think. innovate. do.
Currently, Evangeline’s research projects explore how emergent technologies are changing the nature of teaching and learning. Specifically, they look at how three key things:
- to what extent do professional development activities manifested themselves as changes in teachers’ pedagogy and the meaningful use of the resources in the classroom.
- to determine what defines (modes and methods) transformational professional development
- to what extent does the design of learning spaces impact the function of teaching and the process of learning
We are in a time of transformation in the field of education. The challenges that result are varied, but two specific ones that interest me are 1) what characteristics are there that enable some digital media resources to be readily used in a classroom, and 2) what kind of professional development supports the transition of learning about the resources to their use in the classroom. These overarching questions lend themselves well to other questions including what kinds of teachers are more likely to use digital media resources, what kind of school culture needs to exist for digital media resources to be accepted as tools for learning, how does the integration of digital media resources impact changes in pedagogy, and how does the use of these digital media resources enhance student learning. In partnering with WILL/Illini Media on the PBS LearningMedia Pilot, my contribution would be to help design a pilot study in which these questions would be addressed, data collected and analyzed with an outcome of giving a better understanding the efficacy of this digital media resource. I imagine working with my colleagues at WILL/Illini Media as they develop their pilot professional development sessions, discuss potential outcomes, and create non-evasive data collection tools (surveys, focus groups) in order to highlight the impact of this tool to best assess if the outcomes were reached. This partnership will support my research efforts in better understanding how we can better support our educators in the use of digital media as instructional resources and learning tools.
Mobile Learning Classroom Impact
Many schools and/or districts are employing 1:1 laptop initiatives to varying degrees of success. Currently, there is no model that definitively outlines criteria that would suggest the best way to implement a laptop initiative. Efforts underway at various school districts offer an opportunity to gain better understanding of what may be needed to successfully begin, sustain, and grow a laptop program for teachers and students. Data will be collected, and analyzed so that outcomes will help support informed decision making for sustaining and growing the initiative and defining a model so that other similar learning environments successfully undertake a similar initiative. The research will entail a mix methodology of qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis. Key to this research will be to account for the efficacy of the professional development. In so doing, data will be analyzed to determine what factors lead to the greatest possibility for successful sustainability by the school and what factors may hinder its success. Pre and post surveys, teacher interviews / focus groups, teacher / student artifacts, and observations will be used to assess such things as the before and after effects of teacher training, attitudinal changes towards technology integration, and teacher engagement.
Learning Spaces research will work with the Illinois campus to determine what kinds of learning spaces better meet the needs and expectations of the 21 century learner. Classrooms are being redesigns and an extensive evaluation of those spaces will be conducted to best determine what features make a learning environment conducive to both informal and formal practices.