PostDoc Researcher Needed

Is anyone interested in this opportunity? Mark Warschauer at UCI sent this my way and asked me to “please circulate.”

Postdoctoral Researcher Needed
Technology, Afterschool Learning, and Human Development

The Department of Education at the University of California, Irvine seeks a Postdoctoral Researcher for a full-time one-year position in Orange County, California. The position involves a study of learning and human development in a technology-intensive community program. The community center involved has substantial amounts of advanced hardware, software, and other media, and offers a high-quality instructional program focusing on science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and communication targeting Hispanic learners and other low-income minority youth. Youth attend instructional sessions both during the school day (when they are on leave from year-round schools) and after school.

The position involves conducting research at the center, including carrying out observations of instruction and other activities; interviewing participants and staff; examining artifacts and documents produced by the participants and staff; and coding and analyzing qualitative data. The researcher may also be involved in designing a survey of participants, planning a quantitative impact study to be conducted the following year, and conducting discourse analysis of participant interaction. Research will be conducted under the direction of and in collaboration with Mark Warschauer, Associate Professor of Education and Informatics. Principal Investigator for the project is Deborah Vandell, Professor and Chair of Education.

Compensation includes a standard full-time salary and benefits. Prior experience in qualitative research is a must. Other desirable qualifications include an interest in technology-intensive learning; a background in discourse analysis, survey research, or quantitative research; an interest in the education of at-risk learners; an interest in science or technology education; experience in working with Hispanic populations; and outstanding writing ability. Applicants will normally have completed their doctoral studies, but otherwise outstanding candidates without a doctoral degree may also be considered.

The position begins September 1, 2006 and ends August 31, 2007. Dates may be adjusted for an otherwise outstanding candidate. Similarly, outstanding candidates who are not available full-time due to other commitments may also be considered.

To apply, please e-mail a CV; cover letter; writing sample; and the names, email addresses, and phone numbers of three references to Mark Warschauer, markw@uci.edu, with the words “postdoctoral position” on the subject line. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Technology Integration in Education: What is it that makes it so hard?

What is it that makes it so hard? (Via Technology Integration in Education.) My wife and business partner, Eva, who is also a kindergarden teacher and site technology coordinator has started a blog that is not specific to her school – a blog meant for a wider readership. This is a link to her first post, a reflection on the difficulties of integrating technologies into education. I, for one, hope there’s more to come…

Incidentally, we debated about having her post here. I added her as an author on this blog and then hacked the default templates so it would say who made the post. In the end though neither one of us was totally sure that was the right way to go. This is the site we use for the business – and we’re partners now, but even so the blog still seemed wrapped up in my voice and my identity. I haven’t had to deal with this part of blogging in a while. We may do a little experimentation. :)

Learning Agreement for KAM III: Principles of Social Systems

I’ve completed and submitted a learning agreement for my next KAM. In the end this will be approximately 100 pages more content that I hope to use in the literature review for my dissertation. I’m sharing it here because it feels like a better resolution to my work than emailing it to my advisor does, and because I hope that by putting it “out there” it might be helpful to someone else. Here is the overview of the KAM. Click the link at the end of the post to view the entire learning agreement (10 pages) in PDF format.

Overview of the KAM

This Knowledge Area Module (KAM) will focus on developing a working theory of school change that can be used to guide the integration of emerging educational technologies, such as video games and simulations. To produce a preliminary theory, the breadth portion of the KAM will begin with a synthesis of Senge, Evans, and Fullan’s work in school change. Then to further develop the theory, this will be followed in the depth portion of the KAM by a synthesis of prominent theories of professional learning communities. Prominent theorists who will be included in this examination are DuFour & DuFour, Wald & Castlebury, Bumpers, Roberts & Pruit, Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, and Stone & Cuper. In addition, an annotated bibliography of 15 articles will also be amended to the depth demonstration. Throughout both the breadth and the depth portions of the KAM, these theories of school change will be related to the integration of emerging educational technologies, such as video games and simulations. Finally, the application section will conclude with the explicated design of a three-hour professional development session to provide educational leaders with guidance in facilitating the process of implementing school change of this sort at their sites and in their programs.

Wagner_LA_KAM_III_v2.pdf

School Change and Professional Learning Communities

One more thing to share… I am departing a bit from my focus on constructivist learning theory and video games in education for my final Knowledge Area Module (KAM) building up to my dissertation, which will of course return to these topics. For this final KAM (on principles of social systems) I will focus on school change (and systems theory in particular) and then on Professional Development Communities in more depth. Here is the email I sent my advisor last night. I’ll also post my objectives and Learning Agreement (LA) when I complete those this weekend. Then I’ll be doing A LOT of reading. I may have to begin while I await feedback. Dr. Schorger’s daughter is getting married in 8 days. :D

Jock,

I found my search of educational technology change theorists to be fruitless. It seems that educational technologists write about change theorists and apply change theory to educational technology, but they do not seem to generate new theory.

So, I am moving DuFour & DuFour into the Depth portion of my KAM to accomodate Michael Fullan in the Breadth portion. Then, in the Depth portion I can focus in on facilitating school change through Professional Learning Communities. The DuFours will provide the most content here, and I will include several other authors (or teams of authors) who have also contributed to the field. Unfortunately, there are not a small number of leaders, so I will include a larger number of theorists who have each made a contribution to the field.

The theorists for my KAM will thus look something like this:

Educational Change Theory in Breadth
Peter M. Senge
Robert Evans
Michael Fullan

Professional Learning Communities in Depth
Richard DuFour & Rebecca DuFour (The bulk of this section)
Sylvia M. Roberts & Eunice Z. Pruit (one book title)
Huffman Jane Bumpers (one book title)
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (one book title)
Randi Stone & Prudence H. Cuper (one book title)
Penelope Jo Wald & Michael S. Castleberry (one book title)
Shelley Waltonen-Moore, et al (one article title)

As for my original contributions… in both portions I will focus on the application of these theories in the implementation of educational technologies, particularly new emerging technologies such as video games and simulations. I will also reflect on the use of educational technologies, including video games, to better implement these theories.

I made a lot of purchases at Amazon tonight, because I am passionate about all of these topics and I am fairly confident I can write a workable LA for these theorists. So, I’ll anxiously await your feedback on this. If you get a chance to respond before the wedding, great. If not, no worries. I will move forward with writing my objectives and introductions, and getting the reference lists together for the LA, which I will send along to you when it is ready.

Thanks for taking the time to look this over, whenever you get to it.

-Mark

I’m rediscovering my passion for change theories, and I think this is good work to be delving into as I enter the world of educational technology consulting.

In Patient Pursuit of the Possible

I have a new favorite Bruner line. I first came across this and dropped it in my outliner months ago, but rediscovered it as I wrote tonight. (And I’m happy to report six pages of draft completed tonight). From my outliner:

“The political process… is slow, perhaps, but is committed to the patient pursuit of the possible.” (Bruner, 1966, p. 23)

I’m often less than thrilled by the political process, especially with respect to education, but I am sympathetic to Bruner’s perspective. It does, after all, sound quite a bit like Bono’s perspective. (With respect to his two careers, the rock star turned political advocate has said that U2 is about the impossible, while politics is about the possible.)

Primarily, though, I fell in love with the sentiment of being in patient pursuit of the possible… a feeling that I think often gets educators (and educational technologists) through many of the rough spots. It’s also not a half bad philosophy for someone pursuing a dissertation. I was even tempted (for a moment) to change the tag line of this blog. :)

It would even make a good title for a blog… or a book. Hm.

In the meantime, perhaps it will make a good way to sign off at the end of a post or an email.

In patient pursuit of the possible,

Mark

Reference

Bruner, J. S. (1966). Toward a theory of instruction. Cambridge, Ma: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

IT versus Teaching

Responding to George (Via Mark’s edtechblog.) Mark Ahlness responds to Doug Johnson on the issues of reliability/security versus creaitvity/experimentation, adopted software versus teacher creativity, and “established best practices” versus teacher experimentation. I haven’t pointed to a post like this in some time… these are the issues that used to occupy me as a site tech coordinator who had one foot squarely in each camp – teaching and IT. Now, sadly, I’m a bit further from both.

See more on this topic from the Thinking Stick:

I was almost right! (Via The Thinking Stick.)

Creativity vs Experimentation (Via The Thinking Stick.)

What happens when you don’t post right away?

In short, you get beat to the story. I’m not sure what the value of not getting beat to the story is for me, but these two cases are almost humorous.

Google’s acquisition of Writely, which has some hoping for an online office suite from Google, appeared all over my feeds:

Writely Confirms Google Acquisition (Via Education/Technology – Tim Lauer.)

Writely and Google (Via elearnspace.)

Congratulations! Writely is now part of Google! (Via theory.isthereason.)

Google and Writely (Via EDITing in the Dark.)

And, if we are to have an online office suite, perhaps it will include something like DabbleDB. DabbleDB is a Very Impressive Web Based Application… (Via Education/Technology – Tim Lauer.)

Google Mars had a similar effect over a few days:

Google Maps for Mars… (Via Education/Technology – Tim Lauer.)

Google Mars (Via EDITing in the Dark.)

Google Maps Mars (Via Lifehacker.)

Check for life on Mars yourself (Via Teach42.)

… and finally, Wesley Freyer posted about it. Google Mars and 3D earth (Via Moving at the Speed of Creativity.) But I guess I’m showing up later than Wesley even… but we did integrate this into our presentations at the OCDE straight away – in time for a presentation at CUE on March 11th even. :)

Hm. It seems the blogging principal, Tim Lauer, was the first to both of these – unless I was reading feeds out of order. How does he do it?

“Research” as Pawn to Support the Status Quo

The Learning Circuits Blog: “Research” as Pawn to Support the Status Quo Clark Aldrich posted for the first time in a while today and offered a perspective on the call for research that I wish I had read a day ago.

An administrator in my AB 75 workshop today was asking me about what research there was to show that the technologies we were talking about (including ipods, blogging, and video games) actually impacted student achievement. My initial response was that there was very little formal research, but that the anecdotal evidence was overwhelming. (I completed this with an emotional appeal along the lines of “when you see the kids eyes light up you know its working.”) I then suggested that perhaps the test scores might not be what we find most valuable, and gave my usual 21st century skills pitch.

Thankfully, Christine Olmstead, my co-presenter, then shared some (anecdotal) evidence of scores going up in her district when new technologies (including blogging) were implemented. I acquiesced that of course there are some technologies that will improve student test scores, too, and then shared some of the studies I did know of. I wish, though, I had been able to share Clark’s perspective: “the phrase ‘we need to do research’ more often than not is a code phrase for, ‘we just don’t want to move ahead’ without having to justify the action, or to appear in favor of something while trashing it.”

And it’s funny. I’m finding writing quality posts difficult tonight. This may be partially due to the weight of wanting to keep up with all the things I want to write about… but it may also be part of the process… thinking and creating is a bit hard. Unfortunately, in the case of this post for instance, I often have already had the ideas, and just need to capture them for the blog and the typing/composition takes time. Unfortunately, that doesn’t feel nearly as productive.