Action Research

Final Document

 

pepperdine university
omet

xing king


What actions I took to make changes

In Cycle One, I integrated the use of asynchronous and synchronous communication in a networked environment into my classroom activities and student's regular homework assignments during the first quarter.  Through those learning activities, students and I found that the synchronous and asynchronous communication technologies served as great tools to facilitate our learning activities.

I also designed a project for Chinese III and Chinese IV students to collaborate on designing and developing their projects. It was a project that the students in a group put together to be viewed as a teaching tool for their classmates or other people who had never learned the materials. The project consisted of four parts, grammar instruction, background and culture information, the use of any multimedia technology for presentation, and self-reflection on this learning. The students spent two days a week in the computer lab collaborating on their projects. I saw them asking questions to each other, and helping each other solve problems. They all enjoyed this project learning.

To see how Vygotsky's theory applied to my classroom, I conducted a Case Study in the first cycle. This case study showed the importance of the sociocultural context in relation to our learning and development. In a Vygotsky model classroom, a teacher creates social environments of what the students could achieve independently, and what the student could achieve with assistance from more capable peers. One way a teacher could encourage socialization is to create group activities. Through social interaction with peers in group activities, students could verbalize their thinking, and deepen their understanding.

From my observation in cycle one, I found that when students were working together in the computer lab planning and discussing their projects, and solving their problems collaboratively, they were deeply involved in the learning. Based on this leaning, I wanted to find out from my Cycle Two research if the project that the students designed would allow them to get a new sense of themselves as learners. In Cycle Two, students designed a project to engage in the student-centered learning where students taught themselves. My role in this project was to facilitate student's learning. I divided the class into small learning circles, and each learning circles designed its lesson plans/big ideas, created its timeline, made rubrics for assessment, and prepared the lessons that they would teach their classmates. The learning circles then took turn to teach the lessons. Each circle employed a unique, creative, and efficient way of teaching. They not only wanted to make sure that their classmates received a deep understanding of the materials, but also they liked to see the classmates to learn in a fun and interactive way.

Another interesting activity that all of my students participated in was to build good rapports with their e-pals in China. They exchanged emails with their Chinese e-pals, and some sent to each other pictures. Some students designed virtual gifts with technologies to introduce the American culture to their e-pals for the Christmas holiday. The purpose of this activity was to learn the language and culture from the native speakers.

Students then made portfolios of their first semester reflecting upon their various projects and learning. Emphasis was placed on reflection. Students had to be specific and look at the Rubric for each assignment as they thought about their work. I also examined the portfolios for evidence of meta cognition.

Through the email exchanging activities with their e-pales, students built a good rapport with their Chinese peers. I felt the students' passion and excitement about the learning opportunities with the native speakers. With the technologies available for the distance learning, they wanted to gain the authentic learning experience. Based on this discovery from Cycle Two, in Cycle Three, , I wanted to know whether the collaborative learning with the native Chinese students would increase my students' opportunities to use the language, and help them learn the language more effectively. In creating a Curriculum that supported collaborative learning opportunities and experience, I facilitated learning through constructivist Project-Based Learning (PBL). Students were introduced essential/big idea questions and desired understanding for this unit so that they understood what would be learned and why. Students discussed what they wanted to learn from their peers in China , and then they sent the questions to China, and received answers from their Chinese peers. The final product was the demonstration co-created by the students. Communicating with their cross-cultural buddies was an on-going activity that supported the primary, essential learning question of the unit.

 

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