The purpose of my Action Research Project is to prepare teachers for blended learning models.
As more schools across the country adopt blended learning models, the need for teachers who can successfully operate within these models increases. Unfortunately, many teachers, especially those new to the profession, are unfamiliar with the learning models and the technology that is integrated into the curriculum and school logistics. Without supports in place to assist with the technological and pedagogical needs, many teachers revert back to traditional methods that do not always reflect the school's blended learning practices.
Problem 1: New teachers do not understand the associated learning technologies
Problem 2: New teachers do not understand blended learning models
Problem 3: New teachers are struggling with traditional notions like classroom management
Problem 4: Supports are not in place for teachers to experience shared learning nor do they have an outlet for discussion
How will the implementation of a digital curriculum designed with the learning model and relevant learning technologies in mind, impact the development of the staff within the professional development model?
The resources and theories that have helped me the most are Constructivist (Bruner), Constructivism and Instructional Design (Jonasen), Adult Learning (Rogers, Cross, Knowles), Situated Learning (Lave/Wenger), Communities of Practice (Wenger), Blended Learning/PD (iNACOL, Clayton Christensen Institute, Bill and Melinda Gates, Department of Education), and personal data collection (VOISE).
COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE:
My community of practice is amongst teachers and administrative staff in an existing blended learning school and in one that will be created in the near future. The community we serve is an at-risk, low-income neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side (the proposed school is located in a district with similar demographics and socio-economic status in Memphis, Tennessee).
Action Cycle 1 Focus:
The first step of Action Cycle 1 was the collection of data based on the input from the leadership team and new teachers. Once that data was collected it was reviewed, compared to the existing curriculum samples, and ultimately had an influence on the direction of the digital curriculum. Cycle 1 also saw the creation of the “Shared Mentoring Group.”
Action Cycle 2 Focus:
The first step of Action Cycle 2 was to improve on the digital curriculum and professional development focus based on the feedback from the Shared Mentoring group. Once the new teachers completed the trial period of the digital curriculum they used that – in collaboration with a tech-focused piece of professional development at the school called “Tech Talk” – to take on a more active role in the application of learning technologies.
Action Cycle 3 Focus:
Action Cycle 3 used the following questions to help analyze the impact of Action Research and craft a formalized plan moving forward: How did the Shared Mentoring Group evolve throughout the process? How have their discussions and work with the digital curriculum shaped their practices within the classroom? If new teachers take a more active role in leadership will that make them more engaged in their own practices? Has a system been established with enough documentation to create a formal plan for new teachers in the coming years?
The YouTube video is a sample of the digital text being implemented in the Action Research Project
"The Constructivist idea forms the foundation of the curriculum creation while situated and adult theories of learning create a background for professional development" @Mr_Staley