The study will focus on the knowledge, skills, and dispositions utilized by educators as they embed digital texts and tools in literacy instruction. To respond to the research questions, we will use two methods: survey and semi-structured interviews. We will focus our sampling efforts broadly to identify educators across the globe who are authentically and effectively embedding these digital literacies into instruction as well as a cadre of educators whose practices may not yet align with their hopes or expectations for future practice in this domain.
A purposeful sample of survey respondents will be invited to participate in a follow-up interview. Participation for most will therefore include the completion of an online survey. We estimate this survey will take 60 minutes to complete. The survey will remain open for a year (January 2016-January 2017). During this time period, we plan to conduct interviews with survey respondents who represent a range of experiences.
We hope to conduct at least 60 interviews with no upper-limit prescribed. Although we plan to categorize interviews by geographical regions, we recognize that we many need to cluster our interviews around the regions represented by the survey respondents. We are aiming for a globally representative set of responses on the survey so that interviews can be clustered as outlined above.
Importantly, interviews will be conducted online and shared openly on the web. This methodological choice will make these data immediately available to research and educational communities who could benefit from these data, and from our analyses.
A purposeful sample
The target population for this research is literacies educators who teach Pre-K through higher education and, who integrate digital technologies to support their students’ learning. Sampling methods will therefore target these communities of educators. Participants will be invited to take the Teaching Literacies with Technology (TLT). Future posts will detail the construction and validation of the TLT survey. To recruit study participants for the survey and interviews, we will follow a three pronged approach.
First, the TLT survey will be shared openly online to attract participants with a range of digital literacies teaching experiences and skills. The link to the survey and information about the study will be shared broadly via education, literacy, and technology organizations or communities that normally attract educators with a range of experiences and skills. Local, state/provincial, national, and global-reaching organizations will be asked to distribute information about our survey. Given that we cannot approach organizations until we have ethics approval for this work, it is important to note that we would follow ethics policies outlined by the organizations themselves insofar as they align with the ethics policies of our respective institutions. As points of departure for the recruitment of participants, we will ask for distribution through networks including, but not limited to the International Literacy Association, the Literacy Research Association, ISTE.org, The National Writing Project, Mozilla, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the Ontario Modern Language Teachers’ Association (OMLTA), the Educational Computing Organization of Ontario, the Michigan Reading Association and several school boards.
Second, participant responses on the TLT survey will be reviewed. Using answers to questions about participants’ geographic location, the age of students they teach, and their self-reported competencies as technology-using educators, we will purposefully sample and invite candidates for a follow-up interview to better understand their skills and experiences as they relate to the research questions. This approach will ensure that follow-up interviews include participants who offer a range of perspectives and experiences.
Third, after our first round of recruiting, researchers will identify particular gaps in our survey and interview sample groups. To ensure representative perspectives, we will purposefully use snowball sampling (Biernacki & Waldorf, 1981) to reach out to a broader range of online communities of educators based on the data we initially collect. We will again invite survey participation and completion of interviews but cannot, at this time, accurately know which specific groups will be missing from our initial set of data.