Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day 7 - Thoughts on the readings

Some thoughts on this week's readings in an attempt to interalize them but writing about them...I am finding that Creswell (2009) is a valuable resource as we start to conceptualize our research project. As I was reading his explanations of the worldviews, strategies and specific methods I immediately began trying to categorize or label myself. (Not sure if this is an inherently good or bad thing yet!) Of the world views presented, the pragmatic was the most intuitively appealing to me. Often this prgarmatic view leads researchers into mixed methods studies, which again is something that intuitively appeals to me. I guess I appreciate trying to have the best of both worlds! Why else would I want to pursue blended learning as a dissertation topic?

While it is too early to state any research methods specifically, I would think transformative mixed methods might be appropriate since I am considering using the Garrison, Anderson and Archer(2001) Community of Inquiry model as a framework for my study. Related to this, the chapter on mixed methods research planning brought up useful concepts to consider in planning including the timing, weighting, mixing and the fit of theory into the planned research process.

Aside from helping me conceptualize what may be my approach to the dissertation, I found Creswell offered many practical tips to new researchers including possible outlines or models to follow for different stages of the project as well as advice, such as to write daily if possible.

Januszewski and Molenda (2008) has been resonating with me as well but on a more conceptual level. We have already discussed our respective definitions of Educational Technology but after reading Chapter 7 I was forced to re-think one of my basic assumptions. Januszewski and Molenda assert that human "made processes that systematically apply scientific knowledge can be viewed as technological processes." (p.197) I have always conceptualized technological as something external to the human; a physical tool that was conceptualized by the mind but became a tangible product, not a set of processes.

Johnston (1987) is quoted in Januszewski and Molenda as saying "We cannot explore the potential of a medium indpendent of the programming being carried out on it." These are wise words as we explore different media trends this coming week in the form of m-learning, grassroots video and geo-everything. The ASSURE model presented on p. 209 may prove useful to us in these wiki projects and beyond it determining when and how to use new and existing media.

Finally, something that I have been thinking and talking about a fair bit this week are the notions of management versus leadership and how, really, an organization or unit needs both. The authors of Chapter 6 do a good job of discussing management in the context of educational technology and highlight the need for change management, quality, strategic planning and vision in the imlementation of educational technology projects and initiatives. Perhaps it is because of my managment studies background and the fact that I am currently managing technology projects that I found this chapter quite valuable.

So that is it for today! Looking forward to the start of week 2 tomorrow.

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