015). Content Analysis. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University. Retrieved from http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/page.cfm?pageid=1305&guideid=61
Mackenzie, N. & Knipe, S. (2006). Research dilemmas: Paradigms, methods and
methodology. Issues in Educational Research, 16. Retrieved from http://www.iier.org.au/iier16/mackenzie.html

Merriam-Webster.com. (2015). “case study”. Retrieved from
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/case%20study

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