iBreadCrumbs is a free online tool that helps users record and share research. What is really cool is that this tool was developed by two college graduates, Reuben Fine and Rey Marques. They had become frustrated by the inefficiency and redundancy of gathering research. See Campus Technology for further reading about this intriguing tool. It is interesting tool that I will be following. I’ll be curious to see how professors and others conducting research will use this tool. If anybody knows of similar tools, please let me know.

Reading about this tool prompted me to think about how much I am learning this past year. It is ever frustrating to not immediately share my “inconclusive” thoughts. The problem is that these “inconclusive” thoughts need to be reflected upon and studied from different perspectives. You examine different areas comprehensively and then have to step back and mull it over. Most times, this type of reflection points you to a totally different pat or way of needing to take a closer look at what is happening. You begin again.

There are many frustrations that surface for me daily. I still don’t know just what I can share and what I can’t as I learn. One corner of this community urges me to just get it out there, another says no, finish studying what happened so there will be accuracy and validity in the findings. Results are inconclusive at this stage. Basically I agree with that but I find myself in an arena where I am constantly unsure of the rules. I don’t want to be a risk taker at this point. Too much is at stake. Yet being silent is so hard! I know I don’t have enough knowledge or experience in this area to judge. Yet I do judge but I am quiet for now with that judging. I have to keep learning so my conclusions on my view of research will “feel right” for me to follow. I d rail at the amount of time research takes, the closed aspects of the research process, the way it ends up not being readily available to every interested party, and it even appears that you lose ownership (I’m talking about ownership to share verbatim) as far as just sharing it “word-for-word” after it is published!

Then the publishing aspect itself is quite a time consumer as you submit articles, wait a month or two, get accepted or rejected, revise, head off to another publisher, work on several pieces at once, etc.

Now those are some of my frustrations but I have much, much joy being involved with this research. I know it is going to be something I will be proud to have a part in contributing to our community. I don’t think I have ever examined anything in more depth. I wish teachers could have opportunities to participate in this kind of learning but realize how impossible this would be for them currently, mainly because of time constraints and few opportunities during the work day to truly invest in their own learning. This could send me off on another rant about treating teachers as professionals but I’ll get to that on another post.

Digging deeply into the accumulated data has given me a new lens with which to view the learning that occurs through blogging. It is inspiring. It has forged a path full of twists and turns that lead to further learning, further examining, and further questions. It is exciting and so very worthwhile. It leads you down a trail of focused thinking on what matters. I think that’s the joy of doing research – making those discoveries and having your thinking pushed in incredible ways.

Meanwhile I have read some of the most fascinating and interesting research around, and that I can share so I will do that in future posts.

This is the kind of learning in which I’d like to see our students have more opportunities. They need to be able to do a little research on their own learning and feel that their choices on learning and their strengths are being honored. We need to guide and encourage that. We spend too much time in our classrooms telling students what they need to learn. We direct and we supervise. We need to empower them by getting them involved in making choices and decisions for some of their own personal learning in schools. They need time to learn what matters to them and go off on a journey where they construct the knowledge and have joy in the journey. Meaningful learning will occur as a result of their making those choices and decisions. Meaningful learning will not occur just by following directions on what to learn being decided totally by others.