Research musings

The focus of Course One : Week Two was based on the ISTE for Educators Learner standard indicator 1c – Staying current with research to improve the teaching and learning in your context.

In addition, some of the readings and resources centred on teaching research skills to our learners, which would align nicely with the Citizenship ISTE Educator standard, 3b, which centers on the critical examination of online sources, building digital literacy and media fluency.

In a connected world, research should fall on your lap…

I like RSS feeds (Feedly’s my preference), sure, but Twitter and knowing some Boolean Search basics are fundamentals in today’s age.


Just recently, I was catching up with a friend who is currently doing some Master’s research. He mentioned he was struggling to find information for his literature review. Whilst listening, I threw out my advice (EBSCO, KQED, etc.) and also tweeted this to my connections on Twitter. Within 24 hours… the skies opened up for him! My tweet put him in touch with experts locally and abroad, as well as links to some great published papers.

Developing, curating and being an active participant in professional learning networks (PLNs) pay their dividends when it comes to times like these. They are, almost always, my first port of call for any major wonderings (after I’ve done some searching as well).

Google Ninja Skills

Whenever my kiddos and I do some info report writing and/or work on our research skills, I usually run a workshop around some of Google Ninja Skills (a top 10 curation).


In addition to some Google Ninja skills belt upgrades, it’s crucial to teach kids about TRAAP (aka as CRAAP, for lack of a better acronym) testing their resources. In a world of deep fakes, fake news and more, this is a super important litmus test to teach and apply to any resource.

After watching the video linked above, here are a few resources that I use with my kiddos:

MISO Research

And whilst we’re talking about research, it is worth mentioning the MISO method, championed by the service-learning guru, Cathyrn Berger Kaye. We were lucky enough to bring her in as a keynote speaker in a pre-pandemic, face-to-face, professional learning conference with my current employer.

The MISO method is such a great scaffold for building action research skills.

MISO stands for media, interview, survey and observation. It gels lovely with design thinking, too! Here are some resources that I find helpful in regards to MISO:

How about you?

  • How do you curate research to push to you?
  • What skills or tools do you use to make the curation of information a breeze?
  • What are some skills that you teach your learners to develop their research skills and be critical consumers of information?

Some other resources related to this topic worth sharing:

Beyond “lurking”

This week’s readings brought up several ideas worth discussing

Creativity stems from creative consumption of media – not just consuming

Jeff’s blog post, “What does it mean to disconnect?“, the message of focusing on creating rather than consuming, linked me to John Spencer’s amazing video, “Why consuming is necessary for creating“.

If you liked Spencer’s video, follow it up with his amazing blog post on the subject.

New media - a portal to creativity and peer collaboration

Balance is important in no matter what we do, online and off, and there’s certainly value to consuming, especially when it’s used to create.

This is a message I strongly purport to those I guide, my son included.

“New” Media

Ito, Mizuko, et al.’s  reading on, “Living and learning with new media“, had many connections to my youth. I remember all the chat’s on Napster, MySpace, and IM. Anyone else guilty buying those gamer magazines for those “cheat codes” or lethal combo strikes for games like Mortal Combat or Street Fighter?

Even the dating element struck a few chords. While I may be a bit old for apps like Tinder, I do remember flirting on Facebook and even tried some online dating websites when I was a free agent…haha.

Moving beyond “Lurking”

Whilst both readings may be dated, the messages within them are not. They both still relate to the theme of this week  of peer connected learning and moving beyond the “lurker” stage.

I love seeing my son, in his true digital native form, navigating, communicating, exploring and learning with his peers, (mostly) uninterrupted for a defined time period in online spaces. Some days it’s learning about how to build the next best thing in Minecraft, others it’s how to advance his skills in the latest Roblox game with his friends.

I particularly enjoy the way he and his peers build each other up in their community so they can all enjoy their passion together. This is particularly salient when they may not be able to see one another due to whatever pandemic related lockdown restrictions may be in place.

Often I catch him in the moment of learning on an online math site, or perhaps watching a YouTube video, then seamlessly, with no intervention, asking Google or Siri something he doesn’t understand, then flicking back to the original content.

Sure, there’s a lot of noise to eventually get this signal, but it’s moments like these that solidifies the argument that the best time to live is now. In other words, all of this digital technology can undermine our well-being, if not used with intentionality and purpose.

“New media” = An outlet for self-directed learning and agency

Interests are easier to pursue online since it connects us to anyone with a device and an internet connection with similar interests.

The world is truly our oyster and niche interests, knowledge and experts are accessible because of this new media.

Just imagine a world without places like Wikipedia, Reddit, TripAdvisor, and more?! Crowd-sourcing is truly a remarkable thing.

In sum, “new media” is the perfect culture for a beautiful milieu of Vygotskyian social constructivism, Pink’s ideas on motivation, and Bandurra’s theory of self-efficacy. In other words, learners strive when they step out of their comfort zone, have autonomy, learn and seek feedback from peer experts, work towards mastery, have a purpose and more.

Some wonderings that arose from the readings…

  • What role will VR take as it becomes more ubiquitous and accessible to today’s youth?
  • Now that AI is becoming more porous into our everyday, how is that changing the way the next generation learns, navigates, connects, communicates and finds balance?
  • What are schools doing to educate children in terms of becoming leaders in these domains? Are they going beyond just citizenship in these digital spaces?

A call to action – Questions to ask, as educators…

  • How do you use “new media” to empower, energize and engage your learners in the ability to self-direct their own learning?
  • How do you leverage the use of “new media” to connect learners beyond the borders of your classroom to increase their perspective, or perhaps help them find more people interested in niche topics suited to their personal interests?
  • How do you model, share, discuss, provide opportunities, reflect and promote leadership in “new media”?

Three great resources to extend your thinking on this topic

If you struggle with answers or are looking for ideas to any of the above questions, here are some great resources/ learning opportunities for you:

  1. Read Social LEADia – A guidebook to empowering your learners to become leaders in digital spaces.
  2. Read Lifelong Kindergarten – School yourself on Papert’s construstionist ideals and wisdom through his number one protégé, Resnick. Definitely ticks the “geeking out” box.
  3. Reach out to Adam Hill & Jennifer Casa-Todd and enroll in their Empowered Digital Leaders course – Another way to get more connected and learn from some expert peers on various topics to empower you and your learners around digital leadership.

Learning goals for COETAIL

Since COETAIL frames  learning with the ISTE standards, below are two educator learner standard indicators that will personalize and shape my professional growth.


1b- Looking forward to collaborating with people beyond my current network in this cohort and COETAIL alumni. Diverse perspectives challenge and help us grow.

1c – The provocations of new readings and research, then consolidating, applying and reflecting will benefit both me and my learners.

As an ISTE certified educator, I’m looking forward to using my fluency with the standards, married with new COETAIL learning experiences,  to further develop my practice and enhance the learning experiences for my students and educators in my network.

My connections

By and large, Twitter is the place which keeps me most connected. My top three networks that I’m most active in would be:

  • my work, #ishcmcIB,
  • my curricular network for the IB’s primary years programme, #pypchat (as well as #pypconnected),
  • and the (mostly) monthly educator network, #PubPDAsia, that also has a face-to-face component as well!

Other networks that I’m apart of, yet lurk or check in a bit less frequently are:

  • #isedcoach: A network for international education coaches (majority who are innovation or edtech focused in their disciplines).
  • #AppleEDUchat: Mostly a network of Apple teachers and Apple Distinguished Educators sharing ideas and discourse.
  • #COETAIL: I’m sure will become more used the more invested I get in the course.
  • #ssislearns: Keeps me in touch with my most recent former employer, colleagues and the sharing going on in that community.
  • #UBCMET: A place to connect with my Master of Educational Technology alumni from the University of British Columbia.
  • #CognitaWay: My current employer is owned by Cognita; a good place to share learning and be inspired from Cognita wide events
  • #ISTEcert: As an ISTE certified educator, it’s a great network to share learning and examples of the standards in practice.

What are some ways that you stay connected as an educator?