After spending the past year researching innovations in the classroom, I have realized how vital planning is to the success of a program. One aspect of planning that should not be overlooked is research. My innovation plan for implementing blended learning is based on existing research that proves that this type of program will be successful. As I launch blended learning in my classroom this coming school year, I have a unique opportunity to follow my own innovation and collect data as it unfolds. The ability to complete research during my implementation can help me discern whether or not blended learning is successful, and give me an opportunity to pinpoint areas that need to be tweaked or changed within my plan. The action research model is designed for classroom research because it encourages teachers to reflect on their own practices and find ways to improve education for their students (Mertler, 2019).
Topic of Research
My topic centers around blended learning stations in my 6th grade social studies classroom.Many social studies classes including my own have used traditional methods such as lectures and textbooks to teach history and geography. I have come to the realization that many students do not benefit from traditional teaching methods and the lecture style format is not engaging and may be hard for some students to follow. Also, many students do not have prior knowledge of the topics covered in class and have difficulty making connections to the learning.The purpose of adding stations into my lessons is to add choice for students in how they learn, help build background knowledge to help make connections and deepen understanding and create opportunities for students to work collaboratively. My goal is to design a classroom and lessons that enhance student learning.
Purpose of Study
My action research will focus on the impact that adding blended learning stations will have on student learning. Blended learning and stations have been proven effective in prior research, but there is little information about the effects of adding these into a middle school social studies curriculum.My research will examine the connections between the addition of blended learning stations and the impact they have on students’ understanding of social studies concepts such as geography.
Fundamental Research Question
What type of impact will the addition of blended learning stations have on student learning in my classes? Secondary questions which can also be answered through this research are: What effect do blended learning stations have on building background knowledge? What impact if any, do blended learning stations have on the achievement gap between high performing and struggling students?
Research Design and Methods
For this study I will be using the preexperimental research design with a one-group pretest and posttest. I will be answering my research question by looking for change from the beginning of the study to its conclusion using quantitative data. I plan to use this type of design because it will work best with the type of studyI am conducting, fits within a shorter timeframe,and works with the dynamics of my classroom. I will be using only my classes in the study which are diverse and contain students of all academic levels.Some drawbacks to this type of study are that there is no control group, and there will be no way to rule out other reasons for changes that mayoccur from pretest to posttest.However, action research is cyclical in nature, and this will be my foundational research and the data will be evaluated and considered for my future action research studies.
Type of data collected
I will be collecting quantitative data through a pretest and posttest. I am also considering adding a survey to the study to help validate some of the data obtained in in the pretest and posttest. Gathering quantitative data will help me identify trends that will help answer my research questions.
I will create a pretest using a program called Eduphoria that covers the various TEKS in my first unit for 6th grade social studies. I will incorporate blended learning stations into the unit as I teach it. At the conclusion of the unit a posttest that covers the same set of TEKS will be administered to students to identify any changes in learning that occurred. I would like to add a survey into the study after a few weeks of teaching with stations and before the posttest is given. Once the unit is complete, I will desegregate the data and identify any changes that occur and then further break down the data into sub-population groups to look for changes there.
The focus of my literature review will be on research related to the success of blended learning station implementations. I will be looking specifically at peer reviewed journal articles that support the use of blended learning stations and flipped classroom designs. I will also include articles that support gains in student learning because of implementing blended learning in the classroom.