What constitutes educational research?

For a change of pace, I thought today I'd revisit our original purpose around educational research as it's the content of my class tonight. The course is Critical Review of Research and the professor has asked us: What constitutes research?

We've started with the idea of "cherry picking" research. As a way of framing the conversation, a connection is made between researchers picking the data they want and people using quotes from the Bible to support an argument. As often happens in courses, we've meandered over the idea of the quality of research. Consider - is everything ASCD publishes high quality? Do they review content for books around ethical issues? Do they look for evidence behind a book (excluding Marzano, of course) before publishing it. Let's ignore for a moment all of the discussion about the federal policy around quality research. Are educators even taught how to be effective discriminators of research? Is that what curriculum coordinators and Associate Superintendents are for?

How about you? Do you feel you were/are prepared to filter through research? Do you seek out research to inform your practice?

More from Dylan

What say you? Fellow Fellows?

What would Dylan say?

I posted this for response from my C4L Fellows but anyone, anyone, can join in!!


It amazes me sometimes how Jenn and I can be miles apart yet so common in thought. On Monday, while Jenn was hoping to never grow old, I was listening to Will Richardson and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach speak to regional educators to kick off a year long "virtual learning community."

Will reminded us that education seems to move at 5 mph while other professions move at 75-90-100 miles an hour when adapting to change. He wasn't criticizing teaching, but had a point that we are doing a great job at educating kids for today, but what about tomorrow?

Kids have these tools, they use these tools. It is up to us, as educators, as parents, as aunts - to help them leverage these tools. Like it or not - as Jenn pointed out in her post - we can't dismiss things like Second Life or (gulp!) Twitter. I don't get them - but I can't really figure them out if I don't do more than tip my toe into the technology waters. And I certainly can't prepare students for tomorrow without them.

Jenn talks about getting old - I'm not sure it's an age thing but a lack of awareness and "common sense". Just watch this video of Larry Lessig (creator of Creative Commons)and you'll see what I mean. As Larry says, we made mix tapes, our kids are making mash-ups; we watched tv, our kids are creating tv. The Internet is not just for information anymore - it is for creating, publishing, collaborating. What are you afraid of?

Bah Humbug!

A few weeks ago, I saw this video and like many educators was deeply moved by the statements the students were making. It reminded me why I should bite the bullet and step into Second Life, why we need to take risks and explore technology, even when it seems frivolous or non-educational related. I saw it as a video that put into meaningful images what it means to be a student growing up a time when CD's have ALWAYS existed, Jay Leno has ALWAYS been on TV, and the Berlin Wall was torn down before you were born. I'm not a spring chicken. There are times when I feel old and am now asking all of my friends and loved ones. If I ever badmouth technology, beat me with a printer cable. So, yes, I suppose I'm calling this guy old. Not clever, not witty, but I have lost my capacity for articulate speech.

I re-read his commentary, looking for a quote to respond to and I can't force myself to highlight and copy anything he's written. I can't even find anything reasonable in his argument that makes me question why I adore this video so much. So we're not all fans of the phrase Web 2.0 but calling the professor incompetent? Bashing our profession? That's what he saw? Wow. Wow. Really, that's the extent of my vocabulary right now.

I saw an ad on the NYC subway last week that made me grin. Do we get old when we stop eating peanut butter or do we get old because we stop eating peanut butter? Don't know what it was for (I'll assume peanut butter) but it came to mind when I finally took a deep breath after reading his post.

Are we officially old when we see an articulation of technology that has emerged among the generation after us and bad-mouth the users rather than investigate the possibilities?

I really, really, really hope I never get old.