Master of Arts in Educational Technology (OMET) Pepperdine University  
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Action Research Blog Entry [7-30-2008]

Ironically, I tend to use action research more in my artwork than in my place of employment. Shying away from the certain and precise nature of more conventional methods, I try to use an innovative approach when starting a new painting, experimenting first and then reflecting on the results of that decision, repeating the cycle multiple times until I am pleased with the results. Through this process, I can achieve personal growth and knowledge of the medium. Then, mostly in workshops or small gatherings, I share those learning experiences with fellow watercolor artists as they in turn share their stories of success and failure. At work, we frequently collaborate on projects and proposals across disciplines and departments. Unfortunately, we are not that skilled at sharing this wealth of knowledge with each other or with WestEd as a community. This is unfortunate, as there is much to be gained from such a diverse community of experts. As I reflect on my readings from authors McNiff and Whitehead, I am beginning to realize how I might be able to bring action research into my work environment and improve what already exists; an exceptional capacity for collaboration.

Action Research Blog Entry [7-31-2008]

The action research process is basically an inquiry process —asking questions and searching systematically for answers. But how do I begin this process? What should I be thinking and inquiring about? Authors McNiff and Whitehead emphasize early in their book, All You Need to Know about Action Research, that the focus should be on the "process of the research" and how it can influence and change my practices and not others. They stress the use of “I” when formulating an idea for a project. By asking, “How can I …” or “My concern is…” which naturally calls attention to my personal values. Another method, that I find more comfortable and compelling, is to ask my fellow employees what their concerns are and in that way their concerns could help me find or focus on my own.

I came to VirtCamp with huge visions of how I could change the world of education through my action research project. Thank goodness Margaret Riel was there and cautioned against using such a broad approach for my research project, warning that a thematic concern this extensive would require massive research and much time. She said to pick something in my workplace that was relevant and manageable. It was excellent advice! I was finally able to calm down and focus on a much narrower topic—studying my own practice in order to improve it.

I am pleased that these same authors want us to bring our personal truths and ethics into the action research project. I wonder, and am extremely anxious, where this journey will take me. I plan on journaling the cyclical planning, action and reflections as the story evolves. I am grateful to have my cohort by my side on this tremendous opportunity of learning and discovery.

Action Research Blog Entry [8-20-2008]

I have spent the good part of the last four days, (before and after work, during lunch hours and in between OMET assignments) learning Dreamweaver in order to design my web page. I was so happy to have created all the pages, ppt's to movies, embed graphics, etc. and then, not to be able to upload it. Ah technology! I felt lost and alone until a I Skyped a couple of our cadre pleading for help. Dan, Edgar, and Chris attempted to come to my rescue sending me screen shots, etc., but to no avail. It was my son who finally took a look at my local files and saw a problem. He told me how to fix it and I did and up it went. I am a long way from being done, in fact, there are many flaws but it is up and running! If you would like to see it, please go to http://students.pepperdine.edu/klepori/ and check it out.

Designing my Pepperdine web site turned out to be HARD FUN and I learned something through the PROCESS. As I focus on my Action Research Project, I become more aware of how needed a synchronized techno-based support group is within my company. It is a win, win, win proposition - helping me and my peers, our clients and WestEd all at the same time.