Action Research in ICT in Education

Published: 2021-06-11 17:40:03
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Category: Education

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Action research is defined as the flexible spiral method that allows action and research to be attained concurrently. Action research is educative, lays special emphasis on individuals, focuses on problems, and is future –oriented and context specific.  In the Information Communication Technology (ICT) in education context, this means that the researcher takes up an active role in planning and executing change, thus enabling the participants to gain knowledge as the researchers make their observations. The researcher becomes a reflective practitioner whose role continues beyond the conclusion of one research project.
This paper designs a research study for Action research for ICT in education. The research study seeks to investigate the current situation of the ICT usage. The study will also help to design and implement a CPD (in serves development) programme based on a VLE to improve the tutor’s ability to use ICT in their teaching. The research will also investigate how VLE is best exploited in order to enhance teaching and learning of ICT in schools. Based on the results of the research, university (X) will determine whether to deploy VLE on a commitment basis for use in the long-term ICT education in the University.
Action Research in ICT in education
Introduction
Action research is defined as the flexible spiral method that allows action and research to be attained concurrently.  The understanding gained through the process allows for more informed changes (dick 2002, cited by Selwood & Twining 2005 p1). In the Information Communication Technology (ICT) in education context, this means that the researcher takes up an active role in planning and executing change, thus enabling the participants to gain knowledge as the researchers make their observations.
Unlike the use of computers or the internet only, action research in ICT in education is more integrated as it combines both communication technologies and information technologies. This means that action research targets the role of various media that handles and communicates large amounts of education related information (Dadds 2009). The mediums of communication subject to such research range from satellite communication, FM radios, computers and the internet.
According to Kurt Lewin (2008), Action research is educative, lays special emphasis on individuals, focuses on problems, and is future –oriented and context specific. Additionally, Lewin states that action research involves cyclic processes through which research, deeds and assessments are interconnected.  In ICT in education, the participants of action research are part of the change process since the entire process is founded on research relationships.
According to Staff et al (2002p3), action research in whichever field is not attained through a harmonious thought, but through problematic struggles that form part of the action practice. According to Reason & Bradbury (2001 p xxiv), action research includes various approaches, which are differently to depending with the traditions, philosophies and psychological persuasions of the participants.
Action research in ICT education is different from the everyday research or teaching methods used by teachers (Cohen et al 2003 p227).  According Cohen and others state that action research is more systematic, collaborative and more apt in collecting evidence, through which rigorous reflections by groups is based.  Unlike other forms of research done in the ICT sector, action research is not problem oriented. Rather, the motivation behind action research is the quest for understanding and improving the learning atmosphere (Laker, 2001 p45).
Another major difference between action research done on the ICT education sector and other forms of research is the fact that the research is done by ICT students on their own work as opposed to works done by other people. As such, the research helps the participants to improve what they do, how they do it and how they relate with fellow workers (Cohen et al 2003p 227).
Selwood and Twining (2005 p 10) reckons that there are some limitations to ICT based action research. They however concur that the benefits of carrying out research, which involves university lecturers as the main participants has more benefits. By engaging university professors and college lecturers in ICT based action research, will result them in developing new ways of relating with other professionals, which include professional researcher.

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