Jeremy O'Shea

Applying Educational Technology in Technology Education

Category: Research Methods

Basic Principles Of Multimedia Learning (EDCI 570/71 Assignment) – Sean, Jeremy, Clay

In the introduction article, multimedia is defined by presenting both words (spoken or printed text) and pictures (illustrations, photos, animation or text). Multimedia teaching is presenting words and pictures that are intended to promote learning by building mental representation from words and pictures, in order to teach a deeper understanding of concepts rather than words alone. There are over 20 principles of multimedia instructional design .


Split-Attention Principle

The split attention principle happens when the learner must focus on two or more sources of instructional information simultaneously to understand the material. This in turn adds a stress to the cognitive load of the learner which slows the learning process. For example, a worksheet with instructions on one side of the page and a diagram on the other requires the learner to read the instructions, hold that knowledge, scan the diagram (while still holding that knowledge), and then attempt to apply/combine that knowledge with the diagram. If the concept is too complicated for the learner, their attempts at understanding the information may be slowed or halted.

By integrating separate instructional material into a single form, the cognitive load is lessened, and learning and performance generally increases. To build on the previous example an educator could take the information from one side of the page and break it into parts, applying it to the diagram when and where it is required to be the clearest. This in turn will allow the learner to focus in one place and see where that information will be applied as well.

There has been some interesting research done into the split attention principle. Some surprising research by Sweller and Chandler (1994) and Chandler and Sweller (1996) suggested that students learning to use a computer program who initially learned strictly from using integrated learning techniques and no computers met greater learning outcomes than students who learned using a computer-based information and a manual. This initially sounds counter intuitive to the learning process but demonstrates the effect split attention instruction can have on a learner.


Modality Principle 

The modality effect or principal exists when learning occurs through a mixed-mode (partly visual and partly auditory) presentation instead of a single mode of presentation. This creates a balance in the visual and auditory pathways and does not create an extraneous cognitive load.

  • Mousavi, Low and Sweller (1995 )The modality principle works under the same conditions of the split-attention principle.
  • It is essential that the auditory information is necessary to understand the visual information and that it is not redundant (Kalyuga, Chandler and Sweller ( 2000 ).
  • Modality effect depends on the logical relationship between the sources of information and that the information is connected, similar to the split attention effect. 
  • Mayer & Moreno (1998) Modes that over-stimulate the visual or auditory pathways inhibits the learning process.
  • Using graphics and narration in lessons establishes a balance between visual and verbal channels, allowing processing in working memory. 
  • An example of the above, is showing a screenshot of information (graphic) and narrating (auditory) along with it which allows a balance between the visual and verbal processing channels. This allows for essential information to be processed and avoids creating an extraneous cognitive load. 
  • Alternatively, animations (graphic) grouped with only text (visual) can overload the visual channel making it much more difficult for the learner to process the information.   

With teachers using technology in the classroom it is important to keep the modality principle active in your practice. Children can easily become overwhelmed by stimulation from media and by controlling the modes by which information is communicated you increase the opportunities for successful learning. 


Redundancy Principle

The redundancy principle effect happens when information is presented in multiple forms simultaneously, such as a picture with words describing said picture. By adding further information to a full body of information learners may become confused.  A further example would be, adding a summarization to a full body of information. Excluding this info may be better for learning, by eliminating redundancy.

Much like the split-attention principle, having to coordinate resources (i.e. visual and audio) requires a heavy cognitive load and may prevent learning success. To prevent redundancy, any repeated information should be removed.

Often, educators feel that presenting information in varying forms is more advantageous (or at least neutral) to having only one. This assumption has been proven incorrect by current research into students and the cognitive loads they can handle during the learning process.  


Signaling principle

The signalling principle explains how a signal or cue can have a learner fixate on information that is deemed important or crucial in a topic. Fixating is a way to view how a learner can focus on one particular component of what they are trying to learn in order to lessen their cognitive load during a lesson.

While learning something which is delivered or supplemented with multimedia, a teacher can use the technological properties of the media to cue fixation. For example, a student could be presented with a diagram of an internal combustion engine. The first part of the lesson could be to learn what a piston is. Using an animation or slideshow, the main block of the engine could be greyed-out or fogged and only the details of the piston would remain.

Research was conducted to ascertain which method of multimedia signalling was the most beneficial to learning. Some examples are: Visual paragraphs with colored words, visual paragraphs with narration, pictures with colored portions, pictures with on-screen text bubbles…and so forth. 

The researchers found that there was no ‘perfect’ method for multimedia delivery, and suggested that it was likely that certain delivery methods would have their own best fit for use, depending on the content.

In relation to the theme of the chapter, I found it quite that this principle and research offered some answers to questions about multimedia learning, such as:

  • What are the consequences of adding pictures to words? 
  • What happens when instructional messages involve both verbal and visual modes of learning? 
  • What affects the way that people learn from words and pictures? 

However, I believe the most important part of the signalling principle research was the use of eye-tracking. When possible, researchers tracked the physical position and fixation of participants’ eyes in order to ascertain what cues they responded to. Mayer favors learner-centered approaches in regards to multimedia learning. Perhaps, in subsequent research, the development and improvement of eye tracking software could be used to answer his question “How can we adapt multimedia to enhance human learning?”


Click here to watch explanatory video

Research, Technology, and the Classroom

This week I read K-12 online learning journal articles: trends from two decades of scholarship by Arnesen et al, Trends in mobile technology-supported collaborative learning: A systematic review of journal publications from 2007 to 2016 by Qing-Ke et al, and Developing an Understanding of the Impact of Digital Technologies on Teaching and Learning in an Ever-Changing Landscape by Voogt et al. These articles/chapters offered insight into the trends of research in the last two decades in relation to technology in the classroom. They offered insight into important topics such as group demographics, group size, tech and mental load, and technology and the teaching profession. The articles offer a interesting look into how educational technology is being researched, by who, and what methods they are using to do it.

Research on Technology in the Classroom:

It is suggested in the articles that there is a growing trend for technology in education and that the trend will continue to grow in the coming years. This mean that educators need to be aware of what their options are and know how to implement them. This sounds easier than it is as technologies can come and go so quickly that it can be difficult to know what will stick around and what won’t. I personally hesitate to jump on a new technology until it proves itself and finds a footing in the field. There are many reasons for this, but a large factor is prep time and school budget restraints. Ultimately, this growing trend for tech in education will require more research into education technology which means a growing need for more researchers.

One thing that struck as interesting when reading the articles is how a relatively small group of authors can have such a large impact on an area of study. As educational technology in its modern form is relatively new it is to be expected that there would be few contributors to researching in the discipline. They are assets to their area of study, but I feel the subject matter would be better served with more input from a more well-rounded group of researchers to allow the introduction of other approaches to the subject matter. This opinion is not to take away from the work researchers have done and are doing. More collaboration and sharing of different ideas and take on the subject would help broaden the research in the area.  After all, is it not the take of the authors to encourage collaborative learning?

In recent years there has been extra emphasis put on collaborative learning in education circles. This is generally a positive thing as it is realistic of most jobs and careers students will take on in adulthood. There are very few jobs where you don’t work with others in some capacity to a goal. It also allows students to socialize and work together to overcome problem or achieve a goal. The struggle most teachers run into is deciding how to best make up said groups for the best learning dynamics.

Group Demographics and Size:

Research into group lessons using tech has found that most teachers group students of similar knowledge levels in the same groups to maximize their learning potential. This allows the students to make learning progress without retreading old, already learned, territory. In my robotics classroom we group up often to take on challenges. Usually I try mix my groups levels of skill, knowledge, and learning styles despite the research focusing on otherwise. My reasoning is that a mixed group will allow the more knowledgeable students to take on a leadership role and share their knowledge with the others in the group. Also, having students with different skills and approaches is well suited to robotics as there are many roles that need to be taken on and requires many different types of skills. For example, a robotics competition requires a team to build a robot, program it, journal daily progress, and even raise funding for parts and trips. I have not met a student yet who could take on all those roles by themselves. I couldn’t do it myself either. This is where having a diverse group helps. It is unfortunate that there isn’t more research into students being grouped based on their learning styles.

Most research shows teachers usually group students into pairs or groups of 4, allowing for students to pair off. Most teachers avoid not have larger groups for fear of student redundancy, but it is suggested that technology allows for extra students to remain involved, via self learning, despite a groups size. This is under the assumption that the student is engaged to begin with. It also allows a student who is less social an easy way out of group work. I find large groups to be overwhelming and without someone taking charge of organizing, students become lost or choose to slip through the cracks.

I have found in my robotics class that when doing group work which utilizes technology that I have to have groups of preferably 4 because robots are expensive, and my budget cannot cover having one for each student or even for them to work in pairs with one robot to share. Furthermore, 4 makes a good number because it allows everyone to have a job, whether that be robot builder, programmer, leader, or documentation keeper/organizer. There is also room for those four students to do a little of all the other jobs as well, of course.

Mobile Learning and Mental Load

There is little research about mobile collaborative learning that focus’ on cognitive load and learning anxiety often attributed to subjects like mathematics. Focus is generally on sciences and social sciences where learning is generally more relaxed and freer. Although I do feel more research needs to be done in this area, I am curious if the overall cognitive load and anxieties around math, even without mobile learning, already suggests an answer. Most students are very stressed about mathematics, even without technologies involvement. Student depending, I’m not sure adding mobile tech would alleviate that.

Technology and Teaching

It is disappointing that there is little research into teacher and professional development using mobile technology. It seems backwards and perhaps a little hypocritical to not implement tech in the profession and then expect it in the classroom. There are likely a couple factors as to why this is the case. First, if the teacher and administration are not prepared to buy into such a thing then it will never happen. Last year our school introduced an app for students and teachers to use to keep track of students for a “focus block,” a class where students can go to any teacher for extra help or special lessons. Fortunately, the school embraced the app and it is now in its second year running. Meanwhile another school in the district did not so lovingly embrace the app and this year they have discontinued its use.



Arnesen, K.T., Hveem, J., Short, C.R. West, R.E.  & Barbour, M.K.  (2019) K-12 online learning journal articles: trends from two decades of scholarship, Distance Education, 40(1), 32-53, https://DOI: 10.1080/01587919.2018.1553566

Qing-Ke Fu, Q-K., & Hwang, G-J. (2018). Trends in mobile technology-supported collaborative learning: A systematic review of journal publications from 2007 to 2016.  Computers & Education, 119, pp. 129-143,

Voogt, J., Knezak, G., Christensen, R., & Lai, K-W. (2018). Developing an Understanding of the Impact of Digital Technologies on Teaching and Learning in an Ever-Changing Landscape. In J. Voogt, G. Knezak, R. Christensen, & K-W, Lai (Eds.) Second Handbook of Information Technology in Primary and Secondary Education, pp. 3-12. Springer International Handbooks of Education. Springer, Cham.

Battle of the Education Technology Models

Koehler & Mishra’s Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge model (better know as TPACK) presents a method for teachers to develop technology into their teaching practice while trying to maintain a balance of its primary elements: technology, pedagogy, content, and knowledge. By understanding TPACK’s main principals a teacher will be better able to understand the different types of technology levels, when they should be best utilized, and how. These levels are outlined in Romrell, Kidder, & Wood’s Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition model (SAMR).


TPACK Model: Koehler, M & Mishra, P. (2009)


The SAMR model is broken into its four core sections:

Substitution – Technology is used as a substitute for a lesson with no real change to the way the lesson is done.

Augmentation – Technology is used as a substitute for a lesson with functional changes to the way the lesson is done.

Modification – Technology allows for a redesign of the lesson

Redefinition – Technology allows for the lesson to be done in a way it could not have been done without the technology

SAMR, as outlined by its authors, breaks down the varying levels in which technology can be applied to a lesson or learning activity. If applied correctly SAMR and TPACK can work well together in guiding educators to finding and implementing tech into their classroom.  But that does not mean that everything that SAMR and TPACK offer is appropriate or correct.

When reading about how the authors of SAMR felt it should be implemented I felt they went a little too far and were rigid in their assessments.  They claim that redefinition, and to a lesser extent modification, are what educators should be always striving to achieve in their technology focused lessons. I hesitate to agree with them under the principle that it is important not to lose sight of the goals of your lesson/exercise. If the goal is to learn the tech, then these focus’ may be appropriate but otherwise it is possible for the tech to suddenly overshadow the point of the lesson. When building a lesson with tech a teacher should ask themselves, is the tech distracting from the point of the lesson and the research methods? If so, it may be necessary to reassess the use of said tech. The SAMR model appears to focus on the tech over the learning goals/outcomes and that is why it needs to be paired with the TPACK model.  Together, an educator will have a guideline in which to assess and implement tech into their curriculum.

SAMR further pushes mLearning as the future of tech in the classroom. I mostly agree with the merits of the technology and do see in the future a greater implementation of the tech but, for now, we are limited by budget and equity concerns.  Schools have limited budgets and, in the school I teach at, a device is not supplied or available for every student. Because of this, their can be a divide among the students who have devices and those who do not. Due to this reason I occasionally hesitate to endorse the strict use of mobile learning without a way for the “have not” students to participate as well.

MLearning does have its advantages as outlined by Romrell, Kidder, & Woods. Mobile devices do allow for students to be situated and connected with a personalized device of their own. This can help students learn quicker and with more familiarity than if they used an unfamiliar device. A drawback of personalization is that students can have apps and games on their devices that distract from the learning process. Most students I have interacted with can overcome the temptation to play games but there are a few that cannot make it through a class without playing one much to the detriment of their engagement and education.


Romrell, Kidder, & Woods (2014)


It’s important to remember that the realities of teaching are that most educators are generally not well versed in making mobile apps or building with technology and it is not reasonable to expect them to be. Teachers can utilize apps and tech, but it is unlikely they will have the time, resources, or knowledge to create them. Most teachers are at the mercy of tech developers and generally they are not giving their products away without a price tag or other monetary motives which can open up questions of ethics among other things.

TPACK offers the superior model for implementing tech into lessons when compared to SAMR. SAMR does have its merits in outlining what levels of tech implementation are available and what they are. The real challenge id for educators to apply the correct level of tech with the pedagogical goals of their lessons.

To conclude I will leave you with this quote from Koehler & Mishra (2009):

“Teaching with technology is a difficult thing to do well. The TPACK framework suggests that content, pedagogy, technology, and teaching/learning contexts have roles to play individually and together. Teaching successfully with technology requires continually creating, maintaining, and re-establishing a dynamic equilibrium among all components.”



Hamilton, E.R., Rosenberg, J.M. & Akcaoglu, M. (2016). The Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition (SAMR) Model: a Critical Review and Suggestions for its Use.

Koehler, M. & Mishra, P. (2009). What is Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)?. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70. Waynesville, NC USA: Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education.

Romrell, D., Kidder, L.C., Wood, E. (2014).The SAMR model as a framework for evaluating mLearning. Online Learning Journal, 18(2).

TechTrends 60(5), 433-441.

The Relationship of Educational Instruction and Technology

Clark and Kozma’s great media debate raises the question, does the medium in which instruction is given effect the learning of students or is it instructional method that dictates a lessons success? It’s an intriguing question that I believe both Clark and Kozma make good points to back up their respective arguments. These arguments were last made in the mid-nineties and now, in a much more technological age, Becker chimes in with their opinion focusing on games used for educational purposes.

Clark, Kozma, and Becker’s Positions

Clark sees media as a tool to present instruction in a more efficient manner.  He further adds that media does not influence learning under any circumstance. Media may save money, time, and be convenient but it is only traditional instructional methods being implemented to a new medium.

Kozma argues to the contrary of Clark saying, a student’s style of learning can be best suited using specific types of media and help an educator present information in a meaningful and more understandable way than if using other forms of media or tradition education methods.

Becker adds to the argument that a good educational game requires both good educational design and game design. They cannot be forced onto each other. So, it is more than using traditional instructional methods and becomes its own entity.

Reflections on the Debate

Upon initially reading Clark’s position I felt that what he was saying made sense to a point.  Certainly, traditional instructional methods are reused and adapted to new medias. I think it is fair to say that educators don’t want an emphasis on medium over instruction. Often when this happens, the new technology is embraced and then quickly fades into obscurity. Tradition instructional methods have their merits and need to be considered when using various mediums for the best learning outcomes. It is still important to the learning process that information be demonstrated, learned, and then applied in some relevant manner.

Kozma’s position felt more insightful and predictive of what future technology was going to have to offer education in the coming years. It’s important to recognize that not all students learn the same way and that some methods are more engaging than others. Essentially, different methods can have better results in important ways. I know in my practice, that students respond far better to me showing them a concept rather than talking about it.  Arguably, new media can be used in a way of showing/doing a lesson that essentially ups the ante. Students become more engaged, it allows them to participate or even, gods forbid, be entertained, with the lesson.

We are in a very different age than the mid 90’s when Clark and Kozma were having their “Great Media Debate.” Then, the internet was a baby and household computers were not overly common. Now, we have smart phones and portable gaming devices. Students are surrounded by competing mobile entertainment! As an educator it can be difficult to keep student’s attention when they can check social media on their phone and interact with their friends whenever they want via text message. Educators have an uphill battle at times. Employing the same or similar media to educate, or fighting fire with fire, may be required to combat this new reality.

Adding to the debate Becker points out, and I think Kozma would agree, there is a reason that NASA employs simulation machines and doesn’t just require astronauts to only read up on spacecraft control theory.  Interactive mediums offer the opportunity allow practice and skills growth when it otherwise could not be done or would not be cost effective.

Booker further notes that gamification in education is not only an alteration of instructional methods. Gamification utilizes traditional instructional methods, but it requires a serious understanding of how a good video game is made to make a good/effective educational game. Even standard entertainment-based video games use (usually subtle) instruction to teach the user how to navigate the game. But games can take on a life of their own.  You are no longer a passive learner. You are making the learning happen, you are a part of it, and I think that is the key point to understand. Educational video games allow the user/learner to be actively engaged in a way no other medium does.


Clark, R.E. (1994). Media will never influence learning. Educational Technology Research and Development. 42 (2),  21-29.

Kozma, R.B. (1994). Will media influence learning? Reframing the debate. Educational Technology Research and Development. 42 (2), 17-19.

Becker, K. (2010). The Clark-Kozma Debate in the 21stCentury. Paper presented at the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education 2010 Conference. Published under Creative Commons. (

Future Trends in Education Technology

As a Technology Education teacher, keeping up with the latest trends in educational technology is extremely important.  It can be exciting to see what new programs, apps, and tech are being implemented in the classroom, but it can also be scary and overwhelming in the pace that new tech is being developed. I have found it important to connect with other teachers to communicate what tech is working for them and what is not.  It is too easy to jump on new tech that looks cool and useful only to find out that the technology has very limited educational application and does not lend itself well to the learning process. It is especially important to be aware of some tech’s possible shortcomings as it can be expensive and high schools have limited budgets.  For this reason, I generally use caution and wait for a technology to prove itself a little first before investing money and preparation time into it. But new educational tech is not all doom and gloom, it can also be extremely helpful in implementing exciting and efficient ways to communicate ideas and challenge students in their learning and understanding of the world and their place in it.

As an electronics / robotics teacher, using coding, cloud based collaborative learning, and prototyping via 3D printing have quickly found a home in my classroom. These technologies have taken the subject matter and really opened it up for every student. Students are now able to communicate both in class and out, using cloud/collaborative apps such as Google Docs and it has never been easier to share and refine ideas.  Robotics and coding have helped my students develop their critical thinking, explore iteration, and logic skills which, as many educational technology trend articles have described (see below for article links), are projected to be valued skills in future employment opportunities. With the advent of lower cost 3D printers’ students can now readily design and prototype ideas, taking the digital and turning it into the physical.  Being able to take the idea of a concept and putting it into practice allows students to connect the entire design & production process from beginning to end. These types of tech have changed the way my classes are taught and made the learning process more efficient and effective.

Unfortunately, not all tech is as applicable to education (or, at least, my taught subjects). I have played around with augmented reality (AR) apps such as HP Reveal, as noted on the Tech & Learning website, and I have found that, although the technology looks really cool it is difficult to implement unless it is guaranteed that every student has a device (which my students do not). As a technology education teacher, I bristle at the idea of virtual reality (VR) in my classroom.  I pride myself on giving students a hands-on experience and the idea of putting on a head set or staring at a Chrome Book and “virtually” cutting wood or driving a robot does not interest me. What is the point of pretending to do something in a virtual landscape when you can do it in real life!? I do understand that it can be utilized in demonstrating things that are too expensive or prohibitive to do normally, such as a virtual surgery as noted in multiple articles (see below), but if the VR system is only being used for one application it will likely not be cost effective for a high school purchase. I agree with the Top Hat blog in their assessment that VR & AR have limited appeal and very specific use and need, otherwise they are a fun distraction. It should be noted that VR and AR could be adapted well in situations where students have a disability and can not participate in the traditional hands-on projects.

Educational technology has helped streamline the classroom and make learning more fun and effective for students. This makes pursuing it worth the time, although I do have some criticisms. Firstly, digital security can be a difficult to manage. Can I store information on this server? Is the information safe? Could I lose my work, or my students work, if the tech closes? All these things and more need to be addressed when using tech in the classroom.

Secondly, as technology rapidly changes it is important to remember that not all changes are necessarily good if not addressed critically.  In the Holland & Holland article it discusses the idea of having internet access everywhere which would allow down time to become more effectively used.  Although they immediately state they are not advocating a 24/7 work schedule, the thought made my skin crawl.  Most people would agree that having internet access everywhere would be great and allow flexible work hours. That is not being debated but it leaves wiggle room for abusive employers to demand more work from their employees. This can already be seen with people sometimes being expected to monitor emails even when off the clock or working from home outside the regular business day.

Tech in the classroom has helped prepare students for the realities of the future job market, broadening their understanding of the world and their ability to be adaptable and think critically. Overall, tech in the classroom is a good thing but it needs to be approached with care, respect, and mindfulness. Like our parents and their parents before them, we want a safe and bright future for our students, and we want them to have the best we can give them.



Putting Social Media and Research Methods into Practice (Final Blog)

How Research Diaries Can be Used to Better Research and be Used Via Social Media/Online Blogs:

I have written diaries on and off in my life and I always find value in them. They are a great way to record your thoughts in the moment and to reflect on what you have been doing/learning in a meaningful way.  In the two summer courses I am currently taking, EDCI 515 & 568, I have been tasked with keeping an online diary (blog) of my reflections on the academic readings and class time. I feel this is a smart approach to the courses as it is extremely condensed, and the blog forces me to reflect daily, helping me articulate my thoughts and challenge my knowledge.

Research diaries, as discussed by M. Engin in Research Diary: A Tool for Saffolding, allow the researcher and opportunity to reconnect with earlier research in the point of view of the researcher when the observations were made. This prevents the researcher from retroactively altering the way they perceived their past research and allows them to connect with the research process in a stronger and deeper way.

Using a blog, such as this one, as a research diary throughout my master’s program will serve in a similar way, affording me the opportunity to reflect and reconnect with past work. Online and offline programs, such as OneNote, Diigo, Trello, or Zotero, can be used to aid in the moderation of research and organize it for later consumption.

I have used a diary system in the past in my robotics courses to help students keep track of their progress and to help them reflect on what they have and need to accomplish. I find that, despite initial resistance, students do find them useful and by the end are glad they put in the effort.  I intend employ the blog method in the coming semester, expanding on my previously offline method. It would likely ease the work load and allow other students to see what other groups are doing and respond to it, adding another layer of student critique, peer assessment, and the sharing of ideas.  This could in turn lead to further reflection and refinement of their projects potentially making them better.


Ethics, Online rights, and Responsibilities of Use:

The research and design diary system I have used in the past with my students has always been offline.  If I were to move it onto a blog based system or any other online method I would need to be sure to meet BC FIPPA Cloud Guidelines and be conscious of other online ethics concerns.  As a member of a public institute, I am required as a teacher and researcher to make sure my students’ personal information is kept safe from potential online threats. I would need to be sure to use either a service that keeps the information stored in Canadian servers or I would need to gain permission/consent from students and parents to allow for it to be stored elsewhere. This can be a problem when using sites like Google Classroom which are based in the United States.

I have a duty to my students to make them aware of the potential harms that can come with being online and sharing one’s personal information. They need to understand that what is posted to the internet can very rarely be taken off. They are leading the way into a new frontier and we are all playing catch up. They will be the first generation to have had the internet their whole lives and we are only now starting to understand the good and bad or what that means.

Continuing on the theme of research and ethics, Alexandra D’Arcy explores in IRBs, researchers, and the gathering of data from social media the importance of being an ethical researcher. We were fortunate enough to have Dr. D’Arcy, former head of the UVIC Ethics Board, join us in class to discuss ethics and research with us. She stressed the importance of maintaining high ethical standards in our research.  She made clear how difficult it can be at times navigating the line between private and public material/information when collecting data and when it is necessary to gain consent from the public to minimize harm, risk, and confidentiality breaches. I found it particularly interesting how, as a teacher, I can make observations of how lessons and projects go and then make changes based on the in-class research/assessment I do. But if I record that data and report it without consent from each individual student and their parent, I would be breaching ethical standards.  Her overall message was, if you aren’t sure it’s ethical you should ask the ethics board.


Professionals and Students on Social Media and its Potential Perceptions:

Research, such as George Veletsianos Public comment sentiment on educational videos and Women Scholars’ Experiences with Online Harassment and Abuse demonstrates some of the potential dangers that social media can pose for students and professionals. Velentianos’ research suggests that females generally receive more negative comments/social interaction when online. This research would make a great opener for discussion in a classroom on online social behaviour. Students could be asked: Do you believe these results are accurate? Why or why not? Have you experienced this personally? Have you been on both ends of online abuse? What can you do to prevent this kind of behaviour? I think it is safe to say that some social media like Facebook and Twitter can be toxic places and it is up to teachers/parents to inform ourselves and the next generation of how to properly navigate that negative space. It is equally important that we understand the potential abuse women and people of color can face in an online context.

In Twitter Use and its Effects on Student Perception of Instructor Credibility, the authors assert that students perceptions of their teachers/professors changed based on their Twitter use. Personally, I have always hesitated to use social media as a professional. This is perhaps due to my teacher education program instilling a healthy fear of teachers posting the wrong things and getting fired for it.  I think the growing pains of the wild west internet of yesteryear have passed though and it may be time to open myself up a little bit. I think, if utilized responsibly, Twitter and/or a professional blog, can make for a powerful way to connect with students and colleagues to share ideas and help one another grow.

Christine Younghusband, sets a strong example of how Twitter can be used in a positive way on her blog post Evolution of my PLN. Here she outlines the BC EdChat group and demonstrates how it can be used to improve ones teaching practice and network effectively online.


Inquiry Based Research / Learning in the Modern Era:

One of the many things that has drawn me to higher education is the opportunity to conduct a large inquiry project into a subject of my choice. A big part of inquiry-based learning is the research, so it is important to understand the different methods that can be employed. There are the more traditional quantitative and qualitative methods, as well as mixed method, autoethnography, action research, narrative inquiry, phenomenology, and metissage. All these methods have their benefits and draw backs, but I find myself drawn to the more people focused methods, such as autoethnography and narrative inquiry.  Education is a person driven profession and reducing people to numbers or objects does not adequately help the individual student. Perhaps in broad general terms quantitative methods would work best but to be precise in my research I would select another method with a more person centric focus. I find myself drawn to the narrative inquiry method as it, if written well, can pull the reader into the work and entertain while it educates. It can input more feeling and story where often most research is cold and attempts to be overly objective.

Higher based education is based on inquiry research and beginning to take roots at the lower levels of education as well. Jeff Hopkins, who has started the PSII high school in Victoria, or High Tech High in the USA have demonstrated impressive programs that are driven completely by inquiry based learning.  Much of the work I do is at least partially inquiry based as shop classes tend to favour that type of learning.  The practice of full on student led inquiry sounds amazing and I have had some students capable of it but certainly not the majority.  Some students refuse to take the reins to their education and need a lot of encouragement to be pushed into taking ownership of their projects.  Others have become too accustom to traditional teacher led educational systems up and get confused or lost when they are given the freedom to choose their topic of research/learning. Using the competency framework outlined by Jeff Hopkins and the inquiry structure of Trevor MacKenzie, I believe I can find more inquiry learning success in my classroom.

Oddly enough, I think I would need to create more structure in order to make it work.  Students need a clear outline of expectations and they will need proper scaffolding to get them there.  It will be on me to set them in the right direction with the right amount of resources to do the research they need to do.  They will need to learn how to research, work independently and thoughtfully.

Indigenous Education

Idle No More by S. Pete  (2017). (*Chapter 3)

Meschachakanis, A Coyote Narrative: Decolonising Higher Education by S. Pete (2018) (*Chapter 10)

When reading Idle No More and Meschachakanis, A Coyote Narrative: Decolonizing Higher Education by Shauneen Pete, I was teleported back to my teacher education program. Pete, an indigenous resource coordinator and professor, tells of her experiences of exhaustion and conflict with students. This conflict arose when teaching them the importance of indigenous education.  She asserts indigenous education is not “extra” to teaching, education, or the curriculum but is those things.  I remember all too well students within my own education program asking when they were going to “learn how to teach.” I can sympathize with both positions. The students, including myself, knew the system of education they were taught and had expectations that their teacher program would show them how to teach in a similar manner. Furthermore, many other courses in the program set a “classic” or settler focused approach to education. Only a few teachers in my program, much like Pete, challenged those expectations and it made some upset, particularly when many of us were accused of being racist.

It took a lot of time for people to come around to the teachers’ way of thinking.  I recognize now what Pete and my teacher were doing.  They needed to challenge our preconceived notions of education and do it in a startling way.  It worked for some, but it shut a lot of students down as well and caused them to not participate in class other than the bare minimum to pass the course.

I really enjoyed reading Pete’s point of view on this situation.  Having been on the student side it was hard at times to see what the teacher must have been going through. Pete’s words are very eye opening. I am intrigued by Pete’s repeated regrouping and reattempts to integrate indigenous education into her curriculum.  Despite numerous setbacks she was able to try a different angle until she found what worked for her.

Now and educator myself, I see the challenges of Pete’s work and people like her far more clearly then I did when I was in my teacher program. I have tried very hard to teach with an indigenous educational focus in my classroom. Admittedly, I fail more often than I succeed but I feel I am getting better. I include many indigenous projects, such as bentwood boxes, drums, carving, and paddles. When we make these projects, we work through indigenous design and connect with our local community and band, the T’Souke Nation. This is all a start and I still have a long way to go to properly indigenizing my educational methods.

Both articles did challenge me in many ways to improve my classroom. First, I hope to include more information focused on First Nation and Metis artists/carvers/builders. Further, I would like to include projects related to current indigenous issues and concerns.  Instead of giving trinket gifts to elders/role models when they share with my classes, I need have the class and myself do something for them in return for so graciously giving up their time and sharing their knowledge. Lastly, I need to do my own research in how to better indigenize my courses instead of relying on others to do my work for me. I plan to check out the works of Dr. Rauna Kuokkanen & Dr. Marie Battiste, among others, as suggested by Pete.

As research, I find both of Pete’s papers to be very clear and well written.  She has taken an auto-ethnographic approach and inserted elements of story telling which not only enhance her points but also make them more enjoyable and colourful to read.  Her use of “Coyote” as a blunt truth-speaker to her thoughts really emphasizes her points in a fun and engaging way. Her research is important in that it conveys indigenous points of view and the requirements of healthy indigenous education to be implemented into the modern classroom.

Both papers are neither quantitative or qualitative but more based on Pete’s lived experience.  When in class, Pete shared her story and explained her love for story telling. I found the part of her story where she described her dissertation very interesting. Her work was presented in the way of a story rather than traditional academic methods and some judging members of her work were unsure of how to perceive that or whether her work was admissible. The use of story made a great point about traditional academia/education not considering outside or other methods, sent home her point of having to fight constantly for indigenous point of view in education, and did it in an engaging and sympathizing way.

Meeting the Researcher

Public comment sentiment on educational videos: Understanding the effects of presenter gender, video format, threading, and moderation on YouTube TED talk comments by G. Veletsianos, R. Kimmons, R. Larsen, T. A. Dousay & P. R. Lowenthal (2018)

Women Scholars’ Experiences with Online Harassment and Abuse: Self-Protection, Resistance, Acceptance, and Self-Blame by G. Veletsianos, S. Houlden, J. Hodson, &  C. Gosse

In Public comment sentiment on educational videos: Understanding the effects of presenter gender, video format, threading, and moderation on YouTube TED talk comments, G. Veletsianos, R. Kimmons, R. Larsen, T. A. Dousay & P. R. Lowenthal conduct a study on YouTube comment sections of TED talk videos using mostly quantitative research methods.  They explore the positive/neutral/negative connection of the comments section based on the video being presented by a male, female, or animation.  The study found that most comments were neutral.  Furthermore, male presenter’s comment sections were generally more neutral when compared to female presenters whose comment sections were more polarized. It is also suggested that less polarize comment sections could be achieved with the use of animated videos, although this method does put the onus of controlling comments on the presenter and not the commenter.  Interestingly, results assert that negativity in comments begot negativity and the same with positivity.  It is suggested that limiting negative comments may produce a healthier comment section.

Another study, Women Scholars’ Experiences with Online Harassment and Abuse: Self-Protection, Resistance, Acceptance, and Self-Blame by G. Veletsianos, S. Houlden, J. Hodson, &  C. Gosse, uses a qualitative research method, interviewing 14 female scholars about their experiences with online harassment to better understand the coping methods taken by the scholars.  Results found that self protection, resistance, self blame, and/or acceptance of harassment were all used by participants as coping methods.

Both articles assert that harassment of female scholars is more prevalent than it is for their male counterparts.  Implications from the research shows that institutions must take time to warn scholars of the potential hazards of online interaction as they encourage those scholars to have an online presence.  They can do this by providing training for the professional use of social media and demonstrate how they will support faculty being harassed online, both preventatively and otherwise.

It should be noted that neither study explored other potential causes for negative online feedback beyond gender, neglecting factors such as class, ability, religion, or race.  It is entirely possible that one or multiple other factors could have triggered negative responses.  Accounting for this would have greatly improved both studies but also radically expanded their scope and likely would have not been within the studies time frame or budget.  Furthermore, it should be noted that the Women Scholars’ Experience With Online Harassment and Abuse studies participants were all from English speaking countries and were generally affluent.

Both studies appear thoughtful in their approaches despite taking differing methods to reach their conclusions.  I find myself attracted to qualitative research over quantitative as I feel it is more inclusive/equitable and less about turning opinions into numbers.  Qualitative methods appear require more work which can be seen by the 14 interviewees chosen as compared to the Public comment sentiment on educational videos study which uses thousands of anonymous YouTube commenters as their data.

Both articles audiences are post secondary graduate students, academics, and other university/college faculty.  The general message being to both that if they are going to push faculty and online students into a potentially hazardous online space they will need to prepare them for the realities that await them, especially the women.  It is asserted that institutions need to also have female inclusion when addressing online harassment issues in order to make sure that their concerns and needs are met.

In class, we had the pleasure of meeting with a member of both studies, George Veletsianos.  I found meeting the researcher in person to be very interesting.  It is very easy to see researches as faceless people and not recognize the human and humanity behind the research.  One thing that I found very interesting was when George mentioned why they only used 14 interviewees.  I thought the number was exceptionally low but after his explanation that after 14 interviews they were just repeating themselves and not gaining any new knowledge it made a to more sense to me.  George came across as very caring and passionate about his work and I really appreciate his willingness to admit where his weaknesses were and how he would recruit others to help him with his research to make up for those short comings.  Overall the experience was very informative and well worth the time.

Applying Mixed Methodology and Its Effects on Research

History, Biography, Academic Profile:

Alicia O’Cathain (BSc, MSc, MA, PHD) is a professor of health services research at the University of Sheffield where she works to develop and evaluate complex treatments for chronic conditions and lead projects in emergency and urgent care.  O’Cathain’s University of Sheffield’s web page describes here vast catalogue of research journals on methodology in comprehensive detail.  Most of her work has focused on mixed methodological research but has more recently delved into qualitative methods using randomized controlled trials.  This knowledge she shares in workshops and clinics for PhD candidates (“University of Sheffield,” 2018).

The Framework of Mixed Methodology:

In Assessing the Quality of Mixed Methods Research: Toward a Comprehensive Framework, Alicia O’Cathain outlines the basic framework for using a mixed methodology research method.  O’Cathain demonstrates a comprehensive method of mixing qualitative research methods with quantitative research methods.  This mixed method, although more exhaustive, can potentially lead to stronger results and conclusions.

O’Cathain (2010) breaks down the basic framework for mixed methodology into eight parts:

Planning quality outlines the means and approach to the research which is followed by design quality which defends the chosen methodology. This is in turn followed by data quality which upholds the data collection methods and size to be used.  Next interpretive rigor ensures that conclusions are accurate, consistent, and credible which in turn leads to inference transferability which explores if the research can be applied to other contexts.   Reporting quality outlines if the research met it goals and stayed within its means.  This is in turn followed by synthesizability which demonstrates that the research is all the same quality.  Lastly, the utility of the research is explored.  Utility covers who is using the work and for what purpose.

These eight guiding parts are broken down further to ensure that proper guidelines are met and results will be accurate and usable.

Applying Mixed Methodology:

Moving Beyond Cultural Barriers: Successful Strategies of Female Technology Education Teachers by Ray McCarthy and Joseph Berger sets out to assess why female technology education teachers pursued the career path they did and explore why there is such low female representation within the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) field of work.  The researchers used a qualitative research method by interviewing ten female participants of varying ages, all technology education (tech ed) teachers, and comparing their overall responses.  The participants were asked questions over two interview sessions focusing on their lives and upbringing and how they decided to pursue the technology education / STEM career path.  They were also tasked with creating a journal over 14 days which documented influences and transition points that may have led them to their career. (McCarthy & Berger, 2008).

The Research

As the Moving Beyond Cultural Barriers article uses a qualitative research method, a quantitative research approach is required to meet the mixed methodology definition as outlined by O’Cathain. An ideal way to meet that goal would be to expand McCarthy and Berger’s research to include a control population of women who did not go into the STEM field or a career as a technology education teacher.  The research would be further strengthened by increasing the number of the interviewed to a group larger than ten.  It should be noted that this would likely add more cost and time to the project.

Now with a control group, the researchers could sample school transcripts of the women who went into STEM/tech ed with an equal sized random sample of women who did not go into STEM/tech ed. The researchers could then compare two things: course selection and grades in math and sciences.  This information would be used to see if:

  1. there are any correlations between elective choice and future career paths.
  2. there are any correlations between success in math and science and future career paths.

This research would (potentially) give the results a stronger and more accurate depiction of women who both did and did not pursue STEM or tech ed jobs. It would be more thorough and have less margin of error.

The Researcher

The two researchers, McCarthy and Berger, would already have their hands full with all the information they gathered from their initial ten interviews.  Adding a second research method will right away add to the researcher’s financial needs, time requirements, and overall work load.  The researchers would need to create and a apply new framework for the newly added quantitative research.  That would be followed by proceeding with collecting, calculating, and reporting the findings found in the provided transcripts. First, they would have to expand their recruitment efforts to find the women to participate as their control group.  Second, they would be required to acquire multiple transcripts from said control group as well as their original interview group which could prove difficult.

When all the new interviews were completed the researchers would have to reorganize and make new conclusions on their amended interview data and make new conclusions based on an updated assessment.

The Researched

It would be important that all the women interviewed for this research felt comfortable with the experience and that they would be willing to share their transcripts with the researchers.  Failure to meet either of these points would mean that they would need to be replaced with someone who is willing and able to meet these requirements.

All women interviewed would need to be interviewed away from the other interviewees.  Furthermore, they must all be asked the same set of well-crafted questions with no leading input from the researchers.

Transcripts provided would need to be clear and not tampered with in any fashion.  Documents would also be either returned to the rightful owner or destroyed after the research process.

The Reader

With the updated research the reader would have a stronger and more compelling argument defending what methods could be taken to encourage women to pursue careers in STEM and technology education.  Additionally, it would help the reader understand the issues and societal pressures women face in their upbringing and when choosing a career.

These findings could encourage future researchers to conduct studies into what changes can be made to encourage women to pursue the STEM/tech ed fields. It could also be beginning to wider research looking into the effects of class, race, and ability and their impact on women pursuing STEM/tech ed career paths.

Questions and Insights:

The research discussed in the article hopes to challenge stereotypes but in doing so could potentially reinforce them based on outcomes.  Furthermore, in the researchers hope to discover why some women go into STEM and tech ed careers their findings could be interpreted in a way that they had not intended.  For example, it is possible for a reader to write the original interviewees off as female anomalies and conclude that their experiences are “other.”

I do question the choices of the two researchers, McCarthy and Berger, to not find a female researcher to join them in the process.  It is likely that a female researcher could have given female insight and voice to the paper that the two original researches do not have as they do not have the lived experience of a woman.

McCarthy and Berger’s research is well done for a small scale sample but the results would have more strength if the overall sample size of interviewees was larger.  It is possible that their work could lead to a more expanded body of research in the future, paving the way for future growth in an area of focus that has seen little change over the last half century.


McCarthy, R. R., & Berger, J. (2008). Moving Beyond Cultural Barriers: Successful Strategies of Female Technology Education Teachers. Journal of Technology Education, 19(1), 65-79.

Ocathain, A. (2010). Assessing the Quality of Mixed Methods Research: Toward a Comprehensive Framework. SAGE Handbook of Mixed Methods in Social & Behavioral Research, 531-556.

University of Sheffield. (2018, November 01). Health Services Research. Retrieved July 07, 2019, from

Autoethnography & Research Diaries

Autoethnography: An Overview by C. Ellis, T.  E. Adams & A. P. Bochner (2011)


In Autoethnography: An Overview, C. Ellis, T.  E. Adams & A. P. Bochner assert that Autoethnography is the use of self reflection within research to demonstrate the authors experiences as they relate to the research topic.  Autoethnography could impact the research in presenting a differing opinion beyond the perceived default white religious male’s point of view.  It allows a topic to be addressed using differing experiences of race, gender, sexuality, age, ability, class, education, and/or religion.


This type of research is important as it considers differing experiences beyond the “norm.”  Also, it recognizes the differing experiences which affect research and can alter that researches outcomes.  For example, when I worked as a full-time carpenter, my experience would likely have differed from many of the other, mainly white male, employees.  Overall most employees there would have said it was a fair and equal place to work.  Me, a queer man, and the lone female employee that worked there would have a very different view of our experiences on the site.  What most considered idle banter I saw as sexist and occasionally bigoted or racist.  This negative atmosphere eventually led to me leaving the trade on a full-time basis and moving into education.


I find myself drawn to this form of research for many reasons.  Firstly, it helps the reader of the research understand the researcher better and consider points of view beyond their own.  If research is presented in a quantitative method, it is hard for the reader to know the researcher’s biases.  Also, the research is presented in a way that is more personal and allows for the reader to empathize with the researcher through literary means.  People are far more interested in reading a well crafted story than they are a dry research paper.


Research Diary: A Tool for Scaffolding by M. Engin (2011)


I have written diaries on and off in my life and I always find value in them.  They are a great way to record your thoughts in the moment and to reflect on what you have been doing in a meaningful way.  In the summer courses I am currently taking I am tasked with keeping an online diary (blog) of my reflections on the academic readings and class time.  I feel this is a smart approach to the course as it is extremely condensed, and the blog forces me to reflect daily, helping me articulate my thoughts and challenge my knowledge.

I have used a diary system in the past in my robotics courses to help students keep track of their progress and to help them reflect on what they have accomplished and what they need to accomplish.  I find that, despite initial resistance, students do find them useful and by the end are glad they put in the effort.  I have never considered doing the diaries in a blog format and may employ this method in the coming semester.  It would likely ease the work load and allow other students to see what other groups are doing and respond to it, adding another layer of student critique.

Research diaries allow the researcher and opportunity to reconnect with earlier research in the point of view of the researcher when the observations were made.  This prevents the researcher from retroactively altering the way they perceived their past research and allows them to connect with the research process in a stronger way.

© 2019 Jeremy O'Shea

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑