Action Research in Education

Effect of Technology on Enthusiasm for Learning Science

According to the writer, it was important to study this topic as it is one way of helping students not to drop out of school, sustain interest in learning and perform above averagely. It is evident that the author managed to follow a commonly used approach where the abstract which is the summary of the study is present, the literature review or theoretical framework where related literature to the topic of study is brought forth, the study where issues relating to the participants, types of data collections tools used, questions asked are succinctly covered, the results section where the collected data is analyzed, presented and lastly the discussion section where the results obtained are linked to existing findings. The author brought to light the purpose and value choice where he sought to contribute to scientific inquiry, contribute to knowledge as well as use the topic as a change-oriented and seek to bring about change that has a positive value to students through integrating technology and teaching science. In the literature review, the author did try his best to point out the findings of other scholars as well as explain these findings and link them to his own work. Considering that the work was published in 1995 the references used were not very old apart from one which was published back in 1989. The work only used 5 references and one was very old. However, I believe this did not degrade the work in any way since it had relevant themes and points linked to the study being carried out. The good thing with this review of the literature is that it has drawn models and theories to explain the whole concept from a wider perspective. Additionally, it is straight to the point and the language used is simple to understand while the grammar is perfect. I have learned that when reviewing the literature, one needs to synthesis issues brought forth to explain them and link to the study one is carrying out and there is a need to use many current works of literature (Hollis, 1995).

The author clearly lets the readers understand that he engaged learners who were in the 8th grade which he teaches comprehensive science. The participants were not involved in selecting the problem but were actively engaged in searching for solutions as well as validating the results. Students were engaged in utilizing technology in science class as well as giving feedback on the same through surveys which were done before and after the integration of technology. Since the study entailed human subjects, the researcher did not explain the ethical issue in the study. In my opinion, it would be rational for the author to obtain consent from both the students and learners, ensure confidentiality and that participation is voluntary. The problem has a global scope since technological advancement is the order of the current century. Additionally, there has been a high rate of students dropping out, lacking interest in studies and performing below average. The introduction of technology in teaching is deemed to solve all these problems. Data was collected through a questionnaire to both the groups; students and teachers which were administered before and after the study (Hollis, 1995). Additionally, the author used observation to collect relevant data. The choice of this tool rests on its advantages such as it is well known hence respondents will be less apprehensive among others. Data analysis was done using descriptive statistics for quantitative data while thematic analysis was used to analyze qualitative data. During the planning of the research the researcher engaged in trying to obtain computers and relevant software and media materials that were to be used for this study. On the other hand, the students took part in choosing the topics they will study through the computer, made presentations and shared their findings with the rest of the class. In this case, there are no efforts the author made with regards to providing the participants with feedback about the study. Data validity was ensured by collecting data from three sources and through that (data triangulation) played an important role in reducing the likelihood of errors. The action taken by the researcher was to continuously integrate technology in teaching his student (Hollis, 1995). The main question was what is the impact of introducing technology to students’ enthusiasm while teaching students?

Improving Teaching Practices through Action Research

The author examined the perceptions of teachers on the influences of action research on their thoughts about instructional practices as well as the impacts f this thinking on teaching practices. The author acknowledges that enhancing staff development is significant in ensuring that teachers are better equipped to disseminate knowledge and successfully instruct learners. The researcher opted to use a combination of action research models which include the following; Sagor, Kemmid & McTaggert and Calhoun model. All of them had five steps as required by action research.

The introduction section which is chapter one has succinctly covered all relevant sections such as context for inquiry, the problem statement, the purpose of the study, the significance of the study, limitations, definitions of terms and the organization of the entire paper. The second chapter is the literature review where the researcher worked hard to review works of other scholars related to his study. The researcher not only highlighted the views and findings of others but also explained the same in detail and linked them to his study. The author managed to use subheadings in this section to make it easy for the readers to capture relevant sectors. The author cited the majority of existing literature that was not too old considering the year the study was done. I have learned that it is necessary to use subheadings in the literature review section, use simple language and link the ideas of others with the topic being studied.

In this study, the researcher utilized the participative process by first engaging the six participants in actively taking part in action research. Secondly, she allowed the participants to respond to interviews. Together with the participants, the researcher played a leading role in informing the six participants what is expected of them she gave them guidance throughout the study period whenever necessary. The researcher also collected data and analyzed the same. It is evident that the study involved human subjects. However, there is no section where the researcher has clearly covered issues relating to research ethics for instance confidentiality of the participants, voluntary participation, how long the data will be stored, who will use the data among others. However, the researcher exhibited biasness when he strongly held on certain assumptions such as ‘involvement in action research and effective integration of instructional technology positively impact on student learning’. If I was the researcher I would first seek approval from the relevant body and seek informed consent from the participants.

The researcher collected data by employing the following techniques; interviews, observations as well as document analysis. The guiding principle for using the three methods was to help the researcher to validate and crosscheck the outcomes. The main research question was what if any changes are exhibited by teachers during instructional practices as a result of taking part in action research. Other specific questions were;

  1. How do teachers describe their perceptions of the teacher role as related to action research?
  2. What are teachers’ perceptions of their knowledge about teaching as related to action research?
  3. How do teachers describe the changes, if any, in their teaching practices as related to their participation in the action research process?
  4. How do teachers describe the changes, if any, in the contents and ingredients of their reflective practices as related to action research?

In the dissertation written by Lynne, 2002 the collected data was analyzed using the constant comparative method which is a non-mathematical process of analyzing data through identification of themes and patterns. It is worth noting that data validity and trustworthiness was guaranteed through having in place dissertation committee members, review of the finding by the participants as well as peer review. The finding of the study clearly indicated that participating in action research leads to change in the following areas; teacher role, knowledge about teaching, teaching practices as well as reflective practices. The school from which the six participants were drawn started engaging in activities that will foster the professional development of teachers such as offering scholarships.

References

Hollis, J. (1995). Effect of technology on enthusiasm for learning science. In S. Spiegel, A. Collins, & J. Lappert (Eds.), Action Research: Perspectives from Teachers’ Classrooms. Tallahassee, FL: South Eastern Regional Vision for Education.

Lynne, B. (2002). Improving teaching practices through action research. Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies.