Action research in learning and teaching with technology

Action research in learning and teaching with technology

Pedagogical Action Research in teaching and learning with technology (TLwT) Emeritus Professor Lin Norton [email protected] http://www.linnorton.co.uk/ 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT 1 Acknowledgments and sources Arnold, L. & Norton, L. (2018) HEA Action Research Practice Guide Arnold, L. & Norton, L. (2018) HEA Action Research:

Sector Case Studies Norton, L.S. (forthcoming) Action Research in Teaching & Learning. A practical guide to conducting pedagogical research in universities. 2nd ed. Abingdon: Routledge 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT 2 Outline 1. The context- technology-enhanced learning 2. Pedagogical action research: What is it? Relationship to UKPSF How to do it: characteristics and process

Strengths and weaknesses 2. Reflection and its relationship to pedagogical action research 3.7 February Disseminating pedagogical action research findings 2018 University of Keele TLwT 3 Technology enhanced learning: what are the pedagogical challenges? 1. Flexible students: how well can students prepare for the nature of flexible e- learning, especially when/if the focus of control moves from staff to student? 2. Flexible staff: to what extent can staff be aided in managing

the wide array of technologies and resources, and more importantly to develop approaches to teaching to utilise these effectively? (Gordon 2014, p.9.) 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT 4 Sharing our experience of action research 1. What do you know about action research? 2. What you want to know? Write down a sentence or two on a post-it note

Share with person near to you Feedback. 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT 5 What is action research? Action research is not a single research approach but a broad umbrella term for wide range of research paradigms and processes, each with their own philosophies and rationales. Many definitions, sometimes contested camps 7 February 2018

University of Keele TLwT 6 One view of action research Action research can be conceptualised as a paradigm, a methodology and a practice-changing practice that requires a commitment to non-negotiable, quality of lifeenhancing values Zuber-Skerritt (2013) 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT 7

Practice related definition Action research is a form of action inquiry that employs recognised research techniques to inform the action taken to improve practice (Tripp, 2005) 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT 8 What is pedagogical action research? the fundamental purpose of pedagogical action research is to systematically investigate ones own teaching/learning facilitation practice with the dual aim of modifying practice and contributing to

theoretical knowledge (Norton, 2009) . Pedagogical action research uses a reflective lens to look at some L&T problem and then determines a methodical set of steps to research that problem and to take action. 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT 9 Relationship to UKPSF 1. Areas of activity- particularly: A5: Engage in continuing professional development in

subjects/disciplines and their pedagogy, incorporating research, scholarship and the evaluation of professional practices 2. Core knowledge- particularly: K4: The use and value of appropriate learning technologies K5: Methods for evaluating the effectiveness of teaching 3. Professional values-particularly: V3: Use evidence-informed approaches and the outcomes from research, scholarship and continuing professional development

V4: Acknowledge the wider context in which higher education operates recognising the implications for professional practice 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT 10 The KEY question in action research How do I improve my practice? (see work of Whitehead and McNiff) In pedagogical action research this becomes: How do I improve my LEARNING AND TEACHING practice?

7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT 11 Whats the difference between pedagogical research & pedagogical action research? Pedagogical research Pedagogical ACTION research 1. Researcher directed and positivist/interpretivist 2. One study (aim, method, findings, dissemination)

3. Objective stance 4. Intention to answer research question 7 February 2018 1. Collaborative (with staff or students) 2. Series of studies (messy, unpredictable) 3. Reflective/praxis 4. Aim is to modify your practice and improve it University of Keele TLwT 12

Looking at the effects of using video clips in a lecture: an example Pedagogical research Pedagogical Action research Purpose- evaluating Purpose- to improve the effectiveness of the effectiveness of the intervention intervention Study 1: Aim to explore students assumptions about Aim to find out if video learning and video clips clips helps students Method (interview/ focus understand

groups) Method- either compare Reflect on findings and your own two groups, or do some assumptions, maybe change sort of before and after method of enquiry ? measure (questionnaire, Study 2: Aim to explore the academic performance) notion of students as partners Report on findings University of Keele TLwT 13 Characteristics of action research

Practical-involves making a change to our practice Collaborative encourages us to engage with others (students/colleagues) in the process Reflexive-requires us to constantly review our own knowledge, values and professional activities Contextual acknowledges influences of our subject, department, institution and wider context ie national

historical and societal Theoretical-informed by theory and generates new insights 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT 14 Action research: a stepwise approach using the ITDEMD acronym 1. 2. 3. 4.

5. 6. Identify a learning, teaching or assessment issue that is troublesome or that you are interested in. Think of ways to investigate it. Experiment? Intervention? Questionnaire? Interview? Other? Do it. Carry out your research Evaluate it. How would you interpret your results Modify your practice. Reflect on how might you use your results to improve your professional practice Disseminate your findings/outcomes. Open yourself up to peer scrutiny; to influence and collaborate with others 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT

15 Some fictionalised case studies 1. In small groups, read your fictional case study 2. What do you see as the main issues? 3. What do you think of the action that was taken? 4. How might it be improved ? 5. Report back. What action research means Reflexivity- thinking about how we perceive and understand issues.. rather than thinking just about the issue itself Interpretation of data that help us to understand more about our professional practice, not to just ascertain the effectiveness of an intervention

7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT 17 What action research does not mean Not reliability (i.e. repeating the study will produce the same results) but quality, rigour & trustworthiness Not generalisation(i.e. drawing conclusions from a sample to the whole population) . but relatability 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT

18 Not just a procedure One criticism of AR is that it looks as if it is simply a process or a procedure Following a procedure on its own is not action research Must be some commitment to change Flipping the classroom In class quiz technology Paired emails 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT 19

Improving validity of your pedagogical action research study 1. Make explicit what counts as data in your work. 2. Provide clear and detailed descriptions of how your narratives/accounts have been constructed from the data. 3. Increase validity by combining multiple perspectives; represent the data in other ways and be prepared to critique your own views/interpretation. 4. Although you cant show causality, you can make it stronger by giving an explanation of why you think certain actions led to the results (you need here to relate to a theory to help explain why it works). 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT

20 Justifying your chosen approach 1. AR is a way of doing research and acting to change a situation at the same time (the interaction of practice with theory). 2. Choosing your method should be based and justified to suit your own specific context. 3. Should make the subjective transparent. 4. Should include reflexive accounts of your own enquiry and research process. 5. AR differs from reflective practice by going beyond to collecting and interpreting data and disseminating your findings. 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT

21 What is a robust action research study? Publishable in good quality peer reviewed journals (and/or reputable conferences) Effective in influencing colleagues to change their L&T practice Challenges status quo and influences or at least informs policy making Helps us to understand and modify our L&T practice Contributes to theory and knowledge in the domain of the scholarship of learning and teaching (SOTL) 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT 22

Getting started 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT 23 Turning a technology L&T issue into a researchable question Good pedagogical action research questions need to: 1. be derived from the basic underlying question : How do I improve my practice? (i.e. turns a practical pedagogical problem into a research problem) 2. be doable in terms of size and scale (avoid a question that is too broad or too narrow; think about cost, time-scale)

3. have due consideration for ethical issues 4. be answerable from the type of information you can readily collect and analyse (do you have the necessary skills?) 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT 24 Some potential pedagogical research questions related to STUDENT issues How can students be helped to deal with the potential information overload of personalised/flexible learning? How can students be supported in understanding the task? If collaborative learning is encouraged, how do we guard against plagiarism? Using social networks, poses a risk of bullying, harassment

of Internet). 7 February(anonymity 2018 University of Keele TLwT 25 Some potential pedagogical research questions related to STAFF issues How can colleagues be helped to become competent /confident with a wide range of technologies? How can staff be encouraged to use technology effectively to develop new approaches to learning and teaching? How can we deal with the loss of control of the learning and teaching environment? What are the quality issues of teaching/learning with technology(QAA, external examiner system)?

7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT 26 How practical is your research question? Is it doable in terms of size and scale? Is my focus too broad or too narrow? Have I the appropriate research skills? Have I considered ethical issues? Is it answerable from the type of information I can readily collect and analyse? 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT

27 What might count as data? Some examples of what often already exists: Student work. Student academic performance measures. Video recordings of teaching. Tutor feedback (written, oral). Forum discussion postings. Video conferences. Reflective journals. Wikis. Blogs. 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT

28 What ideas do you have for researching a technology related issue? 1. Jot down ONE idea on post it 2. Discuss with person next to you 3. Take it in turns to give each other feedback 4. Report back 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT 29 Reflection and action research

7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT 30 The place of reflection In action research, a reflective stance is ESSENTIAL. Reflection is not always comfortable: reflective thinking is always more or less troublesomeit involves willingness to endure a condition of mental unrest (Dewey, 1910) Action research is not complete without asking what has changed in me?

Part of this may involve exploring our own professional values. 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT 31 The role of reflective practice in developing teaching and learning Reflective practice is our own personal thinking about teaching and learning, our values and beliefs, rather than simply evaluating the teaching itself. Involves thinking about our teaching from our own experience what we learn about pedagogical content knowledge (courses and reading)

our own pedagogical philosophy student evaluations peer observations 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT 32 Reflective practice What has changed? What will I do now? Reflection/reflective learning, or reflective

writing in the academic context, is likely to involve a conscious and stated purpose for the reflection, with an outcome specified in terms of learning, action or clarification. Moon (2004) (my emphasis). Some questions to think about when reflecting on your action research study 1. What has happened to you and your practice as a result of your action research study? 2. What do you know now that you didnt know before? 3. What have you learned from reviewing the literature in your chosen area?

4. How will you take account of what you have learned? 5. How will it impact on your future practice, in terms of your students professional role current educational context? 6. What more do you still need to find out? Insights from your own practice 1. Think back over your teaching experience 2. Can you recall any Aha moments? 3. How has this changed you as a teacher? 4. Share with person next to you 5. Report back 7 February 2018

University of Keele TLwT 35 Dissemination 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT 36 Why dissemination is important AR has the specific aim of improving practice. AR also may have a more political aim of changing or challenging the sacred cows of education (learning styles,

assessment for learning, authentic assessment, student-centred teaching). Keep pressing for change- uncomfortable truths Important to make your research work for you in as many ways as possible. Unless your AR study is opened up to peer scrutiny and review, it is more curriculum development or teacher reflective thinking than research. 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT 37 How might you disseminate your action research?

7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT 38 Disseminating/reporting beyond Keele Suggested learning and teaching conferences Higher Education Academy (HEA) https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/ Collaborative Action Research Network (CARN) https://www.carn.org.uk/? from=carnnew/ European Association for Practitioner Research on Improving Learning (EAPRIL) https://www.eapril.org/: Supports Clouds for networking e.g ICT, media and learning https:// www.eapril.org/node/19 Suggested learning and teaching journals

Educational Action Research http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/reac20 Innovations in Education and Teaching International http:// www.tandfonline.com/toc/riie20/current 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT 39 and finally 1.What is the single most important thing you have learned about action research today? 2.What is the single most important question about action research in your mind that has not been answered? This activity is based on one of the classroom assessment techniques called the minute paper taken from Angelo, Thomas A. and Cross, K. Patricia, (1993).

Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for college teachers. 2nd edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, pp. 148-153. 7 February 2018 University of Keele TLwT 40

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