I had these grand plans for where the project is headed in Year 2. I saw getting more teachers to join in, having students create artifacts about their experiences, and, eventually, having a public exhibit to share and discuss the work.
All of that is still a good idea, except lately I’ve been noticing a few things that have given me pause about it….
1. The nature of doing research via a social networking platform (this year) has shown me that is changes what research looks like. In some ways, it becomes more collaborative as teachers can talk to each other and share information and ideas. In other ways it’s easier to check out. Teachers can disappear from the network (one has for sure and a second one is currently on maybe status in my eyes). I’m not showing up in their classrooms on a regular basis. It’s easier to drop out for any reason. I don’t know you. I likely won’t see you in the future in person. Of course this is a superficial understanding at best. The key point is that research through a social networking system changes the game.
2. I’m just recycling the old. Ok, so yes, I am changing the game a bit by not giving a reading assessment and by wanting to create a public exhibit. However, I am still playing the same old game. I am still being very logical. I am still proceeding about doing research in a very orderly manner. I may succeed in identifying and creating a community of teacher with similar goals, but many components are just business as usual.
3. I am so tired of barries. Do you know how exhausting it is to get into a school district, let along multiple districts, and collect student data? One year I had a teacher in a local community that wanted to participate in a pretty straight-forward research project I was leading. I had university approval for the project when I filled out the paperwork her district wanted. I filled out the paperwork in April for a project beginning in September. I was told the district would review my documents and make a decision in October because, apparently, they only review such documents twice a year and October was the next go around – no exceptions. So I had to find someone else. In short, the amount of red tape that exists between universities and school systems is making it more and more difficult for us to work together.
I was wondering today about simply launching a social networking site through a ning that was intended to foster a particular community around empowering readers K-12. It could be a research site in that anyone who signs on agrees to allow what they post to be used as evidence and data (barring anything from students of course).
I do think such a site has potential, and it is of course inline with doing an engaged scholars project. It does not however look like traditional research at all. I also run the risk of getting NO ONE to participate, and that terrifies me. Of course, I also know that if I am scared I’m probably doing something right. The thing is, there can still be a public exhibit based on what is developed in a community ning. I can still do a lot of the big ideas I thought were interesting. It’s risky because I do not know what it takes to grow such a network. I’ll have to look into that, but it’s time well spent.