Subject Area/Grade Level: Blogging in the Classroom for Staff and Elementary Students
Instructional Objective: Use blogs as an authentic learning and collaboration tool in elementary education. Apply and share content knowledge.
Utilizing a blog within elementary education is a topic I have been interested in but have not known how to integrate in meaningful way. As an educator, my goal is to prepare my students for life, not just the moment. The impact of blogging in the classroom has had mixed reviews depending on the experience level and willingness of the educator to implement the practice. Educators who are able to integrate blogging in an authentic manner experience a higher level of success than those who exercise complete control of the blog entries. Students learn best when their teacher models blogging, explains expectations, and responsibilities of blogging. Before a teacher attempts to integrate blogging, they must be confident in the practice.
As I worked my way through this assignment, I became more amazed at the online tools available to educators and students alike. Having the opportunity to utilize Google Scholar and the Albertsons Library for the first time was a fascinating experience. The resources available allow educators and students alike access to unlimited information. I found that by adjusting the search parameters, I was able to narrow the search or change topics completely. Another part of this exercise taught me although the citations can be easily inserted into a document, it is imperative that you double check for correct APA format. I cannot wait to tailor this information to a fourth grade level to share with my students. Sharing this new found information with my co-workers will be exciting as well. Regardless of grade level taught, I am confident the utilization of these online resources will be applicable to all students.
Quickly realizing how much catching up I need to do in order to be successful at integrating technology in the classroom. I have created a simple blog to begin this process. I am pleased with the outcome so far. The address is http://firstname.lastname@example.org. If anyone would like to take a look and provide constructive criticism, it would be appreciated. I am very excited about the future prospect of blogging and the impact it will have on my students.
Ferdig, R. E., & Trammell, K. D. (2004) Content delivery in the ‘blogosphere’. The Journal 31.7, 12-20.
Summary: Teachers who actively utilize blogging in the classroom are providing their students with an authentic writing and reading opportunity. Students who blog take pride in their work, increase their knowledge in the subject area they are writing about, and participate in higher order thinking. Blogs rely on hyperlinks which direct the both the writer and reader to greater sources of information. The possibilities for increasing knowledge with the use of blogs in the classroom are endless.
Hungerford-Kresser, H., Wiggins, J., & Amaro-Jimenez, C. (2011). Learning from our mistakes: what matters when incorporating blogging in the content area literacy classroom. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 55, 4, 326-335. doi:10.1002/JAAL.00039
Summary: As exciting as new technology is, mistakes are made and then must be corrected. In our haste to integrate the latest and greatest technology, there are times when it may not have a positive impact on student learning. During this study involving preservice teachers, blogging became just another assignment for students to complete. Another huge issue of this focus group was the divide between tech-savvy students and the technologically apprehensive students. Never assume that all of your students are on the same level regardless of their age or educational background.
McGrail, E., & Davis, A. (2011). The influence of classroom blogging on elementary student writing. Journal Of Research In Childhood Education, 25(4), 415-437. doi:10.1080/02568543.2011.605205.
Summary: Blogging in the classroom is an ever evolving means to improve writing literacy. Since the students are not just writing to their teacher, they gain a greater sense of connection to their audience. Students who blog become aware of who their audience is through discussion forums and feedback. Initially the quality of writing is very basic however as the school year progresses, the content of the blogs dramatically improve. Motivated by ownership, students are more mindful of what is posted and are more willing to share their voice. This in turn boosts confidence not only in writing but in the use of the Internet.
Poling, Catherine.(2005). Blog on: Building communication and collaboration among staff and students. Learning & Leading with Technology 32.6, 12-15.
Summary: The integration of blogging in the classroom is a growing trend in education. Students who blog, share their thoughts on a topic and learning strategies while actively participating in online discussion forums. Blogging is a means of communication that allows collaboration between staff members when face-to-face time is limited.
Tucker, J., & Courts, B. (2010). Utilizing the internet to facilitate classroom learning. Journal Of College Teaching & Learning, 7(7), 36-43. Retrieved from http://journals.cluteonline.com/index.php/TLC/article/view/136/130
Summary: Use of the Internet in the classroom is only successful if the teachers fully embrace technology. Schools must also have the financial means along with support personnel to maintain existing systems and upgrade when necessary. Systems that are not maintained are more of a handicap, making the integration of technology very difficult to those who realize the importance it. The Internet provides unlimited possibilities for educators to open doors for students but these doors cannot be opened unless teachers can access all aspects of the technology available to them.
Zawilinski, Lisa (2009). Hot blogging: A framework for blogging to promote higher order thinking. The Reading Teacher 62.8, 650-661. doi: 10.1598/RT.62.8.3
Summary: Introducing elementary students to the Internet is preparing them for life. A comfortable way to achieve this is through the use of blogging. A frequently used type of blog is the Classroom News Blog. This type of blog is used to post the daily events of the classroom to parents, students, and staff members. Other types of blogs include Mirror Blogs, Showcase Blogs, and Literature Response Blogs. During the course of this study, Zawilinski also found that student centered blogging called HOT (Higher Order Thinking) Blogging facilitated greater exposure to online reading skills along with an increased outlook on what was read.
4.4 Information Management – Acquire information for use in research projects from sources such as Google Scholar and Albertsons Library.