Sunday 12 September 2010

My research proposal in a one post nutshell!

Understanding aspects of a new medium’s, Social Network Sites, use and sustained adoption as e-portfolios in High School Visual Arts' curricula.

Online Portfolio-focussed Social Network Sites (OPSNS) are being adopted as e-portfolios into the curricula of 11 Western Cape High Schools in 2010. However, how they are used, the consequences of use and the supporting factors for sustainable adoption are not well understood. Without an holistic perspective on this new medium’s use, impact and sustainability factors, educators and key decision makers may be unprepared for some aspects of this curricular innovation and less likely to sustain it. By richly describing the aspects, the researcher hopes to improve our understanding, thereby supporting appropriate adoption and use. As a Digital Arts graduate and creative professional, the researcher is interested in exploring aspects of social media and e-portfolio use in Visual Arts education.

Research problem
This project aims to describe the aspects of a new medium’s use at High School. There is a gap in the literature on aspects of Web2.0 OPSNS’ inclusion in Visual Arts curricula, as this is a recent phenomenon. By investigating this gap, we can better understand aspects of social media’s use, impact and sustainability. Educators and other key decision makers can use this knowledge to support sustained curricular adoption through maximising benefits and minimising hazards.

Research question
What are the aspects to consider when a new medium (OPSNS) is adopted into the Visual Arts and Design Curricula at High School?
  1. How do learners use OPSNS in class? (Software Affordances, Activity Theory {Tools})
  2. What are the consequences for educators of OPSNS’ use as e-portfolios by learners? (Activity Theory {Outcomes}, Diffusion of Innovation Theory {Consequences})
  3. Do the outcomes of OPSNS-use as e-portfolios meet the expectations of educators and learners? (Use-In-Practice Methodology; Activity Theory {Outcomes})
  4. What must be considered for sustainable adoption of OPSNS as e-portfolios in South African High Schools? (Diffusion of Innovation Theory)
Aim of study
To explore aspects of OPSNS use as Visual Arts e-portfolios and factors affecting sustained adoption.

The research project seeks to understand the experience of High School
Visual Arts' learners and educators, once a new medium (OPSNS) is adopted for e-portfolio creation.

This research explores aspects of OPSNS’ novel adoption as High School e-portfolios. This study may resonate with others involved in similar adoptions, thereby aiding sustained adoption.

A Visual Arts syllabus that introduces learners to OPSNS should help them to improve digital literacy.
In particular,  ICT proficiency could help learners participate in the knowledge society as aspirant creative professionals. Educators and relevant decision-makers may benefit through having novel curricular examples to refer to that resonate with their practice; helping them to be better prepared. Government’s curricular advisers could benefit from understanding this curricular innovation's aspects. This will help them to be better informed and give more appropriate advice to educators interested in launching similar initiatives. Other researchers may learn from this project’s contribution to a gap in the literature.

To partially reflect South Africa’s two-tiered educational system, fieldwork will be done at a private and public High School in Cape Town. Audio-video recordings of Online Portfolio-related classes, research notes, learner questionnaires and OPSNS progress trackers will be used to better understand student use of OPSNS affordances in class. Educators will be interviewed to understand the consequences of learners’ OPSNS use. Educators and learners will answer questionnaires to understand whether the outcomes of OPSNS use as e-portfolios met expectations. Educators, curricular advisors and other key decision makers will be interviewed to understand what must be considered for sustainable adoption of OPSNS as e-portfolios in local schools.

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