Reviving my blog back to my general education interests (for new readers, excuse the campaign coverage!).
I spent a few minutes looking at some of my past posts and just
deleted [reposted, thanks, Diana for your comment] an earlier post with an old draft of my Master’s title and abstract. You can read the final(ish) version here. I say final(ish) because derivatives and additional will likely emerge in the next few months. Plus, many of you may be able to relate to this: I found it very difficult to write something set “in stone”. My learning and interpretations constantly evolve. Even as I pressed the official “Submit”, I knew there were different ways of telling the stories, more to add… I know now why it may take some people forever to finish their dissertations!
Somewhere between my first conference presentation and my final version of my Master’s paper, I began to get a bit too technical and detached from what I was originally seeking to explore through this research. I have always emphasized that I was conducting a narrative study. But really, does “Self-directed teacher inquiry in technology integration: Exploring the dynamics of synchronous and asynchronous collaborative learning” sound like it focuses on teacher experiences? Heck no.
It became quite clear to me that I was losing focus when while one of my Year 1 MT mentees introduced me to her colleagues, she vaguely described my research on “synchronous and asynchronous environments.” At that exact moment, I thought to myself, ” Hmm, that’s not quite right.”
Sharing my research explorations and learning along the way has definitely allowed me to see how my ideas, research orientations, and interpretations have developed over the course of the year. Though I will eventually dabble with and delve into different qualitative and quantitative approaches, my initial orientation is towards narrative inquiry. I naturally focus on personal experience, chronology/development, and contexts. I always want to know details about my friends and colleagues. I am all about nuances. I work first and foremost from teacher/faculty’s experiences, pedagogical practices and interests first and foremost when supporting their instruction (with or without technology). I like to ask about before/during/after experiences. I enjoy self and shared reflection.
In my past few presentations, I started off by telling my teacher and researcher stories – how I got involved in instructional technology, my trip to Philadelphia, and the countless mentors who serve as the inspiration to my study. I usually wouldn’t consider myself a storyteller, but I guess, in a way, I am. I prefer conference presentations (attending or presenting them) that are informal and anecdotal. I go so far to call them conversations instead of presentations. If I have one hour to “present”, I want to dedicate a large part of that time to discussion… not just Q&A on my presentation, but rather co-learning with those in attendance….co-constructing knowledge.
I have caught myself actually asking, “What’s your story?” Recently and on numerous occasions, I have spent hours over lunch and dinner with colleagues (some new, some old) sharing our stories in our own technology use and integration and our current work with teacher/faculty development and support. It is always amazing.
Every day, my natural interactions prove that personal connections and conversations are powerful ways of continuing our learning and professional development.