Research Brief

I’ve written a “brief” of my inquiry, based on Dana & Yendol-Hoppey’s The Reflective Educator’s Guide to Classroom Inquiry (p. 113-114).

PURPOSE:  While participating in the National Writing Project’s Connected Learning Massively Open Online Collaboration (CLMOOC) this summer, I realized that I have not used technology with my students in a way that increases their opportunities for authorship.  I want to use the principles of Connected Learning to create learning activities that are more meaningful to my students.  I also want to prepare students for the transition to Common Core, and I am interested in how blogs might be a first step toward both of these goals.

QUESTIONS:  How can blogging improve students’ academic achievement?

SUBQUESTIONS:  How can other teachers use blogging (e.g. in other subjects or at other grade levels)?  How can students blog across classrooms?  How can blogging improve students’ civic engagement?  Can blogging improve student performance as described in the Common Core standards?  Can blogging improve students’ ability to reflect on their learning?  Can blogging promote student engagement in academic discourse described by Sheridan Blau in his “Commentary” presentation this summer at UCLA?

METHOD:  Students in 4 classes (English 1P – 2 periods, 9th grade; CAHSEE Prep ELA – 1 period, 10th – 12th grades; Expository Reading & Writing Course – 1 period, 12th grade) will participate in blogging at Kidblog.

Students will learn how to comment, and then how to blog, safely and effectively.

Over the first 4 – 6 weeks of the semester, students will practice commenting by posting on the teacher’s blog.  Over the remaining 12 – 14 weeks of the semester, students will blog at least twice weekly.

1)  Learning (B)logs – weekly reflections on learning

2)  Commentaries – responses to literature as described by Sheridan Blau

Students will also be required to comment on at least one post by a classmate each week.

I will also encourage students to blog about their interests.

DATA COLLECTION:  In addition to the artifacts that our blogging will provide, I will use the following measurements:

  • Pre- and post-tests:  CAHSEE Practice Test & CAHSEE Practice Essay (CAHSEE Prep only); District Assessments (English 1P & ERWC only); SRI (English 1P & CAHSEE Prep only)
  • In-class writing assessments (ERWC & CAHSEE rubrics; writing workshop portfolios)
  • Performance tasks
  • Student questionnaires (mid-inquiry & post-inquiry)

CALENDAR:  September – Administer pre-tests; students begin to write comments on teacher blog; October – students begin to write posts on their own blogs; November – students blog; students complete mid-inquiry questionnaire; December – students blog; January 2014 – Data analysis; Determine next steps; February 2014 – prepare report for publication

Data collection as noted above and per district/course pacing; teacher blogging throughout at this site