Sometimes you just gotta believe.
I have decided my action research question will focus on the circumstances and beliefs that lead to student engagement in learning. I really want to use blogging or digital storytelling as the lens through which to explore engagement. I also want to build my own skills in integrating technology so I can help my colleagues do the same.
At this point we are struggling for lab time. We have 500 + students with one 30 person lab. My students may not get enough time for these tech-intensive tasks. We may get a new lab sometime in the spring.
The fall-back position:
I could go to plan B (which was my plan A): investigate the effectiveness of action (drama) strategies such as hot-seating, role plays, and mantle of the expert in promoting student engagement in the content areas. I have been knocked out by Jeffrey Wilhelm’s excellent book Action Strategies for Deepening Comprehension. I know his techniques grab and engage kids.
I really get excited by using technology to create, communicate, and collaborate. I just don’t want irregular or limited access to the lab to frustrate my students or me to the point of giving up on technology.
I started blogging with my students anyway. I was able to do a lot of the teaching part in class (yeah, laptop + data projector!), so the students could really use lab time for writing.
I got a call on Friday: we are going to have a 30-laptop cart in three weeks! I am not sure what kind yet (Dells? Asus EEE?) but they are wireless and have long battery life. I know there will be a steep learing curve, but I am game. It will double our access opportunities, which means I have a green light for the action research.