Ever so slightly (very) intimidated

Since this is my M. Ed capstone course of course the bar has been set high for our final project – a case study. I’ve spent the week being intimidated – firstly reading the case-study research of other people, and then the Colloquium with Pip Cleaves – where my brain and my writing hand lost sync with each other as I was in awe with what she’s doing in her classroom and school.

I think my main takeaway is that I need to take baby steps and to limit, limit, limit my ambitions as to what is possible in a few week’s case study.  One of the most interesting case studies, and one that was exemplified by Pip’s talk was by Hofer & Swan (2006) – primarily because they unravelled the strands of technological, pedagogical and content knowledge that teachers need to bring to bear when attempting to introduce technology in the classroom.

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_pedagogical_content_knowledge
Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_pedagogical_content_knowledge

Back to the case study. As long term readers will be aware, I’m really interested in language, bilingualism and maintaining and sustaining mother tongue. Ideally I’d like to do something along those lines, but the area is just so huge I’m going to have to be very specific. One of the things I was considering was the information seeking behaviour of ELL families. There is so much information inherent and implicit in a school / schooling system, and how do students and their families tap into the explicit and implicit information where the dominant language is weak or absent?  Most international schools are adamant in not translating materials (erroneously in my opinion) – is there any way to prove this one way or another? What specific interventions or availability of information and in what form would make a difference? And how to realise this?

 

Another alternative would be about reading.  Early in my first position as Teacher-Librarian I quickly realised that we were just not meeting the needs of a whole segment of ‘reluctant’ readers. Unravelling reluctance is worth of tomes of research – is it a skill issue, an identification of suitable books issue, a time issue or a combination of them all or something else entirely? In response, with the excellent assistance of a very cool young male teacher, we formed a “blokes with books” club.  The uptake has been great with a core of around 10-15 boys attending the weekly meetings. They’ve invited their friends and it’s a rowdy, exuberant crowd who now feel much more at home in the library.  Together we agreed on a rough program of highlighting various genres, different authors and types of books in the hope they’d find “the magic key”. But did it make a difference really, or just anecdotally? How would we go about finding out the efficacy of the program generally and which aspects if any are particularly efficacious?

 

Other things that have caught my fancy recently is the concept of the “customer journey maps” in the library (perhaps linked to the information seeking idea) and the use of virtual badges for teaching information literacy – (teacher? student?)

 

Those are my thoughts that need refining and consideration at the moment. I have another 2 weeks to investigate and consider more!

 

 

Hofer, M., & Swan, K. O. (2008). Technological pedagogical content knowledge in action: A case study of a middle school digital documentary project. Journal of Research on Technology in Education (International Society for Technology in Education), 41(2), 179–200.
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