This is not the first time I have needed to read research and/or academic papers. Conducting research online through an electronic library is often more challenging than it sounds, especially when attempting to find specific research that addresses a problem one has. As an instructional designer, this is something I have had to do in the past, and learning the ins, outs, and tricks of a library does take time.
APA parenthetical citations are some of the easier citation formats in my opinion, though the actual works cited/references page is really the challenge. While there are now modern programs that can provide you with references, they may vary slightly and still require double checking (although for all intents and purposes, they are in the proverbial ball park).
One thing I learned from my first masters program was the importance of being able to organise and manage all of the papers, articles, research, etc. In the electronic age we are simply inundated potential resources. While I had a very low-tech way of doing this the first time around, some months ago I learned about a program called Papers (http://www.papersapp.com/) that really addresses this work flow issue and integrates document metadata/cross referencing and checking to help keep the references “correct”, in addition to a way to organise, mark up, and add notes to the document.
It’s not the only app out there that wants to help out with managing digital research papers (mainly pdf’s) but it has been invaluable for me as a grad student, and as a professional educator that continually is reading up on various fields and needs to simply organise all of the information in meaningful and productive ways.
For this particular assignment I focused on how teachers use technology in their classrooms, issues with the lack of purposeful use, and teacher development methods given that they often fall into 2 classifications, new and veteran. This area is of interest to me mainly because I teach teachers! For several years I was a technology coach embedded within my school and often encountered resistance to using any form of it, if at all.
In the graduate classes I teach (classroom limitations that are imposed by the government aside for the moment), this sentiment is also typically the same. It takes time and effort to learn new tools and it takes even longer to effectively integrate them into daily class life as a transparent technology. I am always interested in being more effective in encouraging teachers to make small and incremental changes one semester at a time though there are many barriers to effecting such change (e.g. institutional norms, organisational culture, self-efficacy, personal beliefs, pedagogical beliefs, etc.).
You might find it surprising that courses in the practical application of educational technology really need to address core beliefs first before long lasting change is possible. Learning a tool is easy, but changing one’s practices are hard! That is the real challenge.
You can use the link below to see a small annotated bibliography that shows various articles on the topic of teacher beliefs, attitudes, and technology practices along with my annotations that provide a summary, assessment, and reflection on the resource in question.