A reflection on organizing my chaos and being excited about results!

The data collection process has been, as I expected, chaotic. The observations and interviews were the most straightforward methods and were easy enough to review; the chat log however, took me quite a while, not only to read but to also decide what was relevant. During our twitter session,  I was encouraged to see others using different approaches to make sense of what they had collected.  I felt like my initial ideas from last week about analysis basically flew out the window after I started reading the chat log.  The sheer number of themes and examples was exciting but overwhelming.  I realize that when I am observing in the game, I get used to the chatter that makes up the collaboration and interaction patterns but seeing it in its entirety was impressive.  My peers tweeted about taking several looks at their data or having others review and give input but the sheer amount of information from a single method was overwhelming for me.  I don’t feel comfortable asking others to spend time looking over it all since it was incredibly intensive and time consuming.

After I started my post-it wall of themes, patterns, and examples, I was finally starting to breathe a bit easier.  It took me several days to completely review the chat log but using the post-it system helped me to keep rearranging and grouping themes and examples.  I think now that I have those themes and patterns mapped out, others will be able to look at them and give me feedback on what I have pulled out of my raw data.

Voice and choice seemed to be a theme among several blogs written by my peers.  Giving students choices over what and how they learn and including their voices in decision-making and input on the process seems to have been a meaningful experience for some of my peers.  It was exciting to read results and analysis from the other researchers; students are trying new things, showing engagement and a motivation to learn.  Some students are even participating in surveys and focus groups to help the teacher better understand them!  I am impressed and excited for how a positive experience with classroom research could spark a deeper partnership between teachers and their students!

Stepping back and thinking about my own professional growth, I realized that research can be undertaken alone but having a mentor, guide, or partners in the process is important to me.  We’ve all benefitted from going through this experience together by connecting on twitter, giving feedback about each step in our research process, but also because we are reaching out to others in our own professional peer networks.  As I continue to conduct research to inform my own practice, I know that I work best when I have peers with which to discuss and share my work.  Having others to help ground me, challenge me, and support me provides different perspectives that can inform my own research but also improve my methods and approaches to research as well as hold me accountable for my work.

Any thoughts, feelings, opinions, suggestions?

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