I am in my last semester at George Mason University...Yay! If all goes well this semester I will be earning a masters degree in Secondary Education: Curriculum & Instruction with an emphasis in History & Social Sciences, wow, that's a mouth full. I'm taking an educational research class, where we have to conduct action research. I've conducted research already in high school and college and the design of those and action research is similar so that's nice but action research is more personalized and meant to improve classroom instruction. It's meant for teachers to reflect on the nature of their own classroom and research what's been done and come up with something new to try for their classes. Prior to this semester I have been racking my brain trying to come up with a research topic. There are a lot of things that could be done but it has to be interesting for me because I will be spending a lot of time reading up on the topic and conducting research on it. I even tried looking into education journals for ideas and for months and nothing...yikes!
I almost considered withdrawing from the course until I had my own classroom (right now I'm working as a substitute teacher, seriously the best job ever). That meant delaying my program another 8 months and I wasn't too excited about that. I want to be done. Plus, if you noticed in my previous entry I have a few travel plans requiring me to miss a couple class sessions and I didn't want that to effect my grade. I decided to attend the first session of class and talk to my professor and find out if the missed classes would get in the way and also talk about research ideas. No problems were found with me missing a couple classes, mission one accomplished. I also talked with her for help with narrowing down a research topic. Study habits of students has always been interesting to me as I rarely study and always did well and other friends would study tons and barely get by. For clarification, I do put in the time needed for assignments but spending hours studying for tests was never my thing. I'd rather write a 20-page paper than study for a test...seriously! I thought it would be interesting to do some research with study habits so I started looking up articles and one about using blogs in the classroom came up and a light bulb went off. I ran the idea by my professor and ta-da, I have my research topic.
The question I am posing is "how would the use of blogs in the classroom effect student motivation outside the classroom?" I love blogging and I fully intend to use one when I'm a full-time teacher but there hasn't been a lot of research on their effectiveness and so forth. Yay...pave the way for new research. I love the fact that I'm finally researching something fairly new. I also look forward to interviewing students and teachers to fine the best way to implement a blog in the classroom so it's fun and also provides for a reflective, intstructional device. Stay tuned for more updates on how my research is developing.