Thursday, July 22, 2010

5301 Research Week 2 - Nine Areas of Wonderings for Principals

Principals must wear quite a few hats these days.  The responsibilities can be overwhelming, so implementing action research to examine areas of concern to principals can be very useful.  Dana (2009) suggests nine areas of wonderings for principals.  These include:
  • Staff Development
  • Curriculum Development
  • Individual Teacher(s)
  • Individual Student(s)
  • School Culture/Community
  • Leadership
  • Management
  • School Performance
  • Social Justice or Equity Issues
After examining these areas and seeing examples for each one I was able to formulate questions for my own action research. Three questions in which am interested in conducting action research are:
  • In what ways is Eagle Time as a consequence for zeros in class affecting student performance?
  • What is the relationship between students' participation in Green and Gold Academy - Credit Recovery Program and their success in high school?
  • What is the relationship between student success and the improvement of parent/family involvement in a high school setting?
Dana, N.F. (2009). Leading with passion and knowledge: The principal as action researcher. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 29-68.

Monday, July 12, 2010

5301 Research Week 1 - Blogging

Educational leaders would be wise to use blogs as journals. It would be a helpful tool for inquiry and reflection.  Using blogs to gather and collect data would be beneficial when problem-solving and decision-making. This would be a great way to gather feedback from colleagues after posting issues needing attention on campus.

5301 Research Week 1 - Action Research

Action research appears to be a way to battle professional isolation that is pervasive in education.  Collaborating on problems, issues, and decision-making with other administrators and teachers can go a long way to battle the isolation that many educators face.  Action research or administrator inquiry is a technique that goes farther than traditional research.  Instead of taking the research and findings of "experts," and implementing their "prescriptions," principals use action research to look at practices on their own campuses, use data to analyze those practices, and then make decisions based on their findings.  It is practical. Action research can be used in a variety of ways.  Leadership teams can use this method to problem-solve with their administrator.  Another context of action research is that it encourages the use of best practices by others in the school.  When educators analyze student learning as it relates to their instructional practices they are able to make changes that enhance student success.  A third use of action research can be utilized in professional learning communities as a form of professional development.  The process of action research causes principals to slow down and take a look at their school.  Engaging in inquiry forces the administrator to focus on one problem or issue at a time instead of running around from "fire to fire."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Final Reflections for EDLD 5352

What outcomes had you envisioned for this course? Did you achieve those outcomes? Did the actual course outcomes align with those that you envisioned?
I had imagined that I would be exposed to new types of technology and the current trends that exist today. I was hoping to gain some insight into what an administrator’s role would be in implementing technology into the school plan and into classrooms. I believe that I achieved the outcomes that I had invisioned for this class. They aligned very nicely with what I imagined the class would be. I learned what role an administrator can play in order to keep teachers and students up to date with current technology trends. I learned how to create a blog, as well. I even learned how to create a Power Point file and load it onto my blog. I learned how to analyze the Campus STaR Chart information and how it relates to the Long Range for Technology 2006-2020. I believe that even though the course expectations were extensive, I learned a lot from it.
To the extent that you achieved the outcomes, are they still relevant to the work that you do in your school? Why or why not?
The outcomes of this course are very relevant to the work that I do in my school. As a classroom teacher it made me aware that I need some refresher training in technology in order to keep up with current trends. I am still a classroom teacher and I need to make sure that I am keeping up with what grabs the attention of today’s students. In order to do that I need to know what they are using in their own homes, and what technology they are capable of accessing, utilizing, and manipulating . It is relevant in my position as a member of the Campus Educational Improvement Committee. I believe that I will be able to make better decisions regarding technology when creating our Campus Improvement Plan in the future. The STaR Chart information and the Long Range Plan for technology will provide the necessary information to help me make those decisions. What outcomes did you not achieve? What prevented you from achieving them?
I cannot say that I failed to achieve any outcomes from this course. The readings were quite informative and I was able to apply the information to what I do currently. I was also able to see how the information will benefit me as I become an administrator. I felt that the expectation for me to post a quote from each reading and a reflective statement for each of my reading was appropriate, but replying to two other student’s posts was a bit ridiculous. It was repetitive and had no point after the first replies. I felt that this was a waste of my time. If I can do it once, do I need to do it 15 more times? I’m not sure how I am supposed to get one hundred and fifty words written about outcomes that I did not achieve if I feel that I achieved all of my expected outcomes.
Were you successful in carrying out the course assignments? If not, what prevented or discouraged you?
I believe I was successful in carrying out the course assignments. It was a difficult five weeks for me and a very stressful time. I had several family emergencies arise during this course. My eighty-four year old mother-in-law fell and broke her nose. Then the week after my eighty-six year old father-in-law needed emergency surgery to save a leg from complications due to diabetes. He needed another surgery the following week to open blocked carotid arteries in his neck. The following week, my nephew and his wife lost a baby and we attended the funeral last weekend. As the funeral was ending, we received a call that my father-in-law was being taken into emergency surgery. He passed away on the operating room table. The entire las week of the course was spent making funeral arrangements. Today, the last day of the course, we buried my husband’s father. You asked for it, you got it. These are just a few of the many difficulties my family and I faced during the past five weeks.
What did you learn from this course…about yourself, your technology and leadership skills, and your attitudes? From this course I learned that I have much more to learn about the use of technology in schools, and what I can do to become more fluent in its language and in its use. I learned how to create a blog, and how useful it would be to have students create and post their own blogs. It would also be a great idea to have students access and reply to one another’s blogs. I learned the difference between a digital native and a digital immigrant. I am a digital immigrant. I learned that it is the administrator’s responsibility to keep abreast of current technology trends, and how necessary it is to gain the support of district administration in order to acquire the funding necessary to equip the school with needed equipment. I learned what a 21st century learner should look like, and the importance to our state and nation in creating global learners. What is the educational value of blogs and blogging to the 21st century learner? When you create a blog it allows for dialogue between people that would not normally exist. Our students must become 21st century learners which means global learners. A blog would make conversing and exchanging ideas a real possibility, even for students across the globe. Students can post their work in essay form or presentation form using Power Point or other software. Others can see their work, critique it and make suggestions for improvement. They could also pose further questions that the work brings to mind. Teachers and administrators can use blogs to share lessons and ideas. Sometimes it is difficult to have meetings and have all members who need to be there present. If a blog is used then the information is there for members to access when it is convenient to them. A collaborative work can also be posted to a blog and can be edited or added to by members as they see fit. What are the concerns of blogs and blogging in education?
Blogging exposes students to public access, and it also gives the public acces to students. Keeping students safe is always a concern in education when the Internet is involved. If I were to use blogging in my classroom, I am afraind that I would not be able to monitor over one hundred blogs adequately or efficiently. Making sure that students post appropriate information that is acceptable for school use would be an issue. It would always be a possibility that another student could gain access to a blog that was not their own and put objectionable content on it. How would I be able to police those types of situations. Allowing the use of blogs by students in education requires intensive ethics training that, I believe, should begin in early grades. If we are to allow students to create, access, and post to their own blogs and the blogs of others, we will have to have an agreement that is in place between students, parents, and the school stating the intended purpose of the blog and acceptable use of the blog that is associated with the school.
How can you use blogging to communicate with school stakeholders?
Blogging is a great tool to use when communicating with school stakeholders. Teachers blogging with colleagues creates an online learning community that would benefit all concerned. Lesson plans, book studies, and conversation of academia could all be shared in a blog. Administrators might get more participation from members of the faculty and staff if they started a blog to discuss school matters, and also just to relay information. Teachers could use blogging with their students so that students could have ready access to class information and assignments. When students are absent that would be a great way to relay anything missed in class. Teachers and parents could also use a blog in order to stay in touch with one another regarding what is going on in the classroom, and also with what is going on at the school. The community could also get involved with a school blog so that everyone is informed. I could also help with community spirit and draw all school stakeholders closer to one another.