I am feeling very grown up as I take the steps into my collaboratory stage of my research. For EdD students, it is the beginning of the storm, the preparation before candidacy and actual research. It makes me feel like I’m in Jr high school when I took the bus for the first time. I watch as my own children are entering middle school and new schools – and developing their own identities. So, one of my goals is to figure out what “growing into my identity as a researcher” will be.
This goal will start to develop in a few ways:
1) Writing about my research topic
I have spent the last few weeks finishing up an unpublished updated chapter on Open Educational Practice (OEP) in K-12 Blended and Online Learning Environments for an updated Handbook on K-12 Blended and Online Learning. The At first, I was overwhelmed at the thought of writing anything more after this summer, but I went into my writing over the last year and used ideas and references from my writing to build the revamped version of the chapter. I also worked with Dr Connie Blomgren, the BOLT Assistant prof from Athabasca University. She kept my writing in check and I was able to bounce my ideas and connections to theory off of her. I started to develop my researcher identity around my passion research area. I was also able to write with a long time colleague, whom I originally met through twitter as part of a MOOC (Massive Open online Course). Her name is Dr. Lee Graham and she is just starting as an Asst Prof at SUNY in New York. She just moved from the University of Alaska. I am going to write another chapter for a Athabasca University online handbook on Open Educational Resources this fall. It is not as research focused, like my APA chapter, but writing about my research passion and interest is helping me to develop ideas around my topic and research question.
2) Connecting Research Writing and “Practical” Writing
Dr Blomgren has also asked my colleagues at work to write a chapter from a more practical point of view. As a result, I am working with colleagues from my school team to write a collaborative chapter about one aspect of my research topic, How to Create, Adopt and Integrate Open Educational Resources across a Canadian School District. This is one of the ways I am connecting research and practice. I will also be working with some work colleagues to update our district research ethics expectations and application for research within our district. Part of this role will be advising my district on research issues as well as supporting Masters students with their research. I am so excited to connect research to my everyday workday and share research ideas with my colleagues in the district. Going to the Partners in Research conference helped me bridge some connections between UofC, Alberta Education and my own district. Finally, I will be writing blog posts for the International Literacy Association and my own school district, connecting research to practice.
3) Pilot Collaborations: Balancing the Role as Educator and Researcher
I will be working directly with educators in specific learning contexts, in pilot like studies, with the understanding that I am learning more about what they are doing in order to shape my own research question for the future. Working in collaboration with educators is already part of my job as a Technology for Learning Specialist. What is already making the conversations and collaboration different is the ways in which we are talking about their practice, their learning design and the choices that they are making as educators in order to support student learning. I am open in my efforts to integrate research into our discussions and I am already fascinated at the different directions and dedication of the teachers to improving practice. My intention is to develop relationships with a variety of educators in “pilot” like experiences to see who might consider being part of my research in the future. I am choosing to use a design based research approach and relationships are key to working collaboratively.
It is my hope that by completing my Lit Review throughout this semester that I can not only build upon my own knowledge in my passion research area, but I can also build upon my researcher identity in academic and practical situations.