PhD

The other parallel scope of this blog is to help me reflect during my PhD journey. Although still in the initial stages I want to be able to think through my thoughts (wow quite a “thinking” phrase) and try to map them out clearly and flowingly throughout. This clarity of expression and direction of thoughts, alas, has been one of my weakest points in my past research work and I have been criticised for that. I hope that this blog will help me overcome this hurdle and work towards presenting my ideas coherently…

I did change my title though it still has everything to do with Virtual Worlds and Virtual World practices in Education. However now I am very interested in investigating what is termed as the “Protheus Effect” or rather how the virtual world behavior translates into real world behavior. And I am investigating this vis-a-vis the level of technology acceptance and adoption with pre-service teachers.

Although the subject is currently the topic of research of many, I want to look at one specific direction. I want to study the effects of the use of Virtual Worlds, on pre-service teachers, in relation to increased technology acceptance for the classroom practice. My hypothesis states that the ‘right’ Virtual World environment, made up of the right constructs and practices, will lead towards a more ‘effective’ technology acceptance by pre-service teachers, in such a way that their use of classroom technology usage goes beyond the standard MSOffice applications. But I am also investigating, whether this ‘effect’ or the remnants of the residence inside the virtual world is indeed persistent and that whether that effect can replicate itself once these pre-service teachers get ‘absorbed’ back in the school system.

This hypothesis makes use of the assumption (deducted from literature) that a great number of practicing teachers, despite following some technology programs at University, only make use of digital tools sparingly in class, and sometimes when done this is more due to pressures from external sources, rather than through intentional behavior to use.

So here starts my journey. Throughout this journey I need to identify the right research methods, the application of these methods to start collecting data, the analysis of data, the implementation of a model, the evaluation, data collection, interpretation of results, critical analysis, and finally the emergence of a framework which illustrates whether we can indeed measure and validate the initial hypothesis. Is it ambitious? Very… Does this make sense? We’ll see as my path unfolds…

Read more about my journey, as I have now started experimenting inside the virtual world with a 100 or so other participants.

2 thoughts on “PhD

  1. Hi Vanessa,
    Keeping a reflective diary is a great idea – though hard in practice, I found. Particularly with qualitative based work, the amount of text, paper and screens mounts up beyond anything tractable-and therefore useful- very rapidly. There is no reason why you cannot in fact fold in this work into your thesis using an ‘action research’ and ‘reflective practitioner’ approach. Maybe if you develop a dated corpus of comments, you could code it up as you go along, thereby maximising its value. All more work, of course. Anyway, enjoy it! Greg

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