This week’s readings reminded me a lot of the great media debate that we covered in ID&T 617. In that debate, many participated, but the big players were Clark and Kozma—Clark was actually cited in one of our readings from this week. The argument was that research methodology cannot demonstrate a causal relationship between the effect of technology on learning since it cannot hold all things equal in the classroom. The opposition made the point that the question should be shifted to look at how technology impacts learning, not if, so that the research can be more nuanced and insightful into actual practices. I tend to lean toward the latter—despite no empirical research that can prove technology improves learning, technology is not leaving the classroom anytime soon. It is important to ensure the impact of how we as educators are using technology is thoroughly studied so that we can understand best practices and how to use these tools most effectively.
This is why I found Junco, Heibergert, and Loken’s (2011) article to be most interesting and relevant to me. It not only took an element of learning, i.e., engagement, and examined it in light of how using a tool like Twitter could facilitate engagement—what Kozma argued for—but also presented the seven principles for best practice of engagement from Chickering and Gamson (1987). The recommended seven principles are listed as:
1. Student and faculty contact,
2. Cooperation among students,
3. Active learning,
4. Prompt feedback,
5. Time on task,
6. Expressed high expectations,
7. And a respect for diversity.
I thought these principles were very useful and something I would want to apply to my own instructional design. It is almost like a checklist to ensure the activities and tools used are purposeful for actively encouraging students. Additionally, in regard to the study described in the article, I can definitely see myself using some of the strategies used by the authors, though using Twitter in a community college environment might not go over well with all my students so I might explore other technology options.
One exciting thing about reading the Week 14 articles was that I feel like I am able to better understand some of the methodologies used and some of the terminology used to describe the results. In conjunction with my qualitative statistics course I am also enrolled in this semester, I feel like this class is preparing me well to understand the different types of qualitative research structures, as well as interpreting and critiquing the results. The literature review has given me a lot of opportunities to practice reading research articles strategically so I can immediately locate methodological limitations, research constructs, and theoretical frameworks.
Now that I have my first draft of the literature review complete, I feel like I have a good handle on my topic--I would hope so having spent so much time working on it! I am really looking forward to reading everyone else’s drafts as well as listening to the presentations and seeing the progress people have made. I can not only gain insight into my classmates' research interests, but also get some ideas for structuring and writing my own literature review.