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Blogging for a Brighter Tomorrow

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Emily Tomkins

on 22 August 2013

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Transcript of Blogging for a Brighter Tomorrow

Blogging for a Brighter Tomorrow
Why Blogging?
Current Use of Blogging?
In an effort to find out more about how blogging is currently being used in classrooms, we asked teachers that we work with to tell us about their past use of blogging in the classroom as well as any future plans. While realizing that the sample size is small (8), we believe saturation was reached in that the answers received started to repeat common threads. These threads were:
Historical Perspective
Why Blog in the Classroom?
Although blogging is not new to education, our investigation shows that many SFSD teachers, some of whom are highly respected as district innovators, do not currently use blogging in the classroom. Many of the teachers we spoke to planned to implement blogging in the coming school year due to increased access to computers. Other teachers who already do use blogging feel the need to improve its application in their classroom.
What Will Success Look Like in the Classroom?
Current Research
We selected this topic for several reasons.
1:1 Technology
Blogging is not a new idea and many teachers are at least familiar with how this technology can benefit learning in the classroom. However, by implementing a 1:1 technology initiative next year, blogging as a way of life and learning, has the ability to play a more substantial role in our classrooms. In the SFSD, students will have access to technology so we need to be thinking about how we can use technology effectively to promote communication and collaboration.

These are some of the questions we will attempt to answer through research and investigation.
What do we mean by "Collaboration is Everything?"
The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2009) states that "Learning and innovation skills increasingly are being recognized as those that separate students who are prepared for a more and more complex life and work environments in the 21st century, and those who are not" (p.3). They go on to separate these skills into three overarching categories:
Creativity and Innovation
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
, and
Communication and Collaboration
. It is easy to see how blogging is a form of communication and collaboration. We would argue, however, that these three categories are not discreet learning events, but that in a classroom situation, they work holistically as an integrated unit, with one leading directly to and supporting the others.
Creativity and Innovation
Think Creatively
Work Creatively With Others
Implement Innovations
Critical Thinking & Problem Solving
Reason Effectively
Use Systems Thinking
Make Judgments and Decisions
Solve Problems
Communication & Collaboration
Communicate Clearly
Collaborate With Others
1. I haven't used blogging in the past but plan to do so next year because my students will have computers.
2. I currently use blogging in the classroom.
3. I tried to use blogging in the past but, due to a lack of access to computers for my students during the school day, found it to be largely ineffective.
However, according to the Online Grad Team (2012) at Marygrove College, "using blogging in the classroom is still in its infancy," (para. 3).
Current research suggests that blogging will help increase student achievement and motivation.
A Trip to Turkey
A research project was conducted by Erkin Tekinarslan, assistant professor of Computer Education and Technology at Abbant Izzent Baysal University in Turkey, showing significant growth in undergraduate students who used blogging as they learned about concepts in technology.
A Trip to Greece
1. Control and experimental groups
2. Control Group: Learned through reading only.
3. Experimental Group: Reading and blogging about learning as well as personal experiences.
4. Pretest and Posttest analyses
5. Experimentation, Observations, Interviews, Document Analysis
6. Pretest - No significant difference in the mean scores between the two groups.
7. Posttest - Big difference between mean scores favoring the experimental group.
8. Experimental group showed large gains during pretest and posttest analysis. (They didn't start out higher than the control group.)
More Reasons to Improve Educational Blogging
Peter Johnston (2012) states, “Children who have learned to think together in dialogic groups learn to take each other, and thus themselves seriously. Students learn to listen to and find each other interesting, and these become properties of the learning community,” (pg. 99).
“As online readers gather information to solve a problem, they frequently analyze information, critically evaluate, synthesize across multiple texts and communicate with others using instant messag- ing, e-mail, blogs, wikis, or other communication vehicles (Leu, Kinzer, et al., 2004; Leu et al., 2007). These essential new literacies of online reading comprehension emphasize higher order thinking skills like analysis, synthesis and evaluation (Anderson, 2005; Bloom, 1956; Coiro & Dobler, 2007) and can be practiced through blogging," (Zawilinski, 2009, p. 652).
In our district, students will have one to one technology. As a district, we need to set up a framework to help students communicate effectively in an online format.
“I call mine blogging. I just do it on EDMODO through a post discussion. We had some website difficulties early on when I first tried so this was easiest. The kids love it. I can monitor posts and delete/ add things. The downside is it isn't a true blog site.”
4th Grade Teacher
Lowell Elementary
2nd Grade Teacher
Harvey Dunn Elementary

I used kidblog.org in Garretson. I really liked it. The only problem was I didn't have enough technology to make it really effective."
Zawilinski (2009) states,"Moving this instructional practice onto a blog allows us to widen our audience for students, minimize the demands on the classroom teacher, and maximize the comprehension of texts. The four, recursive steps in the HOT blogging framework adapt dialogue journal approaches to the Internet to help students develop rich conversations through both talk and written text" (p.656).
HOT Blogging
Her assertions that blogging helps students develop rich conversations supports the research done by Peter Johnston with 8th grade students. His study showed marked growth in student literacy comprehension through increased student dialogue, at the heart of which was student engagement. (personal communication, July 17, 2013)
We feel that blogging in the classroom opens the doors to our students' imaginations through collaboration and increased student engagement. At the same time, collaboration itself also leads to other necessary skills such as problems solving and critical thinking. In addition, blogging allows teachers to promote civil discourse thus strengthening the foundations of democracy. Students need to learn how to disagree with one another while maintaining civility in their conversations. (Richardson, 2008)
Guidelines for Promoting Civil Discourse
Use “I” statements to make it clear that you are speaking for yourself.
Don’t use name calling.
Avoid labeling groups of people.
Discuss ideas, not people.
Don’t respond to provocations.
Stay on topic.
Be willing to really listen to points of view that are different from your own, recognizing that others are allowed to have opinions different from yours.
Realize that what you say and what others think you said may be two different things. If there is misunderstanding, try to clarify your position
(Richardson, 2008, p.14)
Particularly important when you think about the current state of political discourse.
The Partnerships for 21st Century Skills (2009, December). P21 framework definitions.
Retrieved July 22, 2013, from http://www.p21.org/storage/documents

Marygrove College (2012, June 28). 5 reasons you should consider using
blogging in the classroom. Retrieved July 22, 2013, from http://onlinegrad.

Johnston, P. H. (2012). Opening minds: Using language to change lives.
Portland, Me: Stenhouse Publishers.
Richardson, K. W. (2008). Don't feed the trolls: Using blogs to teach civil discourse.
Learning & Leading with Technology, 35(7), 12-15. Retrieved from
Zawilinski, L. (2009). HOT blogging: A framework for blogging to promote higher
order thinking. Reading Teacher, 62(8), 650-661. Retrieved from
Tekinarslan, E. (2010). Reflections on effects of blogging on students' achievement
and knowledge acquisition in issues of instructional technology. International
Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 7(11), 13. Retrieved
from http://search.proquest.com/docview/851224011?accountid=28603
Jimoyiannis, A., & Angelaina, S. (2012). Towards an analysis framework for investigating
students' engagement and learning in educational blogs. Journal of Computer
Assisted Learning, 28(3), 222-234. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com
Pasco Schools (2012, December 10). Blogging in a 4th Grade Classroom [Video file]

Steps for Implementation:
1. Bolster background: Post questions or investigations to build background knowledge on the topic. Students post their synthesis and ideas on the blog.
2. Prime the pump: Invite students to share different types of thinking. Students respond to other’s students’ comments from the blog.
3. Continue the conversation: Students synthesize info from their schema, text readings, research, and insights from other students’ posts. (See example of synthesis scaffold)
4. Make multiplicity explicit: Students look for multiple perspectives of student thinking, respond to each other and support ideas with evidence.

•The study aimed to develop an analysis framework for evaluating blog-based learning activities in the context of secondary education.

•Results showed that students improved their higher order thinking and cognitive skills because they merged multiple ideas and created new knowledge. It also showed heightened student interest in the projects and developed social skills through collaboration.

•According to Du & Wagner 2007; Xie et al. 2008; Yang 2009, “Blogs can improve communication skills and help kids construct knowledge through the exchanging of ideas, critical and reflective thinking, interaction, collaboration, social networking and group work” (as cited by A. Jimoyiannis & Angelaina, 2010 pg. 223).

Reading, Writing
Speaking, Listening
Assessments: Observation, Rubrics, Notes, Student Interviews
shared read aloud experiences
classroom-to-classroom blogging
inviting authors or other "experts" to join our blogs
shared science experiments & problem solving
community service projects
parent involvement
pen pals
How is blogging currently being used in our classrooms and to what degree?
How can teachers use blogging to engage students and promote higher order thinking skills?
How will we know if blogging in the classroom has been a successful learning tool? (What evidence will we see?)
First Blog
Growth Period
24 Blogs
50 Million Blogs
152 Million Blogs
(Chapman, 2011)
Chapman, C. (2011, March 14). A brief history of blogging. Retrieved July 25, 2013, from http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2011/03/a-brief-history-of-blogging/

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