Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Stops and Starts

I received IRB approval so I can begin my research now. Captivate arrived in the mail and I was able to complete and submit a prototype. The quarter is winding down, this is probably my last post here. My work year is ending and the students are looking forward to some time off. My plans for the summer include another class and completing this project. It was a pleasure working with everyone, I enjoyed reading the blogs about your process and progress. Hopefully, we will communicate again.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


The last 10 days were spent straightening out my understandings and misunderstandings of the IRB process. If I ever repeat this process it will be easy, mostly because it is easy. The difficulty seems to be in teaching an old dog new tricks. I picked up my signed proposal from Dr. Newberry's office, not realizing letterhead approval would be found elsewhere. Did you know that the only student copy machine in UH is on the 3rd floor? Did you know that that it only likes certain quarters? These perfect quarters only appear once in every 9 quarters and you must utter a prayer (in Latin) for them to be accepted. I tricked the machine by muttering words that only sound like Latin but definitely are not. Who needs Las Vegas when you can feel like a winner because a copy machine reluctantly deigns to accept your money? Rise of the machines indeed. The adminstration building is on the other side of campus and it was a lovely walk. Really. My family will tell you that I can get lost just pulling out of the driveway but that's not true... usually. I did great on this walk because I used to take many classes on that side of campus when I was earning my teaching credential. It wasn't until I actually stepped into the Administration building that you could say I was direction challenged. For goodness sake how hard can it be to find a room number? You just follow the other room numbers until you get there, right? Wrong. I tried programming room 128 into my handheld gps but I think aliens were jamming the signal because it pretended to have no idea what I wanted. Darn thing must be broken, I'm sending it back. Once my mission was complete and I found twilight again my only task was to wait for approval. Alas, I took the wrong CITI program and test (were there directions?) so I had to take the LONG one and resubmit. Then I needed to tweak portions of my proposal and resubmit. Now I know why the submission deadline is two weeks before the actual review: people like me.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Long Weekend

Memorial Day always makes me sad because I stop and think about all the beautiful young men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country; what a shame to always lose the best and the brightest.

On a brighter note, I think I've managed to get about as far as I can go with my pre-thesis template. I'm waiting now for my software order for Captivate to be delivered. It seems best price doesn't usually equally best service and I'll only allow a few more days before I cancel and try again elsewhere. Things are winding down for this class, and 692, and 603. I've also spent a year earning some graduate credits through another program and that's ending June 6th. Thirty four units in a year is... challenging. Anyway, my work year ends June 19th. We're currently exploring roller coaster physics, next is bottle rocketry, after that I wrote a forensic science mystery for them to solve complete with glow in the dark blood traces and vomit, and we'll try to fit in Newton scooter vehicles and final exams have to go somewhere. I love teaching science!

For the first time this year I was able to read a book just for fun and work in the garden. I planted tons of new flowers, bushels of basil, and I staked the grape vines in the vineyard. I loved every minute of it. My updated pre-thesis can be found on the web link below and here: Happy Memorial Day and a big thank you to our active service members and veterans. Thank you for all you've done for us.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Forms and Paperwork

I completed the project form, and a rough draft of the IRB form and now I'm waiting on word from Dr. Newberry about if it is okay as is. I also wrote my follow up questions to the research, and the informed consent form, and the principal consent form. I'm wondering if my small school is enough of a sample for this project. There are 20 teachers and I might get participation from only 4 or 5. The district office has expressed an interest in my completed instructional videos to distribute and make available to all new teachers, so I could do a larger survey... but then I'd have to write all those forms again and I'd never be done with the paper in time for ETEC 699 in Winter 2009. I understand why this class is only offered once each year, but I'd be more comfortable if I could stretch this out until the spring... without paying extra of course!! My other concern is that I will have a new principal when school begins again in August. That makes four principals in four years; I hope the new one is okay with my project. My current principal is enrolled at CSUSB in the new education doctorate program and he was very supportive. I'm still tweaking parts of my pre-thesis, and managing to postpone the dreaded bibliography, while I wait for Adobe Captivate to arrive.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Literature Review

Well, that's done finally. I need to complete the bibliography before I post it to the website, but I think that might be a weekend project as I'm very slow typing the references and I always make mistakes.

I started looking at the next assignment, the IRB proposal, and after looking at Dr. Newberry's ETEC advice site I'm a little concerned. I'm taking EDUC 605 in the summer but I have to wait on EDUC 607 until Fall. One more elective and 699 and I'm done but... I can't get advanced to candidacy or apply to graduate until December and that seems too late to register for 699 in Winter. I see problems. But the good news is I can't do anything about it tonight so I can let it go.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Literature Review Part 1

I finished writing the first section of my lit review. I'm obviously going to miss my self-imposed deadline of May 4th for completing the whole thing, but I hope to finish the second section by then. My project is a series of video screen capture tutorials for teachers on using the new web page communication system. Part one of the l.r. discusses the need for technology in the classroom and the barriers to implementation. One significant barrier is teacher training for technology use and follow up support. The end of the section examines teacher motivation and the importance of support to ensure teachers will use the technology after the initial training is over. Writing these reviews always gives me a dozen new directions to research, just like teaching new science concepts always makes me think, 'what about if I do this?' It seems neverending and I get discouraged because there's no way to investigate every idea that pops in my head and then I start feeling like I'm not being thorough. I also must admit that the paper is limited to the articles I was able to find. This process always leaves me wanting to know more without the time to explore.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pitman's Progress

This week I spent most of my time researching my topics. I read titles and abstracts searching for the background research that support my project. I collected about 60 articles by reading abstracts and I've narrowed them down to about 40 now by scanning the articles and conclusions. My next task is to sort them into sub topics. I wanted to start with enough articles that I wouldn't hesitate to dump a few if I didn't think they were a good fit. I'm waiting for the weekend to dive into the detail work.

I spent a couple hours at Pfau Library looking through some of the previous years' masters theses. I wanted to see what topics have been completed, and get a visual of the expected product. This was a valuable exercise for me because I held only the vaguest ideas about what a master's thesis looked like. For example, when Dr. Newberry writes, 'this tracks to Ch. 1 or Ch. 2', I thought he meant the recommended text and I now own my own copy of 'Writing the Winning Thesis'. Even after I plugged my existing work into the template, it wasn't until I read other theses that I realized he meant chapters in our own work. Yikes!

All in all, I continue to put one foot in front of the other for this project, my other classes, and my job. I'm enjoying reading everyone's blogs, shared processes and thoughts, thank you for posting them.