Action research spiral in the TA forum

Numerous small actions aimed at improving my practice as a provider of online resources to this audience and also improving my practice in my job role. As the research is emergent there may be actions that stem from reflection in action here as well as planned actions
The guiding quote:

“Communities are not for harvesting they are for joining ”
(A Roberts 2006)

Action
Joined the forum and posted message about Classroom Displays Blog with general request for help with my research.
Took on Andy’s point about the need to become involved in groups not just use them for my own purposes.
Looked for threads and things to get involved with. Joined the quiz group and have played regularly.
Reflection
I’m finding I get a good return from being a member of the group. The group is expanding fast. I can use this expansion to grow the audience for both the blog and my exhibition. Beyond this I’m getting helpful insights into my job role from threads in the group.
Joining this community goes beyond notions of participant observation as the group is closely related to my praxis. My role as actor and observer within the group is not that of dispassionate researcher but rather a reflective community member.

Plan
To continue to expand my involvement in the group by contributing to threads, to explore the group to see if it is potentially a CoP.
Action
Decided to be very transparent in group- chose to use photo rather than pixie style avatar common in group.

Provided link to Acting to Improve as web site link. Made a post explaining my research and inviting people to visit the CD Blog
Reflection
My choice of a photo of myself (although actually more my hat than me!) is important to me. It would have been easy to follow the group convention to take an animated avatar. I was concerned that it might mark me out as being different but it was important to me.
I use this image as an icon in most of my online posting. It has become a very personalised avatar. Its use reflects my desire to make my research work as transparent as possible and connects to my ethics policy.
Plan
to continue to connect my online presences together to make an integrated, transparent whole.
Reflection in Action
The group chose to have a competition based on displays in January. – not sure if this was pre-planned or in some way related to my posting.
The rules are very clear, displays to be your own design and people should ask permission before copying them in their school.
Plan
Continue to follow any threads related to classroom displays
Action
Noticed discussion on subject of things to do for Chinese New Year.
Added Classroom Dragon image with link back to original and T’s description of how to make it.
The group responded to the photo and some members made their own versions.
I asked them to take photos of these.
Reflection
I had to think carefully whether I was drawing people’s involvement away from the forum and onto the blog. It seems to me that Nancy is right when she encourages communities to give stuff away. Putting what’s on the inside outside doesn’t harm the group so long as links back are made clear.
Plan
To continue to make connections across from the forum to the blog and the flickr group and vice versa. To use each to promote the other.
To be clear about my intentions with forum members and to seek informed consent.
Action
Showed P the TA forum after telling her about it at work. Showed her how to access it at work and encouraged her to join it.
Reflection
This was quite a hard thing to do. Transparency online is one thing but having a work colleague in the forum felt as if it could inhibit my posting freely. I had to think carefully about why I was feeling this way. My online identity is something I’ve never hidden and yet it felt odd. Anyone from my work place could easily google and find my blog, some of my reports, etc. So why did this make me uneasy? There is a part of me that values privacy and lindiop/lmhartley/lindah is becoming quite a public personna. This is something I need to work through. It may be that I even need to invent a more anonymous personna for my personal posts in that space. Saying that makes me realise how uncomfortable that feels. I don’t like deception in any form so it is better to stand by my transparent personna and make sure I only make posts I would be happy for my colleagues to read. This is probably good advice anyway!
Plan
To continue to promote the forum at work and show any other TAs who might be interested.
To be continued……

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4 thoughts on “Action research spiral in the TA forum

  1. Interesting question Eve. All the photos I have posted to Flickr are covered by a Creative Commons license. I’ve asked permission to post stuff that isn’t mine and always credit it and link back if that’s what people want. I think that people often don’t realise that once stuff is online it is very hard to retain any sort of control over its use. Given that selecting a photo and dragging it to ones desktop will usually give you a copy of said image to do with as you will the whole concept of copyright is a bit meaningless. What about the ones you sent me? Are you happy for those to remain posted under my name and with that cc license?

  2. I was thinking more of the TA group … or do they use flickr and add links to the image – I know the ASD forum does that – in which case the Creative Commons license would apply.

    No probs with my photos – not ‘bovvered’ 🙂 I’d rather they were of use to someone! I’ve probably got some more somewhere …

    I understand your unease re only making posts that you are happy for others to read. I have not added much to my blog because of this. I also have refrained from putting stuff on the computer ‘cos of J – but – it’s a pain fro data analysis when your scribblings are all in pencil in a journal … I feel a highlighter mood coming over me!

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