What is to follow is basically a stream of consciousness as I panic over trying to do my first full scale research project. Any supportive comments and advice would be very much appreciated… 🙂
If you have been following this blog, you will know that I am currently in the second year of an MA in Digital Technologies for Language Learning. The first year was amazing and has totally transformed my approach to teaching. Unfortunately, it might take a while for the world of education to catch up with the affordances these technologies and web 2.0 offer. Who knows? Perhaps, something new will come along like web 3.0, web 4.0… and completely change the ideas I have constructed in my mind. All I know is that it doesn’t feel right to just ignore all these possibilities and carry on with face-to-face lessons confined within four walls as if nothing is happening.
And this brings me nicely to the task for this year. The dissertation! Somehow I have to digest everything documented in this blog and funnel out a topic. The problem is there have been so many themes running around that it’s difficult to pin something down. Looking back, some the issues/areas/theories that really stood out were Game Based Learning, Transmedia storytelling, Virtual Worlds, Identity, Anxiety, Prosumers, Social Constructivism vs input/output theories and Pedagogy 2.0. HELP!
The First Steps
Apparently, the first step when writing a dissertation is to narrow your ideas down to two. This can be based on a problem you have addressed in your practice, or to evaluate the effectiveness of something, or purely for the sake of knowledge. For me, I’d imagine it’s going to be a form of action research based on one/some of my classes, or perhaps even a case study. I could address an issue and see if the use of digital technologies can improve the situation. This is of course the most general idea I can possibly think of and is in no sense narrowing down a topic.
The Research Question
When the topic is finally decided I need to create a very specific research question. And then make it even more specific. Then brainstorm around it to see where it might go, read some related books, articles, papers, journals… and assess how feasible the idea is. This will be my destination and my fate for the rest of the year.
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