As I was reading Twitter and blog posts, I came across the blog from Jeff Felix who researched using blogs as an instructional tool in the classroom. The blog post that caught my attention is entitled, “The Study on Blogging Educators is Complete!”, and was created for the following reason:
“This blog is posted in order for people to benefit from the research I conducted on the phenomenon of blogging and, in particular, blogging as an instructional practice in the K-12 classroom.”
As Felix summarizes the results from his disseration study, I am reminded that ed tech teachers knew the following occurred with students and it is fantastic that there is research to use with administrators, directors, etc. to quote when making a pitch for using or integrating tech tools into daily curricula/instruction.
“The study shows that teachers perceive a significant increase in student learning through motivation for assignments and through deeper thought processes. Students seem to enjoy the connectiveness of their work to other subjects and to each other. This collaboration encourages a deeper relationship with their peers and with the teacher. Other studies have shown these relationships produce more student learning especially in minorities and students of low socioeconomic backgrounds. It also seems that teachers see the benefits of this practice. They have increased their use of blogging year after year, which seems to show they feel blogging has great relevance as a classroom tool.”
As I was reading one of the comments to the blog, I was reminded that the district that I was recently affiliated with blocked all blogs until this past March and then only the CIT blogs for each campus and the district ed tech blogs were accessible. It is so disheartening to think of the many opportunities and activities that could have been done to develop the rigor and relavance and make learning more meaningful for students.
Intially, when the CIT’s asked the director if we could use blogs with students we were told no as students would need email accounts. At that time, we were wanting to use the blogging portion only of Gaggle.net. A generic email account/login could have been used with the email portion of Gaggle still blocked if that had been actual concern. Then a week later the director’s spouse began using Classblogmeister and suddenly the world of blogging became available to the CIT’s only. Use with students wouldn’t be allowed until this upcoming school year. The other CIT’s didn’t use, know how or receive training on how to effectively use a blog with staff. Discussion of ways to use, maintain, implement and promote the blogs never occurred as the directors themselves did not know how or even experience reading blogs. RSS feeds and blogging were so foreign that the CIT blogs had no posts, comments or activity from teachers on their respective campuses. It is so unfortunate the awesome things that could have been done to involve the students and community with blogs. Hopefully that evolution will take place and that area of expertise will expand and grow. I have shared my own (small but evolving!) blog and other educational blogs by superbloggers so hopefully the spark will light a fire for the district instructional technology personnel.