Communicating in Research
January is getting closer which means the launch date of this project is getting closer. I’ve got roughly 15 teachers on board, and I was faced with a new problem. They all needed some help understanding what I meant by dirsuptive instruction, and they all needed some help understanding what it looked like in practice.
How could I do this in a meaningful way? The teachers were scattered across several states. There was no money to do a face-to-face workshop. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to do a face-to-face workshop anyways. Wouldn’t that just be a bunch of overload? I had gathered two articles they could read that modeled disruptive instruction, but that was only a start. Eventually I figured it out: I made a Voice Thread.
Although I’ve just sent out one VT, I am hopeful it will work well as a means for communicating information about the project. First, teachers can watch it at their own pace. Second, they can watch it as many times as they want (some of it or all of it). They can also leave comments if they need help with something that others likely could benefit from.
So I made this VT, and it includes a short powerpoint that walks everyone through the current definition of disruptive instruction and its main components. Having done one and sent it out, I am already thinking of ways it could have been better. Like I could have asked people to provide specific input on the definition and the components, but it might be too early for that. It’s probably hard to give input about something you’re just now getting your head around.
I was able to share a lesson that one of my research assistants had written and walk them through how and why it was a model of disruptive instruction. I was able to break it down across grade levels. In this lesson, we focused on helping students learn that having reading difficulties was a normal part of the reading process and that we experience them more or less based on what we are reading and our experiences, prior knowledge, and interest in a given text. Using VT, I was able to show teachers how they could take this idea of struggling being normal and make it play out across grades K-2, 3-5, and 6-12. I was also able to highlight how the components of disruptive instruction were present and why this was considered a disruptive lesson.
I plan to make more VT recordings in the future. I think it has the potential for sharing other sample lessons throughout the study. My goal would be to share one lesson every 1-2 weeks be it one that I or a research assistant created or one that a teacher did that we could highlight. Also, the use of VT as a form of professional development for this project fits in perfectly. VT is not the norm for communicating how to engage in instruction for a research project. But what is normal about this project? Not much. I like that I couldn’t do a face-to-face. I like the challenge of figuring out how to communciate information with my team. I’m not sure that a face-to-face workshop would have gad much to offer anyways. Yes, we could have taken the time to so some planning, and that would have been useful. But otherwise, I’m not so sure. At least this way the recording is there and can be used again as it makes sense for people.