Topic: Using Blended Learning with Special Needs Students
Action research is a step-by-step research method that allows participants to plan, collect and analyze data, reflect, and adapt (Mertler, 2017). It is perfect for teachers as it allows teachers to take control of their classrooms by analyzing their teaching methods and allowing them to make adjustments in order to have better student understanding (Mertler, 2017). This is why we are using action research to help implement blended learning within our school district: teachers will use action research to collect and analyze data to determine which blended learning strategies are best for their courses. After the school year, teachers will reflect on blended learning’s impact on their special needs students and determine if blended learning helped increase student achievement and postsecondary readiness.
To evaluate how blended learning impacts student achievement and postsecondary readiness of special education, English as a second language, and economically disadvantaged students.
How does blended learning impact student achievement and postsecondary readiness of special needs students?
Action Research Methods
Our action research method clarifies why we are on doing our action research, who our participants are, and exactly what data we will collect and analyze. To learn more about our action research methods follow the link below.
To help make the process more efficient teachers will use Google Forms to collect qualitative and quantitative data. Google Forms will allow teachers to write and deliver questionnaires about student preferences towards blended learning activities as well as check for understanding on content objectives. Google Forms allows for short and paragraph answers, checkboxes, multiple choice questions, linear scales, and more.
In addition to Google Forms, teachers will also use learning management systems provided by the school district, these are Skyward and Eduphoria. Both of these learning management systems help track student progress and allow teachers to plan digitally. Both of these systems will be necessary as Eduphoria focuses on district calendar planning, course resources, and marks and tracks student tests completed on scantrons and Skyward focuses on teachers student attendance and daily grades.
This action research plan is not trying to reinvent the wheel. Much research has already been done on blended learning and our action research plan will merely add to a plethora of research that has already taken place. The data and research collected here seeks to add a better understanding of how blended learning impacts special needs students. To see research that is already supporting this action research plan, please visit the link below.
Action Research Plan and Timeline
Stage I – Planning, Summer 2018. Participating teachers, support facilitators, educational technologists, and administrators will begin planning for action research. This will begin with compiling a list of content specific blended learning strategies and using research to decide which blended strategies will work best to raise student achievement and postsecondary readiness within their content and class environment. Next, teachers, support facilitators, educational technologists, and administrators will determine what shall suffice for student adequate progress and concept mastery of content objectives. Teachers, support facilitators, educational technologists, and administrators will then decide on the frequency of data collection and how qualitative and quantitative data will be collected. Finally, teachers, support facilitators, and education technologists will begin creating their digital environment and content using a backwards design planning method.
Stage II – Acting, 2018-2019 School Year. Teachers and support facilitators will begin delivering targeted blended learning strategies to special education, English language learners, and economically disadvantaged students. Teachers and support facilitators will track student progress and preferences by collecting qualitative and quantitative data daily through informal observations, surveys, and student grades. Teachers, support facilitators, administrators will evaluate collected data and determine if students are making adequate progress or achieving concept mastery. Support through the implementation process will come from education technologists, administrators, and other participating teachers.
Stage III – Developing, 2018-2019 School Year. Teachers, support facilitators, education technologists, and administrators will reflect on their initial delivery of content specific blended learning strategies and plan improvements to their quality and effectiveness. Teachers and support facilitators will meet weekly to evaluate and plan increasingly effective blended learning lessons. Teachers, support facilitators, education technologists, and administrators will meet once a month to review blended learning lessons, evaluate student data, plan increasingly effective blended learning lessons, and evaluate the action research process and its’ progress.
Stage IV – Reflecting, Summer 2019. Upon completion of the school year, teachers, support facilitators, education technologists, and administrators will analyze STAAR test results and evaluate the influence of action research. The team will determine if action research was successful in achieving the goal of using blended learning to increase student achievement and postsecondary readiness of special needs students. The team will record their findings, support it through collected data, and reflect if and how action research could help achieve the goal more effective. The team will publish this report and present it to the superintendent, the board of education, campus principals, the director of technology, and other key administrative positions to allow for further experimentation of action research and to allow effective implementation of blended learning into other campuses.
-Repeat process by updating action research plan and goal
Mertler, C. A. (2017). Action research: Improving schools and empowering educators. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
McIntyre, Sarah. (April 2017). Action research in the classroom. Found at https://www.emaze.com/@AQFLWIIF/Untitled.