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  1. 1. ESTEE ADERY TECHQUEST: BLOGGING TechQuest: Applying Technology to a Problem of Practice in Education BLOGS: Blogs are beneficial tools to be used in the classroom, if used properly. As a teacher, incorporating technology into the classroom in a blog format would not only motivate students to become more engaged in material it will enhance their technological skills. Weblogs, or blogs, are Web pages often likened to online personal journals. They are noted for being the "unedited, published voice of the people" (Winer 2003). Ferdig, R., & Trammell, K. (2004) Content Delivery in the 'Blogosphere". T.H.E Journal.. Using blogs in my health education classroom can utilize Web 2.0 technologies and apply it to my curriculum as well as hold students accountable for participation and learning. This is an opportunity to utilize the computer labs at school in order to engage and enhance student learning. The word blog has become part of a high school student’s diction. Why not utilize the opportunity to bring blogs to the classroom? It has been said “…teachers whose students blog within the context of lessons report improved writing and dramatically improved attitudes toward learning, classrooms and schools” (Blog Rules). This is a great opportunity to incorporate blogging in my Health Education classroom as well as an innovative tool to motivate my students. The Problem of Practice: A Need or an Opportunity EDUCATIONAL PROBLEM/ISSUE: The problem that blogging with solve is two-fold 1) Huron Valley Schools, specifically Lakeland High School, has incorporated writing across the curriculum in all subject areas and therefore expects each domain to have students write. Therefore, I must include writing in my Physcial Education courses as well as Health Education 2) I would like my students to improve their writing skills and become better writers. Blogging in Health Education would prove to be successful over time, as one cannot determine if a student has become a better writer after a few blog postings. To realize true success of writing improvement would take an entire semester or school year. During the short period of time, blogging/writing success is determined through active engagement, length of blog postings, as well as completion of the posts. Since this a brand new concept to be implemented in Health Education, observation of the aforesaid criteria would prove success thus far.
  2. 2. ESTEE ADERY TECHQUEST: BLOGGING I have implemented blogging in the health education classroom by taking students to the computer lab and teaching them how to correctly use the given blog site: . I will use blogging in the form of journaling and answering open-ended questions. Students can comment on each other’s blogs and discuss relevant topics as it pertains to the health curriculum.  Teacher Initially the teacher, myself, is a sage on stage, guiding students through the blogging process. This includes helping students sign up for the blog as well as show them how to correctly post their assignment. Once students learn the protocol for blogging I will become a guide of the side. The teacher will utilize instructional and educational resources to gain knowledge prior to implementation. Resources include: 1. date=August2008&departmentid=professional&columnid=professional!technology This website offers a tool to integrate blogging into the classroom. It comes from an online magazine for k-5 teachers, however all grade level teachers can use this site as an informational resource. This content comes specifically from, WATER, ICE, AND SNOW - ISSUE 5, AUGUST 2008 and describes how to maximize the potential of technology into one’s pedagogy as well as how to integrate technology into instruction. 2. This site offers a Quick Guide to Blogging slideshow. In the slide show various topics are covered as it relates to educational blogging. Topics such as what is a blog?, why blog?, blogging for teachers, and blogging with students are described. 3. Information on Educational Blogging is expressed in this article. In this article, it is expressed that, “Classroom blogging has the potential ‘to motivate students, to build online collaboration, and enhance learning opportunities’” (Holzberg, 2003). This article supports my problem(s) of practice
  3. 3. ESTEE ADERY TECHQUEST: BLOGGING and is a wonderful reference for blogging in education. In her article, Laurel A. Clyde discusses educational blogging, weblogs as sources of information for teachers, and weblogs in the curriculum In addition the teacher can seek experts, those who have implemented blogging in their domain. Research from two teachers, Mark Kay and Kim Cofino, have proven that student writing improved after blogging in each of their classrooms. Kim Cofino, a Literacy Specialist at the International School Bangkok in Thailand, introduced blogging to her elementary aged students. In her blog, she describes how she went about implementation. Mr. Kay, Lakeland High School English Teacher, has students blog every day and has seen very positive results. His English students use the site to respond to Mr. Kay’s posts. Through speaking to Mark Kay, he has said his student’s writing has improved drastically since the pilot of blogging in his classroom.  Learner Students in my Health Education courses are the learners. Students range in age from freshman to seniors. They are learning from the teacher as well as their peers in class. Students have access to view blogs from all sections of health that I teach, and therefore can communicate with them and view their work. This will help improve their writing and motivate them to learn.  Subject Matter Blogging will be used to improve student writing in the domain of Health Education. Through blogging in Health, students will be writing across the curriculum and meeting the problem of practice.  Setting The setting in which my students will participate in blogging will be in a school computer lab. Initially students will begin blogging in class, as I need to walk them through signing up for the web log. Once students understand the blogging protocol and my expectations they will be able to blog at home as well.
  4. 4. ESTEE ADERY TECHQUEST: BLOGGING Technology-Integrated Solution Using blogs, teachers could utilize the constructivist model, which promotes inquiry-based learning. Teachers could pose an open-ended question, which would require much thought and analytical review. Students would have to respond to the question as well as other student’s blogs. This is considered active dialogue, which promotes inquiry and much thought. Questions pertaining to real world scenarios would actively engage students to respond to blogged questions posed by the teacher. Blogs itself are a motivational tool for learning. Learning through blogs is an active process; therefore the constructivist approach is a strategy that fits well. In addition, students can also develop and pose questions and later build upon their peer’s answers. Through this, students can gather and develop answers, look for results, and analyze and interpret information. Also, through a blog, students could post any questions or concerns they have in class. In using blogs, students would not have to turn in a hard copy of their journal, paper, or questions to be answered. Instead, they could use the blog. Class time could be given to students to use the blogs in the computer lab. It has been said that, “Current educational research and theory have demonstrated the importance of social interaction in teaching and learning” (Ferdig, R., & Trammell, K. (2004) Content Delivery in the 'Blogosphere". T.H.E Journal. ) Face to face social interaction is just as important as virtual social interaction when teaching and learning from one’s peers and from one’s teacher. Incorporating a blog into a classroom, one could enhance social skills as well as create an atmosphere filled with learning and fun. Students should be informed that blogs are publicly accessible and that anything written in a blog would have to be appropriate, or the privilege would be taken from them. One should “Clearly communicate that the messages posted on a blog are publicly accessible. Therefore, an employer, friend or parent can easily access the blog. As such, students should remember that once something is posted on the Internet, communication is irreversible, even if later edited or removed” ( Ferdig, R., & Trammell, K. (2004) Content Delivery in the 'Blogosphere". T.H.E Journal.). This teaches students to be professional in their thoughts and help them grow as individuals. As stated by Richard E. Ferdig, Ph.D., and Kaye D. Trammell, University of Florida, there
  5. 5. ESTEE ADERY TECHQUEST: BLOGGING are four benefits of student blogging: 1. The use of blogs helps students become subject-matter experts. 2. The use of blogs increases student interest and ownership in learning. 3. The use of blogs gives students legitimate chances to participate. 4. The use of blogs provides opportunities for diverse perspectives, both within and outside of the classroom. In addition, blogging has other benefits. Some benefits include the promotion of social interaction with teaching and learning via blogs, blogging is a new and innovative technology that “speaks” to the students, and lastly blogging is educationally engaging. In addition to the previously mentioned benefits, students are held accountable for participation and learning. Blogging in class allows all students to strive—even the reluctant learners. Blogging in Health Education promotes active participation and therefore will improve student writing. Through a constructivist approach to learning students become engaged and glued to their monitor, completing various blogging assignments. Through blogging, students will improve their writing. Examples of how blogging will be a stepping stone to improved student work are as follows: 1) Active dialogue through threaded discussions, 2) Examples of student work are at their fingertips, and lastly 3) Students enjoy using technology and therefore will be more motivated to write and complete assignments. Blogging promotes writing and therefore will improve student work. Jere Brophy, a University Distinguished Professor of Teacher Education at Michigan State University, describes basic principles that connect to blogging and the benefits. His 6th and 11th principle provide support for blogging in my domain. Brophys principles are the guide to effective teaching and can be applied to blogging and improvement of student writing. Through thoughtful discourse and goal oriented assessment students will improve their participation and writing in class. Brophy supports blogging as it provides thoughtful discourse. “Questions are planned to
  6. 6. ESTEE ADERY TECHQUEST: BLOGGING engage students in sustained discourse structured around powerful ideas” (Brophy, 19). Providing students with the opportunity to blog in my classroom would strengthen Brophy’s 6th principle. When students are given questions that pertain to the health curriculum, they will have to provide a thoughtful and insightful response to the given question. Other peers may respond to each student’s blog. Blogging supports Brophy’s 11th principle of Goal Oriented assessment. “In addition, learning activities and sources of data other than tests should be used for assessment purposes” (Brophy, 30). Blogging in the classroom is a great opportunity to assess student learning in a way that appeals to the technological natives. Brophy, J, (1999) Teaching. Mr. Mark Kay, Lakeland High School English Teacher, has implemented blogging in his World Literature and American Literature courses. After having students blog daily for about a year, he has noticed a drastic improvement in their writing. He said, “MEAP and ACT scores will definitely be better next year and when they are, I will attribute the superior scores to blogging daily (as well as other factors).” Another supporter of blogging is Ferdig. As stated by Richard E. Ferdig, Ph.D., and Kaye D. Trammell, University of Florida, “Blogs, therefore, represent the potential to promote interactivity, provide opportunities for active learning, increase student and teacher relationships, increase higher-order thinking skills, and improve flexibility in teaching and learning (Ferdig and R'ehler, Unpublished). Research by Ferdig suggests that blogging is a beneficial tool to be used in the classroom.  Logistics of solution Students in my Health Education classes will be utilizing a Web 2.0 technology, blogging, in order to increase their motivation, engagement and improve their writing. Blogging will be implemented and ideally be used throughout the semester long health course. High School aged students enrolled in Health will be utilizing this technology. The educator, myself, will act as the administrator/creator of the blog and oversee blog posts documented by my students. Blog
  7. 7. ESTEE ADERY TECHQUEST: BLOGGING questions to be answered will be posed by the creator and commented by my students. For TechQuest purposes, blogging will only take place once, and therefore formative and summative findings will be difficult to evaluate. Implementation Journal To begin blogging in Health Education, I took each hour down to the Virtual Lab in order to walk them through the blogging process. I found this beneficial as guiding students in utilizing a new Web 2.0 technology helps ease what might be a frustrating situation. Students began by logging into their school account in order to access the Internet. I then walked the class through, step by step, in creating an account for our site ( Students were directed to the health blogging website, and once there, were advised to click on “follow” in order to create an account to use when posting/commenting. Once students clicked on follower they were given the option to sign in using AIM, Google, Yahoo, or an Open ID. If they had one of the aforementioned accounts they were instructed to click on the given icon in order to proceed. If a student did not have an AIM, Google, or Yahoo account, an option to create a new Google account was available on the same screen. After creating an account, students were taken to a profile where they typed in their name: first and last. Students then clicked on “Follow this blog” in order to proceed with the signing up process. The Lakeland Health Education web blog appeared on each student’s screen along with his or her name and picture id. Some students chose to select an image while others did not. At this point, students were then ready to answer/comment the blog question that I posed. The blog posting was entitled Benefits of Physical Activity and read: After reading about the benefits of physical activity, write a persuasive e-mail to an inactive friend. In the e-mail you should persuade your friend to get more exercise by describing the benefits of physical activity. Include a list of the sports and recreational activities one could participate. I had students choose whether to post directly on the site or use a word document (then copy and paste their reply into the post box). This is to ensure correct grammar and punctuation. Some students like to use Microsoft Word as they are used to typing in that document and can see their entire reply before posting. Also, they could save their document to word, just in case a problem with posting arose. Others did not mind commenting in a small posting box When students were ready to post, they clicked on “comment” (underneath the blog
  8. 8. ESTEE ADERY TECHQUEST: BLOGGING question in which they were to respond) and scrolled down to the posting box. Before posting their comment, each student had to select the profile in which they were going to comment as. For example if a student signed up using a Google account, he would select Google Account. If a student signed up using AIM, he would select AIM and follow the given instructions. After selecting his/her profile students then clicked on “post comment.” If students used Google when they signed up for the account, word verification was given and then the post would appear on the blog. However if a student used AIM to sign up for the blog account, they had to type in their user name, a word verification was given, and then an AOL open ID sign in request screen appeared. Students had to grant permission before their response would be posted onto the Health Education Blog. Bumps in the Road: There were a few bumps in the road or glitches that occurred while blogging in Health. I had a responsible and reliable student in my 3rd hour attempt to post to the blog the night
  9. 9. ESTEE ADERY TECHQUEST: BLOGGING before the in class blogging assignment. This was done in order to iron out any possible problems that might occur. When I logged onto the Lakeland Health Blogging site at 10:00pm the night before and did not see a post by my stellar student, I knew something had to have gone wrong. She came to class at the beginning of 3rd hour and said, “Ms.A I tried and lost my post in the process…. I wrote out the blog in the comment box and I finished it. I hit the “post comment” button and it said I had to choose a profile. I did not understand what this meant and started to try the different options. I ended up losing the entire essay.” From this I learned that one cannot just type their reply into the comment box and hit post comment unless they have signed up for the blog first—choosing a user profile. This information was very beneficial, as many students would have lost their essay in class had Kelsey not realized this the hard way. I was very grateful to her for figuring out this problem. She understood that she had to re-do her blog posting. After learning one cannot post a comment into the box without signing up, I guided my students in the process. During this time I was a sage on stage. Since I am new to blogspot, I was unsure how to sign up as a student and not the blogspot creator. I then looked at the top right section of the blogging site and saw a link that said “Be the first” under Followers. I had one student go through the process that already had a Google account and had her post a test blog. After signing up as a follower, she posted a comment that read “testing post” along with her name and hour. However, in order to post her comment, she selected Google Account under “comment as.” This was the solution to the problem that Kelsey had the night before. I was very excited when this worked. After the testing post was complete, other students could sign up by clicking on “follow” and complete the same process. Another bump in the road occurred when students who signed up using a Yahoo account had difficulty posting, as it was not an option to comment as a Yahoo user. This did not make sense to me, as that is how some students created their account for the health blog. When this problem arouse, I had students go to and create a new Google account, so they could comment. After learning about this glitch in the blogging site 3rd hour (the first hour the site was implemented), I altered how I guided my students in the process of signing up for my blog. After
  10. 10. ESTEE ADERY TECHQUEST: BLOGGING clicking on “follow,” students were taken to another page to determine how they were going to sign into the blog. Instead of giving them the option of using Yahoo, I told them to select Google or AIM if they have an existing account. If students did not have either of aforementioned existing accounts, I advised them to click on the option to “create a new Google account.” This would alleviate any problems one might have when posting to the blog. Specifically, this would lessen the problem of what option to choose when commenting. Students would either choose AIM or Google. After each bump in the road, I was able to revise as I taught each hour. After learning about Kelsey’s problem posting the night before blogging in class, I was able to guide students through the signing up process during class. Another revision made after blogging for the first time, to be implemented for the next health class, was to have students sign up using Google or AIM and not
  11. 11. ESTEE ADERY TECHQUEST: BLOGGING Yahoo. I was able to revise my teaching by guiding students through the process, void of the previous problem of not being able to post if a student signed in using a yahoo account. Each bump in the road helped me learn how to revise the blogging process. • Delights (What went well) / vignettes There were many delights to blogging, once all the bumps in the road were fixed. Students truly enjoyed this learning experience and each student was actively participating in the completion of the assignment. Students, who are normally off task, were focused and glued to their monitor. They worked very diligently and completed the assignment by the end of the class period. I found that blogging is extremely beneficial to my special education students or to those who have learning impairments. During blogging, these students were very engaged and void of off task behavior. I was impressed with their hard work. I told one student in particular how proud I was of him. I then asked him if blogging helped sustain his focus. He responded by saying, “I work better on a computer than I do out of a book.” This student, in particular, has a rough home life and lacks motivation to complete assignments in class. He is currently failing because of his lack of motivation. To find out what motivates him to learn was more than delightful- enough to give me goose bumps. Another positive aspect of blogging in Health was that students were able to blog on a second posting on their own- without my help. At this time, I was a guide on the side. I was also impressed when students helped those who were absent the first day of blogging. Peer teaching was definitely taking place. I posted a reflection piece to blogging as Post #2, in order to follow up on their learning blogging experience. Students had to reply to the following post: Health Blogging Experience What are your thoughts and comments about your blogging experience in class? Questions to consider in your post: 1) Did blogging help keep your focus? 2) In your opinion, is this a motivational piece of technology you would like to continue to use?
  12. 12. ESTEE ADERY TECHQUEST: BLOGGING 3) Would you rather blog in class or at home? (or both?) 4) Was it easy to do? 5) Likes? 6) Dislikes/Frustrations? 7) What went well? 8) What types of posts would you like to see in the future? (ex. opinion questions? debate questions?) 9) Any other comments? For example: "I work better on a computer than I do out of a book." -GM I asked students to please answer this blog post to the best of their ability. I also stated: “In order to keep you motivated and engaged in learning, it is my hope that blogging will be a beneficial tool to use in Health :) Your responses will be taken into account in order to improve my teaching. I appreciate your time :)” Some of their responses include “blogging was cool. I like doing this rather than working in class. i like working on computers” –Steve Sutton “My blogging experience in class I think is very beneficial. Blogging helps keep my focus because it summarizes what we are learning in class. I would highly recommend to keep using this motivational piece of technology to keep students focused and in touch with what we are learning overall in health. But I would much rather blog in class than at home because at home people will slack, rush, or not to the blogs at all. In school everyone’s focused and gets the task done. The blogs are very easy, and I like how we can say what we want about the subject and express our opinions openly. I have no dislikes or frustrations as long as the blog requirements stay at 2-3 paragraphs long. I would love to see opinion questions in the future, I feel like those are the most interesting. Thank you for providing us with a blog Ms. A  “ –Alandra Schmidt “Assignments letting full opinions and thoughts on topics are always agreeable!” – Katie Loder "I work better on a computer than I do out of a book." –Grady McCoy I think that being able to see what other students wrote will help those who need help
  13. 13. ESTEE ADERY TECHQUEST: BLOGGING without asking. I would definitely like to blog more than learning out of the book. Blogging about a topic, and then having people look over it can help them understand your opinions, also. • Surprises I was surprised at how complicated it is to sign up for a blog on blogspot. I thought that it would be easier and that all students would have to do is type in a reply and post it to the blog. To my surprise the signing up process was more difficult that I had anticipated. Similarly this was a frustration for some students as I learned through observation and their reflections. One student said, “My dislikes/ frustrations were that the whole signing up and making an account thing but other than that I found it easy.” Another students agreed by saying, “At first it was frustrating trying to start the assignment but once I did it got easier.” I was very impressed with my student’s blogs, however I was surprised at some of their grammar and sentence structure. With the increase in Web 2.0 technologies, students do not view blogging as writing a paper. Some students responded to the post as if they were texting a friend. For example, they were typing the letter “u” instead of writing out the word “you.” Although I verbally expressed the importance of correct grammar and punctuation, some students did not follow directions. For their next blog, I will post the criteria on the site and make it VERY clear that correct punctuation and grammar are part of the grading criteria. One last surprise was that my students started “friending” other “followers.” Through the Lakeland Health Education blogging site, one can add friends. I did not know that this was possible. In fact, when I overheard students talking I responded by saying, “You can friend on our blog? … you know that you will only be able to friend those students I have in my 3rd, 4th, and 5th hours.” At least I know it is safe to friend my students on this site, if they ask me.  Findings:  Formative: Did the project get implemented as planned? Blogging in Health Education was implemented as planned, however it is difficult to evaluate findings such as writing improvement after a single post. I did observe results that
  14. 14. ESTEE ADERY TECHQUEST: BLOGGING indicate blogging over the course of a semester will improve student writing. One observation in particular is that students who have difficulty completing writing assignments on paper completed the blog posting without difficulty. These students wrote far more on the blog posting than they do using a pencil and paper. Of the students who completed the blog assignment, writing more than they would on paper, about four of them had not completed previously given writing assignments in class. When students who do not normally complete health writing assignments, are given time in class to blog, they complete the assignment with time to spare. Therefore student writing will improve over the course of a semester when given time in class to blog. Through reviewing the student blog postings I observed an increase in the length of student writing. Students were to answer the blog post in two to three paragraphs. After reading each of the blogs, students wrote information packed paragraphs, averaging about five sentences long. When given time to blog in school students are more prone to completing the assignment and therefore this will promote writing improvement. Blogging, as opposed to writing using a paper and pencil, improves student writing. As expressed, students write more and are more prone to complete assignments (rather than not doing the assignment).  Summative: Evidence of success in addressing the problem of practice Summative assessment would have to take place over the course of an entire school year or semester. Blogging is still in the formative stages and needs time to indicate improvement of student writing. As mentioned above students who have difficulty completing paper and pencil writing assignments completed the blog posting. Students who do not normally accomplish writing assignments are motivated by technology and completed the in class blog. Completion of the blog itself is an indicator that writing will be improved. Students who normally do not choose to speak their opinions aloud in class wrote a great deal on their blog posting. I was very impressed as this indicates active participation and allows them to have more of a voice in my class. Students will get to know their fellow classmates’ opinions more and in turn learn more about each classmate as an individual. Blogging is an important tool to promote writing across the curriculum.
  15. 15. ESTEE ADERY TECHQUEST: BLOGGING Evaluation Given what I have learned I might approach another project differently by using a different blogging site. is a quality blogging site, however there were some glitches to the site that would have caused my students a number of problems had I not guided them through the process of signing up for the site. I researched various blogging sites, however chose to go with blogspot as other teachers in my building use the same site. I wanted to use the same web blog site so students had consistency. Next year I will use a different blogging site with a less intricate signing up process. This was the only frustration for my students. Although I helped them every step of the way it was still a difficult process. In order to ensure students have an easy time signing up for my health blogging site, I will have a few students stay after school, to sign up, once the site is unblocked by the district. This will alleviate any frustration students may have. This time I had a student try to sign up at home, and she had many frustrations. I learned a variety of lessons from implementing blogging into my curriculum for the first time. The lessons I have learned are as follows: • One might have a reliable student try signing up for the blog on her own at home to see if there are any unexpected problems. This will help you iron out any problems before assigning the blog. As mentioned above, next time I implement a new blogging site, I will have a few students stay after school to sign up for the site. • As a teacher implementing blogging for the first time, I would suggest walking students through the process in class. After having one stellar student try blogging on her own the night before (as a test run), she had a problem arise that I was able to fix while guiding all students in class. • Students are your best teacher when it comes to bumps in the road while blogging – they might have an answer to your question • Blogging is beneficial for all high school students- keeping them motivated and engaged in learning. • Special Education students strive when it comes to blogging in class.
  16. 16. ESTEE ADERY TECHQUEST: BLOGGING • When blogging in class, students are void of off task behavior and work very diligently in completing the blog • Students do not view blogging as “writing a paper” and therefore the negative connotation of a paper turns positive when it is termed “blogging.” If I were to do implement blogging again, there are some changes to be made. First, In order to help my students sign up for my blogging site, I would give them a step-by- step instructions with screenshots. Since this was the first time I have implemented blogging in my domain, it was a learning experience for me. I now have a better idea of how this site works and what to do next time as well as what not to do. Second, since I would like to promote dialogue within blogging. I would find out if there is an option under the site administration settings to create a threaded discussion. On the site that I created for Lakeland Health Education, I have set it up where students can comment to my blog posting, but not to one another. I did not know how to set this up using blogspot. In order to create a dialogue between my students and myself, I need to research the site settings. Lastly, in order to improve their grammar and punctuation, I will have students type out their response in Microsoft Word first. Students can check for grammar and spelling errors before posting to the blog. I will also post clear criteria for blog postings on the site.