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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Insights


EDLD 5301 Research has given me some of the essential tools required to be an administrator.  Before I began this class, I thought I knew everything about research.  In college I majored in Psychology and had to complete various research projects.  After graduation, I began working as a research assistant in a traditional lab setting.  This was tedious work that I did not enjoy.  When I became an educator, I thought I was through with research.  In the first few weeks of the class I began to realize that this research was different than any I had done before.  During week one of the course the reading was about how action research was different than traditional research.  University researchers who are outside of the classroom usually conduct traditional research.  Practitioner inquiry focuses on the concerns of the practitioner and engages them in the design, data collection, and interpretation of data.  (Dana, 2009, page 5)
I really liked how this class had so many avenues to gather information.  One of my favorite ways to post and receive information was through my blog.  This was the first time I have ever used a blog.  I have heard people talking about them, but I had never read one and had definitely never made one.  I enjoyed making my blog.  Week one was rough because this technology was new to me.  However, now that we are completing week five, I feel that a blogs are very user-friendly.  I liked posting my assignments to my blog and getting feedback from my classmates almost immediately.  Since this class, I have been using blogs for cooking and decorating ideas!  The discussion board was very helpful too.  I liked reading everyone’s posts.  I learned so much from other people on the board.  I would find problems and suggestions on their posts that I had not even considered in my own research.  I found the discussion topics very helpful.  They were always relevant to the week’s assignment.  The thing that has been most helpful to me through this class was the Facebook page that was created for students on the same track.  I have never taken an online class until I started this program.  I was nervous about not having classmates to ask questions or to collaborate with.  I thought that I was going to be alone in this process, but I was wrong.  I can go to this page any time of the day or night with questions and get a response almost immediately from a classmate.
I enjoyed the assignments that required me to meet with my site supervisor.  I think these meetings taught me the most.  My principal recently got her administrative degree so she knows the process and what I am going through.  Her advice throughout this course helped me significantly with my project.  She gave me suggestions and feedback that I do not think I would have come up with myself without her experience.  I also was able to appreciate everything she does and know that she does certain things for a reason.  I began to appreciate her patience she has with her staff and students with everything else she has on her plate.  I am glad I will have someone to talk things through for the remainder of my action research project and the remainder of the program.
The text for this course fit the class and was aligned well with the course curriculum.  The assigned readings were always useful when completing the weekly assignments.  I know have a deeper understanding of action research and see the importance of lifelong learning.  I found the week 5 assigned reading to be very helpful for the remainder of my action research project.  Even though I am a beginner researcher, I want my research to be high quality.  I now know what to look for and what to ask myself to make sure that my research is the best it can be.  I know I will be referring back to this text not only to critique my current research project, but also to refresh my memory when trying to begin the next.
At the completion of this course, I feel very prepared to finish out my action research project.  The tools I learned in this class will make me a better teacher and a better administrator.  These are tools that I can and will use for the remainder of my career.  I will use the knowledge I gained in this class to continually improve my research skills and to make the best environment for my students.

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