Research Questions

I recently started grad school at the Teachers College at Columbia. I am going to be studying Instructional Technology and Media, and I plan on learning how to effectively assess the impact of technology in schools.

I’m going to grad school super part time (4 credits currently!) for a few different reasons.

  1. I was flustered around this time last year, wondering what I was doing with my life, and figured I’d apply to only one grad school. One was enough!
  2. I need to get a Masters degree at some point if I still have dreams of one day being a teacher.
  3. I think this program will provide useful skills if I want to go back into the classroom (we’ll discuss current policies, theories, and strategies for educational research and¬†implementation) or if I want to stay in technology or start-ups. (I’ll learn research skills that are applicable anywhere, and I have a few required Javascript courses I’ll have to take. I might even learn some basic programing.)
  4. If you go to grad school super part-time you have a lot more time to earn the $$$ to go there. ūüėČ

One burning question I’d love to help research and answer is: How Effective is Teacher lead Professional Development? When I worked at ShowMe I went to ISTE and TEDxNYED and edCamp. These are all teacher lead professional development events (Well, ISTE is a lot of things) and I’ve participated in #edchat and other education twitter chats. The teachers that participate were engaged and excited to share what they’ve done in their classrooms.Obviously these teachers are the early adaptors, the mavens, the innovators. Most teachers are not like them. But I’m interested to see more mandatory, well-structured, teacher-lead professional development in schools.

Think of it as after school show and tell; the teachers share any PD they’ve recently attended and what they found useful. They can also share any failures or successes they’ve experienced trying a different tool, policy or strategy in the classroom.¬†Everyone loves talking about “bad” teachers these days, but I think very few teachers are actually “bad.” Many are ¬†just not innovative and stuck in their old ways. Teaching is a rather independent profession and you can get stuck in a bubble believing that what you do is working, simply because students are passing a test or sitting quietly. If all teachers heard what more¬†adventurous, innovative, teachers are doing in the classroom it could at least give them the inspiration and opportunity to change their classroom as well.

But for now this is a complete¬†hypothesis. I can chat all I want, but I’ll need some data to back this up. So perhaps this is a research question I’ll be working on for the rest of my time at Columbia. Or maybe I’ll change my mind tomorrow. Either way I’ll keep you updated.

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