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Questioning the Questions of IT Research
 
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Below are the 3 most recent journal entries recorded in tom_reeves_uga's LiveJournal:

Thursday, February 2nd, 2006
8:07 pm
The Science Behind Groundhog Day and Learning Styles
It is February 2, and once again the Northern and Southern versions of the Groundhog disagree on the future of the weather in the USA. As described at http://www.groundhog.visitpa.com/ , Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning and thus has predicted six more weeks of winter. Meanwhile, as described at http://www.yellowrivergameranch.com/ghday.htm , General Beau Lee, did not see his shadow and appropriately predicted an early spring.

Now some of you may be wondering just how much science is behind these predictions. I imagine that there is just about as much as one can find in research on learning styles. If you don’t think so, check out Jay Cross’ excellent blog at:
http://metatime.blogspot.com/2005/12/learning-styles-ha-ha-ha.html

For those of you interested in more detail, see this recent literature review focused on learning styles from the UK: https://www.lsda.org.uk/cims/order.aspx?code=041543&src=XOWEB
Tuesday, January 31st, 2006
9:03 pm
Not so mad today...
Ok, today, I am not so mad. I started this blog within the context of a Doctoral Topical Seminar focused on Design-Based Research ( http://it.coe.uga.edu/~treeves/EDIT9990/index.html ) which I am co-leading with Dr. Chandra Orrill. Chandra is one of the members of the Design-Based Research Collective, a group of exceptionally bright young people who collectively published a seminal paper (http://www.aera.net/uploadedFiles/Journals_and_Publications/Journals/Educational_Researcher/3201/3201_DesignCollective.pdf )in Educational Researcher about DBR three years ago. The other seminar participants (http://it.coe.uga.edu/~treeves/EDIT9990/participants.html ) right now are 15 of our best and brightest Ph.D. students, and few things make me happier (and less mad) than working and learning with them. We hope to engage some colleagues from Australia and The Netherlands in our online discussions about DBR soon. Meanwhile, if you are asking yourself what Design Research is, you might want to tune into a presentation I gave about it last week: http://www.uga.edu/grepit/events-it-design-based-research.html This presentation is available because of the diligent efforts of one of our top-notch Masters students, Saif Altalib. Thank you, Saif.
Sunday, January 29th, 2006
5:07 pm
Mad as Hell
One of my all time favorite movie scenes features Peter Finch as the character Howard Beale in the 1976 film “Network.” (You can listen to the scene online at: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/MovieSpeeches/moviespeechnetwork2.html and more about the film itself can be found at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network_(movie) .)

I like the scene because Finch expresses so well how I increasingly find myself feeling these days.

So what am I mad about? Lots of things about war, politics, the environment, and popular culture, but for the purposes of this blog, I am angry about the continuing dismal state of educational research, especially in the field known as “instructional technology” or “educational technology.”

I am a professor at a large research university (see http://www.uga.edu/ ). Ever since I arrived here, my performance has largely been based upon the degree to which I have been successful in publishing articles in so-called refereed journal articles. Since I joined the UGA faculty in 1982, I have been successful enough to be awarded tenure and be promoted, first to Associate Professor, and later to Full Professor.

Increasingly, academics are being judged on their ability to attract outside funding, but refereed journal articles remain the primary currency of the realm at research universities such as mine. For example, my College of Education maintains a link on its web pages under the heading “UGA Ranked Nation's 2nd Most Prolific University In Education Research” at: http://www.coe.uga.edu/coenews/2002/ProlificResearch.html .

What makes me so mad is that despite the success that my colleagues and I have enjoyed in publishing refereed journal articles, our state remains near the bottom of the rankings on virtually every indicator of educational attainment. Consider high school graduation rates in the USA. Georgia remains 49th out of 50 states with respect to the number of ninth graders who complete high school within four years (see: http://www.unitedhealthfoundation.org/shr2004/components/hsgrad.html ). Georgia was 49th when I came here in 1982, and it remains so. It is difficult not to conclude that all the refereed journals articles that academics at The University of Georgia and all the other 34 public universities and colleges in this state have published over the past quarter century have not made a bit of difference in helping the children of this state graduate from high school with any greater success than they would have without our academic “productivity.”

Well, right now I must stop writing my first entry in this blog. My annual faculty report for 2005 is due tomorrow. Having published 7 or 8 refereed journal articles and book chapters and attracted significant external funding this past year, I’ll probably get another great annual review. So why do I feel like such a failure?
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