A Journey Through Technology

What is classroom research and how can it improve technology integration in my classroom?

on September 4, 2015

As educators, we take part in classroom research every time we change a lesson plan or reteach a topic to our classes. We realize there is something that needs to be changed, and we fix it. This fall marks my 6th year of teaching and I can gladly say that every year I have made an effort to be better than the year before. “Action research is a term which refers to a practical way of looking at your own work to check that it is as you would like it to be.” (McNiff, 2002, p.6) I cannot imagine going into each school year not wanting to change anything about how I teach. I think after just a few years I would burn out and be so bored teaching the same thing, the same way, every year. I want to know that I’m doing everything I can to help my students learn as much as possible, but also make it fun and engaging for them. I am constantly questioning my techniques for delivering different topics, and am always looking for multiple ways to teach the same thing. “Action research can help answer questions you have about the effectiveness of specific instructional strategies, the performance of specific students, and classroom management techniques.” (Kolk)

I am always looking for the next best thing to get my students more engaged in my classroom, and I think integrating more technology is the next step for me. “The skill and interest level in technology, as well as access to handhelds, laptops, and tablet computers, means students can — and want to — use technology.” (Jackson) Students want to use technology in the classroom. We, as teachers, need to figure out how to use technology to get our students engaged and help them learn. The chemistry classroom has many opportunities for technology integration. “Cell phones, liquid-crystal displays and projectors, wireless Internet access, interactive white boards, graphing calculators, laptop computers, and other evolving technologies are among the devices available in the chemistry classroom. These tools greatly enhance student-centered instruction.” (ACS, p. 11)

I think action research provides an excellent opportunity to try new technologies because it is “…a cycle of inquiry and reflection.” (Kolk) If my idea doesn’t work the first time, I can go back, change things around, and try again.

References:

McNiff, J. (2002). Action research for professional development: Concise advice for new action researchers (Third ed.). Poole: September Books.

Kolk, M. (n.d.). Embrace Action Research. Retrieved September 4, 2015.

Jackson, L. (2012, March 5). Integrating Tech in High School. Retrieved September 4, 2015.

American Chemical Society (2012). ACS Guidelines and Recommendations for the Teaching of High School Chemistry (pp. 11-12). Washington, DC: American Chemical Society.

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5 responses to “What is classroom research and how can it improve technology integration in my classroom?

  1. Tristan says:

    I like how you talked about going in each year wanting to do better than the year before. We were told in college to throw out lesson plans every year so that we don’t get trapped in doing something the same way every year we teach it and I think that can only help us be better teachers because we are forced to reinvent the wheel each year. Sure, we can remember the things that worked really good and use them again the next year with the kids, but in my mind if we don’t remember lessons we taught, well maybe there’s a reason for that. I know for me personally, I don’t want to be the teacher digging out the worksheets from 20 years ago for my students to do.

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  2. gkkapatak01 says:

    Last year I taught the 4th grade in another village in my school district. This year I’m teaching K-1 in my hometown. It’s totally different because it feels like i’m starting all over again. I do reflect on who the day has gone, and change things as needed. For instance, homework assignments (am I giving too much, too little).

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  3. tmerculief says:

    Sarah- I think most of us reflect after a lesson. I tend to look at what went well and what didn’t go well. If I see something that went well I would use it again but I am always changing my lessons as well. I might have the same concept but most of the time it changes a bit. If something didn’t go well I would make sure to fix that so it does not happen again. Yes! That is the answer. We need to figure out how to engage our students in technology. I mean they use technology all the time after school but to engage them in school work is a different story. That is where I need to try to find more engaging lessons that deals with technology that engages my students.

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  4. pwjohnsen says:

    Sarah – I completely agree with your idea of change an boredom. I was in business for 12 years before becoming a teacher and I found I would get bored about every three years and would start looking for a new company or new position in the company. This is also my sixth year of teaching and I feel as have each year is completely different than the last. I don’t find myself getting bored any time soon. Change is inevitable, so why not it embrace it. In addition to recording changes to lessons right after a lesson, I also like to write down major changes at the end of the school year so that I can remember them come fall.

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    • clindquist17 says:

      Peter – I had the same problem when I was an administrative assistant. I would get bored and be ready to do something new every few years. I have been teaching for 2 years and I don’t see how I could ever be bored. Every year brings new challenges and triumphs.

      Sarah – I am constantly changing my lessons. I taught kindergarten last year and this year I am teaching first grade. Next year, it is very possible that I will be teaching something completely different. I feel like I have to reflect each day so if and when I teach first grade again, I’ll be able to remember what worked and what I would change.

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