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Action Research Project Stage 2:
Implementation and delivery


OUR PROJECT RESEARCH QUESTION:

Will the use of e-learning tools encourage/assist students to become self-directed learners?


Actions: Preparation (List actions as you identify them)

September 11
Uploaded half a dozen audio files
September 19
All students actively using the wiki. Using it for comments following field trips and excursions as a way to reflect and journal.
Talk of using the wiki by one student as a way to communicate and continue her education if she decides to move to the northern territory to work with indigenous communities.
All students actively using wiki downloading assessment tasks and accessing class handouts.
They also use the wikis to discuss assignments.
September 24
Coonara accepted a free trial of the private label wikis. Unfortunately when we were moved over to the new address all extra formatting and most importantly the discussions weren't carried over. Caused a big dilemma. They are still accessible at the old address.

Achievements (List them as they happen and when)
Students organising own excursions and workshops through wiki.
Suggestion by a student with learning difficulties to record units like a talking book.
One student, after acting as a mentor to other students, has changed her career path and decided she would like to teach information technology to adults in the future.
All Certificate 2 students have successfully completed the final three units of their qualification during the course of this project using the wiki and new technology.

Reflections
Worked on windows movie maker to present a package on the progress of the wiki.
Extremely frustrating program for some reason as kept on losing the pictures and spent probably 14 extra hours repeating everything
Satisfied with the end result but worked hard for it!
Next time I will only work on one computer.
I believe this project was extremely successful and our proposed outcomes were achieved.
I gave the students autonomy over the site. Throughout its creation I constantly asked for feedback and encouraged their involvement of its design. I believe giving them ownership of the site also increased their enthusiasm.
Having an enthusiastic mentor as a student in the class definitely helped the learner outcomes. She would leave discussions on the wiki and allow other students to participate. Whenever discussions were posted the student was always extremely quick to post replies to maintain enthusiasm and engagment.
The fact that I am pressed for time with a full-time workload I valued the students prompt replies to messages and the response was extremely positive.

Three achievements
Learners - increased self-confidence.
Teachers - introduced to a whole new suited of e-learning tools.
Organisation - Proved that new technology is an option we can use.

What success looks like.
All students passed the units.
One student entered full-time employment.
One unit will be delivered completely on-line in 2008.
Use of wikis will be embedded in all accredited courses from 2008.

Project Management support
It has been extremely valuable as a tutor to have the continued support of a mentor, Lynne Gibb. Whenever problems cropped up with technology (as they often do) Lynne was my right hand in assisting me to jump over the hurdle. This model worked very well for us with the team approach and having the mentor on the premises and of course on-line and actively using the wiki herself. Having the full support of our team leader has given us licence to experiment and find creative ways to use the wiki, for the benefit of students.



Evidence/Data Collection
Timetable? Sample content? Enrolments? E-mails? Publicity brochures? Photos?
Evidence is on our wiki: www.cert2and3commwork.wikispaces.com and www.moment-in-time.wikispaces.com
I have produced a digital story using movie maker that outlines the journey of the project. I will be showing it at the Converge conference in Geelong on November 2, 2007, and copies will be available.

THE LAST THOUGHT: Resolutions (If I were to do this again, at this stage I'd...)

If I were to do this again I would recommend allowing more time for the students to feel comfortable with the technology. Another problem was student wiki training wasn't timetabled in my class sessions so felt a lot of pressure incorporating the new technology learning with the standard timetable. I had students come in on their days off to make up for it, which put more pressure on the them as well. I would recommend that if wikis are to be incorporated in future classes that adequate time for learning new technology is timetabled in for students. As some of the technology was very new to me I spent many, many extra unpaid hours familiarising myself with it. This needs to be considered in future projects.