This is a draft and as such feel free to edit it....
Action Research Identity Outcomes : Shift in Self Perception, Professional Identity, and Researcher Identity
Interactive Symposium
Submitted to Action Research SIG
Abstract (119 --limit 120)
Action research is a specific form of practice-based inquiry. The goal is to learn from and through practice by using analytic and reflective processes. We agree with Schön (1995) that a new epistemology is needed for the new scholarship which is emerging through action research. The first paper examines outcomes of action research on three levels: self-development, organizational change and knowledge building. Three papers provide examples of action research in different contexts: a high school, a corporate training context, and a software development team. In each case, the action researcher reflects on how the process changed the way they work, the way they understand their workplace, and their contribution to deeper understanding of evolving change in complex social systems. you want to add something text to address the scientific significance? or do you think this works)
Session Overview (465 limit 500)
The objective of this session is to explore the epistemological and methodological outcomes of action research. Action research, with a foundation in social justice and improving practice, is a recognized form of design research in which the researcher intentionally introduces change into a social system and then studies the way in which the system changes (Kemmis & McTaggart, 1998; Lewin, 1952; McNiff and Whitehead, 2006; Mills, 2001; Stringer, 1999; Whitehead and McNiff, 2006; Wells, 1994). In doing so, action researchers maintain a focus on their own actions leading to personal growth and on the evidence collected to create an understanding of how change takes place in larger social context. Finally, like all researchers, the goal is to share what is learned so to support the process of other's action research both in terms of findings and methods.

Action research utilizes a systematic, cyclical, and rigorous method of planning, acting, observing, evaluating (including self-evaluation) and critical reflecting prior to planning the next iterative cycle. It sets the goal of addressing an identified problem in the workplace, for example, reducing the illiteracy of students through use of a new strategy (Quigley, 2000) or developing shared governance to increase the quality of nursing (Doherty & Hope 2000). It is a collaborative method to test new ideas and implement action for change. It involves direct participation in a dynamic research process, while monitoring and evaluating the effects of the researcher's actions with the aim of improving practice. At its core, action research is a way to increase understanding of how change in one's actions or practices can mutually benefit a community of practitioners (Coghlan and Brannick 2005). The development of expertise requires a high investment in continual learning (Bereiter and Scardamalia, 1993)

In this session, action researchers, from different sectors, describe how their work increases their personal expertise, their understanding of learning, teaching, and community development in different contexts, and how telling these stories is helping to develop a new epistemology. The first paper opens with a theoretical grounding of action research in three areas: learning from and through practice, practitioners' use of data to explore organizational change, and researchers' participation in building knowledge. This will frame the action research approach for the panel of action researchers who will focus on how they mobilized emergent technologies to effect transformational changes in a range of complex settings.

These short presentations will be followed by reactions from a respected leader in the field of action research who will engage the panel and audience in a discussion of action research and ways this form of research helps build living theories and deep knowledge of change. The discussant will highlight the outcomes from each of the papers that he sees as contributing to a new form of scholarship embedded in the work of these practitioner researchers.

Here is the structure we are suppose to follow
and we have 500 words each not counting title or references

1. Objectives or purposes
2. Perspective(s) or theoretical framework
3. Methods, techniques, or modes of inquiry
4. Data sources, evidence, objects, or materials
5. Results and/or substantiated conclusions or warrantsfor arguments/point of view
6. Scientific or scholarly significance of the study or work

Meta-Analysis of the outcomes of Action Research (Word count = 483 limit 500)
(Margaret Riel & Jack Whitehead)

Action research is a recognized form of design research in which the researcher intentionally introduces change into a social system and then studies the way in which the system as well as the researcher are changed. We have conceptualized the process of action research as taking place in three areas simultaneously—(1) personal development of professional skills and knowledge; (2) collaborative knowledge development about organizational change in specific contexts; (3) generalizations of knowledge gained through and from action research.

In the first instance, action research is a form of self study through progressive problem solving (Bereiter & Scardamalia, 1993) and reflective analysis of practice (Whitehead and McNiff, 2006; Schön,1983). Examination of how the practices of the researcher are transformed is a critical part of the reflective study. Conceptual and technical tools help in the reflective process. In the second instance, action research is a form of collective inquiry into an organizational change by engaging the participants in a group study to understand the forces of the change (Lewin,1948; Miner, 2005; Wenger, McDermott, & Snyder, 2002). Data collection and analysis tools support the examination of evidence of change. Finally, action researchers gain membership into the research community coming to share values of the role of empirical evidence and of active dialogue about the methods and findings of research. Action research is very similar to other forms of emergent, iterative, cyclic, and data-driven research. These include formative assessment (Black & Wiliam, 2003), grounded theory ( Strauss & Corbin, 1990), data-driven decision making (Mandinach, Honey, & Light, 2006), and design research (Collins, 1992; Schön, 1983). The important difference is that instead of a practitioner-researcher partnership, the practitioner incorporates the practices of research directly into their own practice. Communication technology provides opportunities to actively participate in the research community.

The data for this paper are the overall reflections on three cycles of action research of 25 action researchers whose master’s thesis which have been published online in the Center for Collaborative Action Research. These exemplary action research portfolios have been collected over a period of eight years. Using qualitative methods, their overarching reflections will be coded to understand the extent to which they conceptualize change at each of the three levels identified --learning more about oneself through ones interactions with others, understanding the forces and dimensions of change in local contexts, and sharing this knowledge with others.
Prior findings based on survey data from action researchers suggest that increased communication skills, engaged learning processes, and community building are the major outcomes of action research. Using students’ overall individual reflections, the documents will be analyzed to see which outcomes the students found as most valuable and which of the three outcomes they emphasized most strongly in their reflective writing. The action research accounts will also be analysed in terms of their contributions to a new epistemology for educational knowledge which includes the multi-media narratives of action researchers.

Ann, I wonder why your class size is so much small then in the past... am I right in assuming you had 18 students? If size is smaller now, do you have a sense of how many students on other smaller classes get failing marks. I know that grades are a small part of the story. The real change was in the in their desire to learn and the belief that you were on their side, wanting them to succeed. I loved the comment by one of the students about how they see teachers wanting them to fail. So I wonder if you want to a stab at a sentence about the significance of this study. I might help you think about what other action researchers (like those from cadre 13) will learn from reading your study. There are both method and outcomes that I see as valuable.

The Art of Possibility: Creating More Successful Learners (Word count = 495 , limit 500)
(Anne Smith)

The Alliance for Excellent Education (2008) and Linda Darling Hammond (2008) both encourage the transformation of traditional classrooms by reshaping environments, recasting instructional roles of teachers, and increasing student motivation. Students succeed in learning environments that are open, motivating, and engaging where students and teachers are working together in successful partnerships (Jones, 2008; Tapola & Niemivirta, 2008). As the teacher, I wanted to remove the option of failure and use feedback to improve student performance.

Beginning with the premise that all students want to succeed, I focused on cycles of change in student assessment with 30 ninth grade students for one year. To create a learning environment that met the learning needs of all of my students, we changed assessment practices. As a class, we eliminated the below average grade of D, added multiple opportunities for students to revise work based on teacher feedback, and generated a rubric for the assessment of all assignments. Students wrote reflective responses to a set of questions each six-week period. Analysis of their responses documented how this change was affecting their approach to learning. In the beginning, the students needed multiple revisions to reach their goals, but by the end of the school year, students’ first drafts showed a marked increase in quality. At the end of the first semester, most students only need one to revisions on an assignment to receive their desired grade. Also, 13 out of 18 students chose ten (on a ten point scale) indicating their assessment of the improvement of their writing. Similarly, students’ assessment of the process at first was mixed, but as the year progressed and student work increased, students valued the ability to work towards mastery. As one student reflected, the described change transformed her interpretation by now seeing the teacher as a motivator and encourager.

Cycle two involved working with a student teacher who joined our learning community. As teacher and student teacher, we experimented with various styles of feedback in order to improve the students’ writing. Exploring what forms of feedback allowed for the most student growth provided the opportunity to have extended reflective discussions around teaching practices. This process helped me, as the teacher, to be a better mentor, teacher, and leader.

In past years, in a class of 30 students, there were 5-6 failing grades. This year, at the end of first semester, only two had failing grades; and at the end of the school year, only one. Rather than seeing their teachers as judges of performance, students came to see their teachers as coaches interested in their development as learners. The change in the students, student teacher, and me evolved as we moved away from our traditional roles. Action research gave us the permission to try something new, to challenge assumptions, and to change the student-teacher dynamic. Students appreciated seeing their teachers engaged in continuous learning. The change in the relationships encouraged students to work harder and for me to see the possibility within all students.

DAn you also need a significance statement... I would think that mentioning how the sharing of this work led to you mentoring another action research who followed your plan with some similar and some different outcomes.

Building Thriving Communities of Practice with Social Learning Technologies (Word count = 489)
(Dan Wood)
The goal of this paper is to document a change in my work practices, the emergence of a different pattern of work in my workplace, and change in way conceptualize research. In a rapidly changing world, corporations are pressed to submit new products and services with increasing speed to remain competitive. In this environment balancing innovation, knowledge-building and communication is essential for success (Schmidt, 2005). In order to achieve knowledge-building and sharing goals, many organizations have embraced Communities of Practice (CoPs). Wenger, McDermott, and Snyder (2002) describe CoPs as “groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis” (p. 4). Communities form the basis of learning within an organization through shared experience, knowledge, and drive to a common goal (Riel & Polin, 2004) and corporations work to formalize CoPs capitalizing on their benefits of knowledge building and communication.

Using collaborative knowledge-building supported by social learning technologies, action research was applied to study the influence on the development of a CoP. This was a fourteen-member learning and development team at a multi-national software corporation of which the action researcher was a member. Three action-reflection cycles were taken to improve the personal practice of the researcher and to influence a positive change in the field of practice.

Cycle one involved the introduction and advocacy of the use of a wiki as a tool to mediate social knowledge building for employee learning content. Evidence from this cycle showed that nearly 70% of those on the team logged in to edit or add content to the wiki. However, even as many team members found new processes and tools that improved collaboration, both the advocating approach and a relatively narrow, project-oriented domain inadvertently excluded some from active participation.

Cycle two focused on team dialogue around the concept of CoPs and the use of a social learning technology, Microsoft SharePoint. This cycle was oriented toward the invitation to participate. Lave and Wenger (1991) have described this process of inclusion as legitimate peripheral participation. The emphasis was placed on listening deeply to others, as Isaacs (1999) indicated in his work with dialogue, and avoiding placing judgment, allowing others to fully share their opinions and feel included in decisions and progress.

In the third cycle an interview process was used to understand current and future use of SharePoint, to gauge understanding of the concept of CoPs, and to investigate future measures of success for technology implementation and community formation. Cycle three increased the level of personal interaction within the community and included significant indications of the change occurring within the field of action. Evidence collected from cycle two and three indicate that 100% of the team used the tool, with roughly 46% doing so regularly. In interviews, 90% of the team used a community of practice as a way of describing teamwork.

The iterative nature of action research, through action-reflection cycles, provided the structure upon which personal and organizational transformations were achieved and shared knowledge was built.

Jason, You might also want to think about will someone get from reading your website? Why would someone want to know about what you did? What can they learn from this this. What would you have learned if you had a study like this before you started thinking about your action research in July? But you are at exactly 500 words... so you woud have to streamline to add.

Development On-Demand: Media and Harmony in Corporate Education
Jason Meliilo (500 words)

This paper describes how action research was used to increase my skill in supporting steaming media in a hospital setting and deepen my understanding about learning, design and leadership. When corporate education and training departments introduce new technologies, it's not uncommon to encounter resistance. This resistance can hinder organizational change and lead to what Fullan (2001) refers to as an “implementation dip” in efficiency and productivity. These dips occur when employees encounter an innovation that requires new skills and understandings. Scaffolded instruction can create a social learning environment -- a zone of proximal development-- in a community setting (Vygotsky, 1978) to increase productivity. Scaffolded instruction is a technique in which experts assist novices with new tasks, gradually fading back until the novice can complete the task virtually unassisted. What begins as a process of "distributed cognition" (e.g., Hutchins. 1995), evolves in a way that allows novices to become experts. Within this theoretical frame, I used action research to study scaffolded instruction and its effect on employee adoption of technology in my healthcare organization. The research consisted of three cycles of action-reflection in which I created a social learning context, solicited feedback from other participants, and worked alongside colleagues to develop a technology-focused learning community centered on streaming media technologies for clinical training.

During the first cycle, I invited colleagues into our organization's video studio to create online presentations with my full technical support. Playing the role of expert, I was able to alleviate some of the pressure that can come with learning a new technology. This allowed my colleagues to focus on the content of their presentations and learn the technology at a more natural pace. I quickly found that learners were more likely to take ownership of the technology by connecting it to their clinical practice.

Cycle two shifted focus to participants who had not yet created presentations of their own. I chose to exhibit the work of their colleagues during each training class, which led to discussions on how new learners could use the streaming media in their own departments. This provided a way for colleagues to observe the budding learning community from afar, and begin to step into more involved roles as their comfort level increased.

I used the third cycle to introduce an online platform to solidy the community. Working with new “expert” learners, I spearheaded a clinical education Sharepoint site to promote interaction among community members. Colleagues were invited to post links to educational materials that they had produced for streaming and solicit feedback and discussion from their clinical colleagues. This allowed co-workers to participate in a scaffolded learning environment with members of their own clinical departments.

Through the action-reflection process, I was able to understand the types of individual learning experiences my colleagues were seeking, and utilize scaffolded instruction to provide them with a more personalized learning environment. Through this iterative process, a community was formed in which streaming media technologies became a tool to deliver just-in-time training material to departments throughout the organization.

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