Thursday, November 29, 2012

Final research journal entry

I would like to make this a bit longer...but the stomach flu running rampant in my household is going to make it a bit difficult.

I've found this journal both useful and challenging, at various times during the semester. As I got deeper into the research for my lit review and final project, there were more things swirling through my head and this became a great space for reflection. I also appreciated how my reading this semester dovetailed between my two classes--I am also taking the learning commons class with Loertscher. Although I didn't write as much about the overlap, I did think about it a fair amount.

I think that I will keep a research journal again in the future if I have a big project such as the literature review and final proposal again.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Your search engine is your best friend

This article is a great window into the autocomplete/autosuggest features of some search engines. It specifically talks about Google and Bing. I will admit that I pretty much just use Google, so I don't know if there are other search engines that also do this. One line made me laugh and I think it is so true:

“Your search engine is your best friend, and you talk to it about everything, even things you might not talk about to your real best friends,” said Danny Sullivan, editor in chief of Search Engine Land, a Web site that covers the search industry. “It’s a way that search engines reflect society. "

I thought this was just brilliant! I have certainly "Googled" things that I wouldn't talk with other people about--or at least, not before Googling the topic and seeing what I could figure out!!

I also think that it's important to think about this type of feature from the perspective of kids who are trying to type one thing in, and another thing comes up. Sometimes autocomplete is helpful because they don't know how to spell a word, but the one they want pops up when they start entering it. But oftentimes it can really sidetrack you or make you think that you are supposed to use their question, when really it's just a suggestion. I believe you can also turn it off, which might be a good skill to teach students.

Hardy, Q. and Richtel, M. (2012, Nov. 21). Don't ask? Internet still tells. Retrieved from

Research Journal -- Musings on action research

This website has a variety of interesting resources, including a bunch of examples of action research. I plan to read through some of them as I design my research proposal.

My research question is as follows: Do one-to-one laptop programs help students to meet the information literacy requirements of the Common Core State Standards?

I am very excited about this  question because I'm excited about the new Common Core State Standards and the role that I can play as a librarian. I am starting to do my own research--so far, through my personal learning network--about the Common Cores, as they are called. I reached out through Facebook and got responses from three different people for three very different types of information. My goal is to use the Common Cores to focus my information literacy ideas and instruction at my school. The other thrilling piece is that in the Nov. 6 election, a parcel tax for my school district was renewed and my job is funded through 2019 if I choose to stay that long. I certainly hope that I keep loving my job as much as I love it now.

I don't see much potential for a 1:1 laptop program at my school, and that's okay. We will move to a new site in a few years with lots of awesome technology. In the meantime, I intend to figure out what I want to do with tablets, and then procure about 10 of them to use in the library for teaching information literacy. Our PTSA is also buying updated, faster computers for the library. Exciting times!! But I still want to envision this project as a 1:1 program, to give students access to the tools they need anytime they need them.

When thinking through my research proposal, I am trying to decide on qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods. I think that maybe qualitative data in the form of interviews of teachers, students, and parents, plus quantitative in the form of analyzing student work before and after, to triangulate the data. Triangulation was something I learned about this semester that I really didn't know about before this. Turner (2011) wrote about an action research project in an after-school program where students conducated community interviews and then developed raps and music videos that critiqued social issues in their community. The students self-reported changes in their information literacy skills and their understanding of community issues. Turner also spoke with students' teachers, and watched the videos, to triangulate the data. I'd like to learn some more about triangulation to see how I could integrate that into a mixed-methods approach.

I am also considering the research methods employed by Spector-Levy and Granot-Gilat (2012) to assess information literacy skills. They designed a set of tasks that required students to select reliable information, write argumentatively using that information, process and represent information, and present new knowledge.They assessed 7th and 9th graders, some of whom had participated in 1:1 laptop programs and some of whom hadn't. They did find that the students who had participated in 1:1 laptop programs completed the set of tasks more successfully and at a higher rate than the students who didn't participate in the laptop programs. I like this idea of a standardized task for all students to complete. Objectively assessing student work for information literacy would be impossible. Of course, there is subjectivity in all research, but looking at student projects that were self-directed seems that it would not be a sufficient measurement for a research project. I do think it could be a component, but a standardized task like that used by Spector-Levy and Granot-Gilat (2012) seems like it could also be useful. I think this would be considered a quantitative measure.

Spector-Levy, O. & Granot-Gilat, Y. (2012). The impact of learning with laptops in 1:1 classes on the development of learning skills and information literacy among middle school students. Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning and Learning Objects, 8, 83-96.

Turner, K.C.N. 2011. "Rap universal": Using multimodal media production to develop ICT literacies. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 58(8), 613-623. doi: 10.1598/JAAL.54.5.6.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

safety on the Internet--from 4th graders!

This is a great blog post from Shannon Miller, the librarian at Van Meter school. Her fourth graders created Animoto "videos" about Internet safety, addressing password issues, talking to strangers, the age requirement for Facebook, and being careful of what you say online. It's great to see that young kids are learning these things and then sharing them in interesting and creative ways. This is a great inspiration and certainly a fun use for Animoto. I am curious about what led up to this in terms of teaching the information, what it means, and how to use Animoto.

Miller, S. (2012, Nov. 20). No title. Retrieved from

local school voices

I just read a blog post here about the achievement gap in the Berkeley Unified School District, which is where I live and where my daughter will go to school when she is old enough. It details the point spread between the highest API group (White, at 922) and the lowest API group (African-American, at 658). These kids are all going to high school together! There is a very wide range of achievement within the school district, and the woman who started the blog has decided to open up a dialogue. I'm very excited about this blog and I'm trying to share it via my social media outlets.

Mulholland-Beahrs, J. (2012, Nov. 14). "Taking a look at the achievement gap in Berkeley public schools." Retrieved from

Monday, November 19, 2012

Research Journal--Reflecting on the Literature Review Process

Now that I finished the literature review a few days ago and it's turned in, I want to take some time to reflect on the process. I hope that this reflection will serve me in future classes. I think there are some lessons to be learned on the research process, the writing process, and the knowledge building.

The first place that I struggled was with how to write a literature review about something that hadn't been specifically researched. My research question links three topics: Do one-to-one laptop programs help students to meet the information literacy requirements of the Common Core State Standards?

I started by looking for information about one-to-one laptop programs. There are many, many research articles on these programs, where each student in a class or school gets their own laptop (often leased from the school for a small fee) to use for the entire school year. I had a hard time knowing which articles to pick, and I didn't have time to read 40 and choose 6. I think I read about 10 and chose from that. I ended up with articles that looked at a range of different possible outcomes from one-to-one laptop programs. I heavily mined the references lists of various articles to build this collection.

I had originally hoped to have multiple studies that looked at one-to-one programs and information literacy, but I didn't find these articles in my initial search. (When I realized that only two studies had been done, I felt a little bit better about the fact that I hadn't found anything the first few times around.) From there I began looking at information literacy, teens, and computing. I had pretty good success in finding these--again, there were a lot to choose from so I selected things that touched on different topics.

The last main topic is the Common Core State Standards, which will be guiding education in the US beginning in the next few years. Rather than each state having their own standards, states are beginning to adopt these standards that will be shared around the country. I didn't look for research about these standards, because really all I wanted was the information on what type of information literacy the standards would require.

After I had done all of this, I had a little panic that I wasn't doing the literature review "correctly." I worried about this because I was bringing three topics together that weren't necessarily linked in the literature yet. But then I realized that new and innovative research has to come from somewhere, and the thing that made the most sense was just to gather information on the two main topics and synthesize the information. Boote and Beile (2005) cite Lather (1999), saying "a synthetic review should serve a critical role in gatekeeping, policing, and leading to new productive work, rather than merely mirroring research in a field" (p. 6). This was my understanding of what a literature review is, and reading this definitely gave me a sense of relief. There isn't just one set of research that has already looked at the same topic as my research proposal--the topics touch on so many different areas. And I would think that being able to simply run through all of the similar research that had been done would mean that the proposed research wouldn't be original.

Continuing on in Boote and Beile (2005), they cite Hart (1999) in saying that a literature review for a dissertation should "synthesize prior research to gain a new perspective on it" (p. 6), but also analyze the research methods and look at what else needs to be done in the field. This is a huge task! The practical side of me knows that I am not a Ph.D. candidate nor am I even writing a masters thesis, so I shouldn't have expected to do anything this grand. I couldn't have--I didn't have the time! But the perfectionist inside me thinks "aha! I should have done all of that. I knew my review was lacking." Of course it is, as I could have refined and edited it more, found more perfect articles, read and analyzed them more.

Overall, Boote and Beile's (2005) article was helpful to read because they write about how the literature review is a type of writing that is not well-understood, and it's not valued by many education researchers. I actually felt that the example literature review and the lecture given by Professor de Groot were really helpful. I took notes on the lecture and used the step-by-step guidelines to research and prepare to write my review. I also used the literature reviews at the beginning of each research article as an indication of how to write a literature review. I did feel prepared to complete this assignment, but I also found it very challenging and had a lot of moments of self-doubt.

Boote, D. & Beile, P. (2005). Scholars before researchers: On the centrality of the dissertation literature review in research preparation. Educational Researcher, 34(6), 3-15. doi: 10.3102/0013189X03400603

Friday, November 2, 2012

Research Journal--Digging into the database

I'm doing some searching and I want to keep track of where I'm searching, with what search terms, and how useful the results are.
Nov. 2 in Academic Search Premier, I used
1:1 AND students AND information literacy
and searched in the abstract field.
No results. :-(

"students" and "information literacy" both popped up in the search terms list. Now I have to figure out what to say to limit it to K-12 and 1:1 devices in the classroom.

Next search, same procedure:
public schools AND devices AND instruction
No fields specified
216 results
Narrowed by date (2000-2012) and asked for full text
Knocked it down to 146 results
Narrowed to academic journals because I feel like it's a lot easier to find non-academic resources so I want to make sure I'm finding enough academic resources first.
This knocked it down to 50 articles. I can quickly browse the titles of 50 articles and open any that seem relevant.
Out of these 50 articles, I chose two research studies and one commentary from Education Week.
Peng, H. & Chou, C. (2007). Mobile computing as a cognitive tool for middle schools: Connecting curriculum and technology. International Journal of Instructional Media, 34(3), 301-310

Schneider, J. (2011, October 5). Tech for all? Understanding our mania for education technology. Education Week, 24.

Palak, D., Walls, R., & Wells, J. (2006). Integration of instructional technology: A device to deliver instruction or a tool to foster learning. Journal of Instructional Media, 33(4), 355-365.

Next search, same procedure:
information literacy AND devices AND instruction
32 results
Out of these articles, I got a few results:

Geck, C. (2006). The generation Z connection: Teaching information literacy to the newest net generation. Teacher Librarian, 33(3), 19-23.

Yelland, N. (2006). Changing worlds and new curricula in the knowledge area. Educational Media International, 43(2), 121-131.

Next, to Google Scholar.


Finding the research for this project was really challenging. It turned out that there were only two studies that had been done on the actual topic of how one-to-one laptop programs have impacted information literacy. I found lots of information about one-to-one laptop programs in the course of my research in the King Library databases, but I didn't come across those two studies. I was focused on including "one to one" or "1:1" in my search terms and maybe I didn't find the articles about those two studies because two of the articles (out of 3) had the words "laptop" and "literacy" in them but not 1:1. One of the articles was in a journal that was not in the King Library databases. This was published in 2012 in a journal called International Journal of E Learning and Learning Objects. It seems like it's mostly about distance learning. I found that article by using Google scholar.

The other two articles were both about the same study, which seemed a little odd. They were very similar and had almost identical beginnings, but then highlighted different things in the same study. One was published in 2007, the other in 2008. In fact, I didn't even realize the 2008 article existed until I got to the 2012 article and saw multiple articles cited by the same guy. I was actually surprised that Warschauer published two similar articles about the same study in two different journals--one is called Pedagogies: An International Journal and the other is The Teachers College Record. I supposed maybe they got published this way to reach a wider variety of audiences.

Ultimately, I ended up with 18 sources which was a lot to pull together into a literature review. More on that in my next research journal entry!