Paving Your Way with Journals and Conferences and Web 2.0
The ITEST Learning Resource Center (LRC) is hosting a webinar event today that focuses on eliciting lessons learned related to disseminating ITEST project outcomes. I will share my thoughts about this based on my experience as PI of the BITS Program, ITSRG's ITEST funded initiative. Other presenters for the event are:
Len Annetta, Principal Investigator of the Highly Interactive, Fun Internet Virtual Environments in Science (HI-FIVES) project, a Cohort 3 grant; and
Leslie Goodyear, Research Scientist, ITEST LRC. Leslie will share conference and journal opportunities from her recent attendance at The Tenth National Technology Leadership Summit hosted by the Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education (SITE).
Stay posted here for updates beginning at 2:00 pm.
1:10 pm Preliminary Thoughts
The BITS publication strategy has from the onset sought to affect the geographic discourse on community geographic information systems by investigating the degree to which participatory models can be adapted to shift the locus of the development and uses of GIS from technical experts acting as community advocates to communities themselves. Our program involves high school students to learn and use GIS technologies and their experiences are drawn upon to inform our contributions to theoretical and technical developments in community GIS research.
We employed three strategies as an explicit attempt to connect research goals and activities, BITS participant experiences and learning outcomes, and our community collaborative activities with contributions to academic scholarship.
1. We invited faculty and graduate students to embed their research in our project and provided workshops to train them how to connect their research foci with the BITS project scopes of work. This resulted in the creation of thematic content that has served to connect the BITS program experiences to a broader base of geographers.
2. We broke the publication pathway down into manageable components so that we could broaden the base of participation in disseminating project outcomes. This resulted in our sponsorship of a large number of graduate student and faculty presentations about the project at conferences, extending the discussion of outcomes in interdisciplinary directions we had not originally anticipated, and reaching new audiences through adding university faculty partners in other institutions.
3. We eventually worked to identify an external evaluation specialist who is also trained formally trained in Geography; this means that as we approach the end point of the project time line we have the potential to publish in both educational research and geographic fields of study.
1:30 pm Our emphasis on using Web 2.0 to build our audience
Our external evaluator, Lorena Munoz, recommended that we explicitly develop a web 2.0 strategy to disseminate our project outcomes on the web in addition to our conventional publication strategy. This past year - our no cost extension year - we have rolled out a series of web interactive tools aimed to accomplish the following tasks:
1. Connect threads of content developed across our program activities, including through participation of high school students, HCC mentor staff members, graduate researchers and project researchers. This has resulted in more cohesive connections between student digital footprints and learning outcomes, curriculum development and implementation and dissemination.
2. Create a social network among program participants. One of the most significant challenges we had was how to create meaningful dissemination points for all of our participant audiences - including parents and students, community collaborators, student volunteers and mentors, colleagues and scholars. Our use of social media has enabled us to both get the word about what we are involved in on a timely basis as well as to elicit information just in time for publication and conference events.
3. Use our web activities as a strategic hub for managing and tracking the long term sustainability of our program. Our web dissemination strategy purposefully coincides with our no-cost year. Our aim was to assess the degree to which we could use the web to continue the program but in a new, no cost and long term fashion. The key to this strategy has been to foster participation among BITS alumni as staff members at ITSRG who are now deeply involved in creating and publishing maps, assisting us with the use of web technologies across all of our programs, and linking their skills to the pursuit of their own educational pathways. We have showcased some of the maps and field exercises they created in our posts on Citizen Cartographers in this blog throughout the month of June.
4. We implemented Write Now, a month long initiative in May to generate new publication directions and include as many people in our network of program participants as possible. The result was a massive lift of generating abstracts for conferences and publications, manuscripts in working paper form, blog posts, and the underpinnings of journal articles. The first article to appear in publication since our effort began in May 2008 will be published by the Community Literacy Journal, showcasing the application of our community mapping strategy developed by BITS for consideration of the relationship between literacy and geographic elasticity among ethnic chinese immigrants living in Philadelphia's Chinatown. Michael Rovito, the first author, was a graduate research assistant in BITS working with students to develop the mapping approach used in the article. Other manuscripts have been posted on ITSRG's working paper series and are forthcoming in book and guide format.
2:00 pm Webinar begins
The ITEST LRC's sponsorship of events like these has been invaluable for our program. We would never have been able to connect with other programs and assess what among best practices might apply to us if we had to investigate that on our own.
2:05 Random Thoughts while waiting to get Started
We note our love of the use of Google Docs for collaboration around writing projects. Writeboard works great too. We prefer to use free, open source web 2.0 tools - those are most accessible to the broadest base of participation.
2:15 Opening Comments by Sarita Nair of the ITEST LRC
This is a follow on discussion from last year's similar event; Len speaks first about successes and challenges for disseminating project outcomes. The ITEST LRC has a list of journals and outlets to consider for dissemination as well as conference events that may be of interest. Check out http://www2.edc.org/ITESTLRC/ for that info.
Len starts, from the Hi Fives project.
Len comments in the Hi Fives marketing and dissemination plan, which was the last push of project during the no cost extension phase. He also discusses how that will come together at the end of the project to meet the larger project dissemination goals. Hi Fives looks at how students create video games. The project supported students to created a modified game using Half Life 2, a first person shooter game. When you buy the game you get access to the source code. With computer scientists at NC State, the project team took out the violent aspects of the game and created their own game built on the software's game development engine; it features tools that permits users to drag and drop 3D environments, enabling middle school kids in their program to learn how to do game development.
Original plans called for the use of conventional publication and conference presentation pathways. The external evaluator was also supposed to publish learning outcomes. Science teaching and SITE conferences were targeted arenas for dissemination originally. Plans changed through hiring a different outside evaluator. The new evaluator picked up publication themes around new research questions that arose from his interests. Creating a commercial game was not necessarily the best approach; lessons learned from that has opened new areas for dissemination. There was also a project need to go beyond the data gathering, research and publication efforts of project Co-PIs due to the large number of questions to be asked and the high volume of data to assess related to the program. Graduate assistants worked together as a teams to address that need. Through working in teams, individual interests were coupled with enough critical mass of personnel to move forward with conference proposals and journal publications. By using working group methods, large numbers of publications and conference presentations were generated, and Len attributes the ITEST renewal they received in part to this effort.
2:20 Questions for Len
What is your best paper?
Len: I am most proud of the edited book volume we published called Serious Educational Games. That volume markets areas of creating educational games. Students and collaborators in our project all wrote chapters. Each told their story and how their involvement in research unfolded.
How did you identify journals?
Len: Science Education journals are directed towards science learning from k-20 levels. Reviewers come from old school and dont understand technology, so even though science journals were targeted, only a few resulted in publications. AACE journals are now the focus of publication directions; ISTE journals too.
Did you publish in any online journals?
Innovate - is one of the online journals we used.
We are planning to implement game development that involves participants to create their own journeys and interact with other participants to help advance education and collaboration. What was your underlying subtext for game development? Did you feel you needed bells and whistles to compete with War Craft for instance?
Len: Yes and no. My prior experience using multi user collaborative platforms, we used active worlds. It predated Second Life. It was stable and a good environment for collaborative use from multi-sites. But, using with high school students meant that the lack of game elements of competition resulted in rapid disengagement of students.
2:48 Leslie's talk begins
The National Technology Leadership Summit is a meta conference that brings leaders from memberships organizations related to educational technology, teacher education and educational research together. Examples of organizations that are represented are at the summit are SITE and Educational Technology and SIG leaders of AERA organizations. One outcome of note for those interested in enhancing their ITEST project dissemination efforts was that this group likes to have coordinated topics that can be thematic across all of the respective conferences sponsored by their organizations. The coordination effort highlights issues they want to emphasize.
The upcoming SITE conference and NET/ISTE conferences will include themes on the role of participatory media and the use of web 2.0 technologies for classroom instruction addressing the question: How can educators use web 2.0 and other media in their classrooms? They are interested in those lines of thinking; in addition they are looking at how formal and informal learning interact.
Also, there are publication opportunities related to journals of these organizations; discussions continued a theme that was introduced at the 2008 ITEST PI Summit related to the interest among ITEST projects and the ITEST LRC to tell a larger story about the impact of the ITEST initiative on education in a broad way. There will be a call for papers organized by some of the journals of these education organizations that elicits manuscripts connecting youth based focus areas for outcomes that can inform better how formal and informal learning experiences can be mutually reinforcing and improve student learning, as well as to shape the development of new pedagocial approaches for technology instruction. The ITEST LRC will share information about those opportunities; in addition the LRC is organizing interest in specific conferences to create theme oriented presentations by ITEST projects, continuing an important role they have played throughout the past six years within the ITEST community.
3:20 Michele's final comments
Thanks to Sarita Nair and the entire ITEST LRC team for organizing this event. Thanks also to Caroline Guigar for live Tweeting our involvement from the ITSRG direction. Please stay posted for more on our dissemination activities.
Paving Your Way with Journals and Conferences and Web 2.0
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