What is a collaboratory?
We chose a collaboratory because the Centre for Educational Leadership and Policy employs a model of working with universities, school districts and other research sites called research as co-learning. In co-learning research, all of the participants involved in the research project have a voice in all aspects of the research.
Why a collaboratory for research on educational leadership and policy?
Wagner (1997) theorizes that there are three broad levels of research co-operation in educational research between the researcher and the participants and this reflects a continuum:
Level 1 (also known as the Data Extraction level): At Level 1, the participants have little research decision-making – they are, in fact, research subjects.
Level 2 is characterized by more cooperation between the researcher and the participants, reflecting more of a clinical partnership.
Level 3 is the co-learning level, the researchers and participants work collaboratively using a form of action research that is focused on continuous dialogue and reflection (Wagner, 1997).
In the Centre for Educational Leadership and Policy, we encourage research that is collaborative in nature and where the participants in the research are engaged in designing the research, focusing the research questions, and in the analysis and reporting of the research. We support inclusive leadership and research practices that seek voice and authentic engagement in decision-making in educational leadership.
Why a collaboratory now?
Over the past year we have seen challenges emerge that were unforeseen before the global pandemic. Our response to the pandemic has driven by both policy decisions involving all aspects of educational context and leadership by those leading our individual and collective reactions to the challenges all educators are facing. A collaboratory is an effort to bring a collective effort to examining and undertaking research that informs educational contexts across the globe.