Defining My K-12 Open Educational Practice Research Topic, Problem and Questions

“Jump Across” by Kris is licensed under CC BY 2.0

On March 25, 2014 I participated in an exploratory Google Hangout about Writing and Publishing Openly Online facilitated by  Ian O’Byrne.  Doug Belshaw wrote up a summary of the Google Hangout which included linking the actual recording HERE.

Last year, I was lucky enough to have Doug come out to my school district and start the discussion about  integrating digital literacies within a K-12 school district. I wrote about it HERE.

This week I started to take the plunge into my doctorate research problem and questions. My fearless leader Sarah Eaton suggested that we look at her blog to find more resources to support refining research questions and problems. Here is her post called How to Narrow Down Your Research Topic. I swallowed some of my fear as I start to develop my “open researcher” identity and started to remember how it felt like when I was “just an open learner”.

How does the Google Hangout in 2014 and Sarah’s post connect? Both examples model open researching using a participatory approach which is using the power of networks in order to share and build knowledge together.

I have been too scared to share my knowledge, and as I spent this week thinking about my topic, my problem and my research questions, I realized that I had to model what K-12 open educational practice could look like. So, as I look back on my confidence and collaboration with esteemed colleagues from March 25, 2014, I am humbly facing my fears and taking the jump “back into” the open. This means that I am looking for critical feedback, I am looking for support and I am daring to put myself out there….in order to learn in those deep and meaningful ways that were previously inconceivable….

So…what am I considering in terms of research? Here is what I am thinking about:

Research Problem:

There are a variety of factors that adversely influence the opportunity for K-12 students to learn in open and networked digital learning environments in 2017.

Some of the problem’s  key considerations for me as a researcher include:

  •  K-12 learners are exploring and learning digitally outside of traditional K-12 classrooms. There is discrepancy surrounding how student digital learning outside the classroom is being transferred or integrated into the K-12 classroom.
  • The learning students are doing outside of the classroom could be better supported by development of competency in digital literacies that connects learning outside and inside formal classrooms.
  • Without experience learning open and networked learning environments, teachers are less likely to have an open learning mindset and able to model open educational practices in their classroom.

Research Question:

How does a teacher’s Open Educational Practice support the development of digital literacies for K-12 students?


What impact does Open Educational Practice have in K-12 Learning Environments?

Key Learning Models to Support Research Problem/Question

K-12 Open Educational Practice

Indicators of K-12 Open Educational Practice Licensed CC-BY Roberts & Blomgren (2017 – in publication)

Digital Literacies:

Elements of Digital Literacies – Doug Belshaw (2011)

A great post that summarizes the 8 Elements of Digital Literacies is written by Kevin McLaughlin and is found HERE

Initial Literature Review Organization:

A. Key Definitions:

What are Digital Literacies?

What is Open Educational Practice in K-12 Learning Environments?

What are the indicators of K-12 Open Educational Practice?

  • Open Educational Resources (OER)
  • Open Learning Design
  • Participatory Culture
  • Networked Learning
  • Digital Learning Spaces
  • Open Readiness

B. Key Questions:

What is the theoretical framework behind Open Educational Practice?

What are examples of current research that include aspects of OEP in K-12 learning environments?

I look forward to your feedback and support as I jump into deep end of learning in the open. What are your initial thoughts and reactions?

Verena 🙂




Belshaw, D. (2011). The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies. Available from under a CC BY license.

Roberts, V., Blomgren, C., Peters, K. & L. Graham  (Unpublished). Open Educational Practice in K-12 online and blended learning environments. In R. Ferdig & K. Kennedy’s Revised Handbook of Research on K-12 Online and Blended Learning. Pittsburgh, PA: ETC Press.