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Future Direction(s)

It has been a big week, a big month or two, I guess...

I have been doing lots and lots of thinking about my future research, for purposes of my dissertation, an alternate to a dissertation, and professional research agenda.

Well, I have met with my advisors; I have all the information about the alternate to the dissertation; I am full to the brim with literature on too many connected, yet distant, topics. It is the time in my journey when I really need to be focusing in so that I can concentrate my energies toward my exams and my research (and GRADUATION).

I have been having trouble thinking the last person I would like to have on my committee. The decision is symbolic, really, of the tension and hesitation I have in deciding if I am more literacy-focused or more LT-focused. I really think that my current knowledge base is much more thorough in LT, and to be perfectly honest, I feel more at home in LT. I am more confident in my LT skills and knowlege. Which complicates the directions I was thinking I wanted to move in (new literacies). Especially because my recent conversation with my literacy advisor really took the energy out of that area ("we already know what there is to know - I can't think of any new questions to ask about new literacies and in/out school literacies").

So, wouldn't it be wasted energy to dig in deeper to that area and study it exclusively? It sounds like it might be more trouble than it is worth.

Then I started thinking about things I already know a lot about, that I am interested in: technology integration and implementation; preservice teacher education; pedagogy; digital equity issues; critical literacy. When I really start thinking about it, I am interested in PEDAGOGY, and about how and why technology is used in schools. About how to "do" critical and feminist pedagogies in online learning environments, and about student/teachers' experiences with online pedagogies.

Now I think I am getting somewhere in my thinking about exams, committee members, research agendas.

If I were to focus on PEDAGOGY, there is a possibility that I could tie together some previous research I have been a part of that could be put towards the alternate to the dissertation. I really need to think about this more, so I can flush out its possibilities. Or its non-possibilities.

I need to keep my eye on the goal: I would love, love to be finished with this degree by end of fall/spring 2008. I want to apply for the dissertation award (march 2007), which means I need to have my exams and my proposal meeting (dissertation or alternate) completed by next March. This could be tricky. And I should not get too attached to applying for that fellowship - it is a nice goal for now, but if I am unable to apply for it, it is not the end of the world. it is not failure. just how things go.

THis means 1) taking some time this summer to THINK and NAME my research focus (to inform my exams); 2) meeting with my advisors and/or having them meet about the nature of my exams; 3) deciding when I am going to take my exams, whatever they may be; 4) deciding if I am going to do a dissertation or an alternate.

I need to stay calm. I need to enjoy this journey as much as possible. I need to let go of some things. I need to control my manic, perfectionist behaviors.

Eyes on graduation - one step at a time.