Enter the SHARK Tank…if you dare…

By Mary Patterson
In an effort to continue the researcher- teacher collaboration discussion, Principle Investigators (PIs) got to pitch their research idea to a team of educators at the Cyberlearning 2015 Conference.  The educators asked the researchers questions about time constraints, classroom management issues, student privacy concerns, and more. Finally, after much deliberation over the merits of each proposal, the educators chose their favorite proposal for imaginary funding.

So what was learned from this experience?

Researchers had the opportunity to hear how their idea was received and interpreted by the educators and this pointed a few researchers down the iteration path. Others learned how constraints in the classroom, such as how many outlets are available to charge devices, or the varying reading levels found in a classroom, can sometimes be a barrier to a successful Cyberlearning project.

The educators became better informed about some of the trends in Cyberlearning and some of the constraints of researchers such as getting IRB approval, gaining access to schools, and the time it takes to develop a concept, product for testing.

What to do, what to do?

In an article by M. Suzanne Donovan [1] , she states, “To effectively address problems in education, research must be shaped around a problem of practice. Reorienting research and development in this way must overcome three obstacles. First, the incentive system for university researchers must be changed to reward research on problems of practice. Second, the contexts must be created that will allow the complexity of problems of practice to be understood and addressed by interdisciplinary teams of researchers, practitioners, and education designers. And third, meaningful experimentation must become acceptable in school systems in order to develop a better understanding of how to effectively stimulate and support the desired change.”

1 Donovan, M. (2013). Generating Improvement Through Research and Development in Education Systems. Science, 340, 317-317. Retrieved January 1, 2015, from www.sciencemag.org

Teachers and researchers looking to establish partnerships can contact CIRCL at www.circlcenter.org
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