My game plan and rationale for data analysis

My research topic:

  • The purpose of this research study, will be to examine constructivist and social learning game design and mechanics used by teachers in the Givercraft experience.

My research questions:

  • What teacher tools and strategies support students’ meaningful knowledge construction in MinecraftEdu?
  • How can teachers use tools and strategies within MinecraftEdu to monitor and moderate student behavior and interactions?

By the end of next week, I plan to complete all my observations and have transcripts of the MinecraftEdu in-game chat history, the Google Groups topic thread transcript, the Google Hangout chat history, and chat history from the Givercraft Help Desk.  I have started looking at student wiki pages to see if they have posted any work from the previous two weeks and so far only three (3) classes of students from a single teacher have updated their pages; I will spend some time this weekend looking over the pages but I will wait until the end of next week to compile all the student pages.  Right now the pages are mostly introductions and initial postings from the first Scenario last week.  Teacher interviews should also be completed by next week and that will also be added to my data pile.

Initially I was categorizing themes in the data with a table, but much of my data is connected to more than one theme.  I liked the sample concept map idea and I am planning on mapping out the themes in a concept map software such as MindMup, Bubbl, or MindMeister.  I have used each software briefly but I am going to look at them more closely this weekend and choose one to compile my data themes.  There are three categories that I am using to filter the data and look for evidence:

  1. Teacher as a game participant or character
  2. Teacher’s process or strategy for managing students (in the game)
  3. Teacher’s use of MinecraftEdu tools (in the game)

I chose content analysis because most if not all my data is qualitative and I will need to look for themes that show up across the different data documents.  My observation are one perspective, the teacher interviews and game chats will provide a different perspective and also corroborate my observations, as well as the student perspective demonstrated in their reflections and work products.  The students’ reflections and work products are an important piece of my data pile because they will give me insight into whether the teacher tools and strategies (regardless of what they were) supported the students’ meaningful knowledge construction in the game.  From my initial review of the data up to this point, I am confident I will have many themes that become evident during content analysis, and I will use the concept mapping software to show how the data falls within, between or across themes.

I am anticipating one difficulty with the timeline for data collection; there is no assurance that students will be allowed or expected to post their reflections on their Wikispaces pages to close out the experience by the end of my data collection period.  March 20th will mark the end of their time in the game and usually teachers will use as much of that last week as possible in the game.  Most likely the students will not complete their Wikispaces page reflections and posting of screenshots until the following week.  I will see what I have by the end of next week and then figure out if I should wait an additional week for the students’ pages to be completed.

3 thoughts on “My game plan and rationale for data analysis

  1. I think it is great that you already have some ideas for themes that most likely will arise from your data collection. I am sure that having a general ideas of some themes helps to give you confidence with the next steps forward in this process.

    I also think that you are doing a great job of realizing that getting student data may take more time than initially planned. I find that I am constantly having to readjust my timelines when working with students. Over time, I hope I will get better at guessing how much time students need to complete a task. I think you should communicate with the teachers a solid deadline for students to have their final posts up by. (Make sure they have a few days to hunt down absent students too.) Hopefully, this will get everyone to complete their tasks in a reasonable amount of time.

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  2. I am so overwhelmed at the amount of data that you have to go through. You seem so calm about it though and like you have a good handle on it.
    I am hoping for you that the timeline for the teachers works for you as well. Maybe you can get the teachers to work with you on your timeline so you can have some of the reflections done, and if not, maybe Dr Jones can work with you by a few days on your deadline. 🙂

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    1. I think that using a concept map would be a wonderful idea to organize your data, but I think that because you have so much data, you may want to have a couple different graphic organizers to help you sort through it. For your particular project, I would suggest that you create a graph for your numbers and student reports. You may include some narrative for how your teachers responded to the project, and their data from interacting with the program could be plotted on a similar graph. Just some ideas to get you started, and thinking of ways to plot it all out.

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