In my most recent graduate course, I’ve been able to refine and tweak things in my innovation plan. I’ve revisited the literature, and with the help of a few of my classmates, have worked on a collaborative literature review in which we take an in depth look at what a student ePortfolio is, how they can be of benefit to the student, and how maintaining an ePortfolio can boost student engagement in class. This has been a year long project for me, and every time I think I am happy with it, I realize that this isn’t something that is every going to be complete. My plan is constantly evolving, just as technology is constantly evolving around us.
With help of my classmates, colleagues and professors, I’ve developed this Action Research Plan, in which I address my topic of research, the focus of the research (my research question), and my collaborative literature review, among other things. This has been a long, but worthwhile journey. Thanks for joining me on this ride.
The topic of the action research
As is the norm in middle and high school elective courses, students may elect 2-3 courses offered that might be of interest to them. This doesn’t always mean that student schedules reflect what they picked. Often times, students are put into electives that are of no interest to them, which then presents its challenges in seeing meaningful, conceptual work from the student. How might the use of the student ePortfolios enhance student engagement?
The purpose of the study
If one were to think about what it means to enhance student engagement in an art course, what is really sought after is an increase in student ownership. The idea is to have students involved in the discussion of art and passionate about the art that they create, readily available to support their art in writings and discussion. For many students, there is a lack of generated interest in the electives they choose, which in turn affects the effort they put forth in creating art.
The fundamental research question
What impact will the regular posting of photographs, artifacts and student reflections through an ePortfolio have on student engagement in the 8th grade photography elective?
The research design and research methods
The mixed-method approach will be used to gather the necessary data in this action research study.
The type of data to be collected
The data collected from the mixed-method approach will provide a supportive balance between qualitative and quantitative data. While the voices and opinions of students recorded through interviews and reflections are of great value, so is the data collected from pre/post student surveys. Ongoing observations and documentation of student engagement and work ethic will also be taking place.
The measurement instruments that will be used
Data will be collected in a variety of ways. I will continue to use my personal observations of my students throughout the elective course, along with individual interviews during and after the course has been completed. Students will be able to compete surveys anonymously to protect their identities and keep their information private.
The literature review provides an in depth at ICT in schools while also providing an understanding of what an ePortfolio is, how they can be beneficial for students, and challenges that might arise in implementation of ePortfolios in schools.
The literature review also focuses on the effects ePortfolios have on student engagement, specifically in fine art electives in the middle school level.
Timeline of Important Dates
August 2016-May 2017
Begin implementation of the innovation plan in the 8th Grade Photography elective class. The pilot will last one full school year. Distribute anonymous surveys to students at the conclusion of the photography elective each quarter.
January 3, 2017
PLC discoveries and surprises about assessments. A halfway “checkpoint” in which each PLC group will present to all faculty and staff the findings and surprises they have come across up until this point. Begin collecting and analyzing data.
May 31, 2017
Collect and analyze the data that has been collected during this pilot year. Share and communicate the results with a group presentation to all faculty and staff during work week.
May 2017- May 2018
Reflect on the pilot process with the Director of Fine Arts, Headmaster, Head of Middle School and middle school advisories and discuss whether the plan will be extended to other subjects and grade levels.
Extending the plan to all middle school students to have and maintain an ePortfolio will be something we gradually expand over a 2-3 year period