A Short Description of my Action Research Project

The two core foci of my action research project are to improve technology integration at my middle school and improve my own capabilities as an educational technology integration specialist.  The problem I am hoping to address is underwhelming educational technology integration into the classroom and the curriculum.  Currently, a handful of technology tools are used on a daily basis by teachers and students at my school, but these tools are used predominantly for administrative or organizational purposes.  I would like to see technology integrated further into the curriculum where it may be deemed as a tool that can help teach in new and improved manners.

My project will focus on marrying technologies with specific elements of a teacher’s or class’ curriculum.  The general course of action is to spend significant time discussing a class session, project, topic or term curriculum with the teacher and offer suggestions on which technologies may enhance their teaching, and in which ways that enhancement may occur.  Ideas are only acted upon if the teacher and I can identify new learning opportunities which would not be available without the use of specific technologies.

Tight collaboration with the teacher and strong connections between technology and curriculum/subject matter are the driving forces of my action research project.  Past attempts at technology integration via Professional Development have been determined as far too general, and I believe that they have mostly failed; in the process, technology Professional Development (PD) has earned a poor reputation.  Unsuccessful technology PD typically does not address specific curricular goals, and can fail because a technology tool is presented without consideration to how it will be used in actuality in the classroom.  My experiences as both a presenter and recipient of professional development, coupled with certain academic literature, have led me to believe that most PD provided is not optimal.  I intend on focusing professional development offerings on very small groups of teachers (in the 1-3 range), and training only on technologies deemed immediately useful and applicable in supporting their teaching.  PD will be used as a supplement to the closer one-on-one work I will undertake with teachers.  My hope is that formal PD will be minimized, and knowledge transfer will occur as a result of collaboration.

As I work with teachers on specialized projects, I hope to improve my knowledge of educational technology integration strategies, and achieve a better understanding of the correlation between technology trends and educational challenges.

For those interested in jumping straight to the video of my conference presentation of my Action Research project, please have a look:

JLowsky AR Presentation

AR Question

My overall action research question is: How can I leverage my continual self-improvement in educational technology integration to support teachers with technology-in-the-curriculum integration goals?  What methods can I develop to maximize educational technology integration?

I created a Logic Model which functioned as a cognitive tool to encourage thinking about my action research question.

My literature review provides a detailed, research-based context for my Action Research