Thursday, September 01, 2005

Research Proposal for EDU 670

Technology capacity (defined as access to computers, whiteboards, LCD projectors, Overhead projectors, etc.) is quite high at Pacoima Skills Center, the adult school where I teach, yet the use of technology for instruction on a regular basis varies greatly from teacher to teacher. For example my classroom is equipped with 17 Internet-connected desktop computers that are always present, 10 dedicated (always in the room) laptop computers on a wireless network that are also Internet-connected, and another 25 laptop computers accessible on a cart that are sometimes not accessible (other classes use them) but usually available because they are stored in the room. Additionally, I have a dedicated LCD projector (instructor doesn't have to "checkout" a projector from the office), overhead projector, cassette recorder, and a TV with a built-in video cassette player hanging from the ceiling. I also know that the instructor who uses the room at night NEVER uses any of the available technology for instruction. (No evidence of student work on computers, no evidence of any assignments ever given for using computers or any of the other technology, etc.) There is evidence that the instructor uses the teacher's computer to prepare tests.

I would like to explore one of two areas that relate to the issue of instructor use of technology for instruction but have not made a final decision as to which one. The population focus for both would be the ESL instructors at Pacoima Skills Center The first question I thought about researching would be to examine whether teachers at Pacoima Skills Center are aware of all the technology available at the school and then survey how many have actually used each type of technology for instruction. I would then have them look at the types of technology that they are currently not using and have them rank those technologies in terms of their interest in obtaining skills in using that technology with their students. The goal of the research would be to find out where training in technology use should be focused in the next year.

The second research project idea is related to the same issue but skips ahead a bit. It assumes that the ESL teachers are fairly aware of the technology that is available , has the teachers rank the technologies that are available in terms of interest in acquiring new skills in incorporating those technologies into instruction, but then would try to ascertain how teachers would like to be trained in using those technologies. There are several approaches to training in technology that are quite common: self-learning (reading a book or article), technology workshops (teachers attend a 2 or 3 hour workshop on a particular technique), technology mentoring (a teacher with experience in using technology "mentors" a colleague on a one-on-one basis), some combination of any of the previous techniques. or a few others not mentioned. The goal of the research would be to find out where training in technology use should be focused and ascertaining the method of instruction that most teachers prefer.

I welcome your comments as to which of the two projects might be the better one to undertake as well as any comments about the two projects themselves.


The Teach said...

There's an article that I'm handing out on Saturday that deals with caveats in survey question design. We'll also talk more about the easiest types of questions to include and analyze. Either topic is a good choice, but it sounds to me like you're creating the questions before you've researched the literature. Don't get ahead of yourself.

Learning4Life said...

The second idea seems to be a better way to go. The last sentence possess several potential study questions. Your direction should be to work with the main question and narrow its scope. Here is one suggestion. Which training method types would be of value for ESL instruction? Of course you will know best what fits your outcomes. If the question helps, feel free to utilize.

terri said...

The first idea seems like a good idea to me. Here is one suggestion you might consider: What percentage of ESL teachers utilize technology in their daily instruction?

The Teach said...

You asked if you get a better grade for agreeing with Paul. Let me think about that for another 4 weeks or so!

molokwu said...

I like your second idea very much, there so much you can do with the last statement Narrow the scope,you have a very good idea don't let it die.