Friday, November 23, 2012

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.

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