Saturday, 13 July 2013

Choosing a Research Topic

 Can Google Drive be an effective tool for teacher collaboration in a primary school setting?

I feel i have always been able to hold my own when it comes to technical / IT things. My brother (almost exactly one year older) and I grew up in the 70s and 80s during, what seemed to us at the time, a technical revolution. Our pocket money was converted to 20c pieces and spent almost entirely on arcade games, we had a home computer from a fairly early age and we even learned how to programme the VCR. My parents to this day remain technophobes, with a high level of learned helplessness, but they must have recognised the dawning importance of the silicon chip and the part it would play in tomorrow's world.
What i am saying is that i feel that i would class myself as technically 'on to it' and literate. Schools i have been involved have, in general terms, been happy for me to follow my ICT passions within the school and have been adequately resourced to do so.
However... I have noticed recently that my once broad repertoire of skills, programmes and applications have narrowed significantly. I now rely on a few 'old faithfuls' to get the job done and find i become intimidated and reticent towards the introduction of new tools into my work life. Case in point; Moodle/Learn took a lot of getting used to when i first started my post graduate study. So when teachers at our school started using and sharing Google applications through Google Drive, i watched from a distance. As the momentum grew among the 'on to it' staff i braced myself for my eventual inclusion.
Over the past school term i have seen the myriad of benefits in its use. At a senior management level we are using it as a 'real time' collaborative planing and writing tool. It has been amazing to sit together and complete a series of smaller tasks individually that contribute to a larger, more complex piece of work collectively - all at the same time.
I harp on to our staff that we need to 'work smarter, not harder' and that 'collaboration is the key' but it doesn't stop us reinventing the wheel on numerous occasions.
So the time is ripe for us to make a change, the stars are aligning and an opportunity has presented itself. But i also know that if i felt uneasy about climbing on the bandwagon that many of our teachers, some of whom i know are intimidated by technology, will struggle to (want to) become involved too.
A change model that acknowledges the difficulties (technical, motivational and pedagogical) that some will face will be an important aspect of the project.
I have had a quick search of articles which returned a couple of magazine articles on the specific subject, so i may have to broaden it slightly to find research done around collaborative teacher planning.

At the moment these are my big questions:
What does research say about collaborative teacher planning?
What are the best tools for carrying out synchronous planning?
 How do i get everybody in the school involved without causing conflict?


  1. I am very interested in you research topic and I look forward to seeing your research, I was thrown in the deep end with google drive a couple of weeks ago and felt like I was floundering a little. Once I found my way everything flowed smoothly and I had no problems. Could be a great benefit within a primary school setting

  2. Hi Chris,

    This is taking shape nicely. I enjoyed reading your prelude leading to your research questions and can imagine that a number of readers are nodding their heads as they see themselves in your reflection.

    As an aside - -sometimes reinventing wheels is not always unproductive -- we get rounder wheels ;-).

    I have a keen interest in open and collaborative planning approaches - we are using a number of these techniques for planning the implementation of the OER university -- so your research could have a wider impact on an international scale.

    A great start to your research project on change with digital technology.