Self Designed Case Study Response<br />“Blogging Belief”<br />Jessica Hollon<br />ITEC 5090<br />March 13, 2010<br />Summary of Pertinent Facts<br />Julie is a twenty eight year old teacher with seven years teaching experience. In the past, she has been able to effectively integrate technology into her classroom and was supported in doing so by her former administrator. This school year is different for Julie and because she has a new principal with a different outlook on deviating from the scripted curriculums that all teacher are to use. <br />The new administrator at the school believes that teachers should only teach what is written in the curriculum and only use those methods listed by the curriculum publisher. This disappoints Julie because there is not strong technology integration in the curriculum. Julie feels like the use of classroom blogs can enhance her classroom and teach her students many valuable skills that they can use later in their education, as well as in their daily lives. <br />When Julie first discussed the possibility of using a classroom blog with her principal Mrs. Dean, the principal had harsh criticisms toward this method. Among Mrs. Dean’s remarks to Julie concerning blogging in the classroom was the fact that she felt, “blogging would not be beneficial “ and she also commented that, “kids do not need to be taught to blog; they all have cell phones and computers of their own and use this technology outside of school.” <br />It quickly became clear to Julie that Mrs. Dean felt school time could be better spent elsewhere and that blogging does not have a place in the classroom. Julie also knows that Mrs. Dean, who almost always communicates with her staff only through email, is under criticism herself for not being involved in the overall school community and has come under fire from parents and even the superintendent from these issues. Knowing this, the principal’s next statement to Julie was not that unimaginable. Mrs. Dean stated that, “parents here are so overly involved that if we have kids blog, parents and student will be reading the blog and blogging from home and this will create something that one teacher cannot effectively manage, nor would want to.” <br />While Julie listened to all of the criticisms for classroom blogging, she knew that she could find evidence to the contrary if Mrs. Dean would just agree to meet with her again when she was better prepared to state her side of the debate. To Julie’s surprise, Mrs. Dean agreed to reconvene and discuss the issue in one week, providing that Julie come with research based reasons and facts on how blogging can enhance the traditional classroom experience. Julie knows she has a large job ahead of her, but also knows that blogging can be an excellent tool for her students. Her task now is to find justifications to her thoughts in order to present them to Mrs. Dean. <br />Appraisal of the Situation<br />In order to change Mrs. Dean’s mind, Julie needs to go into this meeting very prepared and with research based findings and data from reputable sources to present to her principal on how blogging can be successful in the classroom setting. Mrs. Dean already has strong feelings against blogging in the classroom, so Julie needs to analyze what she already knows to be the principal’s thoughts on blogging and prepared counter statements to these thoughts. <br />Julie can gain insight into the principal’s thoughts from their first impromptu discussion about classroom blogging. From that discussion Julie knows that Mrs. Dean has these criticisms of classroom blogging:<br /><ul><li>Blogging is not as beneficial as the district purchased curriculum.
Students do not need to be taught to blog or spend class time doing so. Students can and already do use this technology in their lives outside of school.
In school, students should respond to each other and the teacher in traditional ways, of oral or written communication where class time is better spent.
Parents and students possibly blogging from home will create a management issue.</li></ul>In stating counter points, Julie can refer to these sources and theories:<br /><ul><li> The International Reading Association’s published literature on HOT Blogging for classroom use.
The Journal of Interactive Learning’s published literature on using online reflection tools to build community and conversation.
The Innovation Decision Process</li></ul>Assessment<br />Mrs. Dean is a believer that blogging is not as beneficial to students’ education as the methods dictated in the district purchased curriculum that calls for written and oral communication. According to recent publications from The Journal of Online Interactive Learning (2002), “Today’s public schools are compelled to provide students with technology competency skills that will allow them to supplant their learning through online sources and succeed in an ever-increasing technological workplace” (Rule, Barrera, Dockstader, & Deer, 2002, p. 1). By not providing these skills to students, even though the current curriculum does not call for the practice of technological skills, would be a disservice to students. Schools’ goals are to prepare students for higher education opportunities, and to be productive adult citizens one day; and the world is ever-changing the curriculums schools teach need to be providing a road map for that change in order for students to be successful. <br />Yes, almost all students are familiar with the internet, but “in addition to integrating writing to support reading, classroom blogging prepares students for the new illiteracies of the internet” (Zawilinski, 2009, p. 650). According to The International Reading Association (2009) the internet is this generation’s “defining technology for literacy,” (Zawilinski, 2009, p. 650) and to think this technology will remain stagnant is a misconception. The internet is currently “home to a continuously emerging set of new technologies for literacy such as search engines, email, blogs, wikis, instant messenger, social networking tools, and many others yet to emerge” (Zawilinski, 2009, p. 651). Each of these sets of technologies “require new skills and strategies, and schools need to prepare students for these new illiteracies by integrating them into the curriculum, and blogs are an easy way to begin” (Zawilinski, 2009, p. 651). <br />With the internet’s emerging new illiteracies at teachers’ fingertips, teachers need to integrate these tools into curriculums that do not call for technology integration. The thought that students can do this on their own, and that they will do this on their own, is not entirely true. Howard Reingold (2006) summed it up well by describing our students in this way: “This population is both self-guided and in need of guidance, and although a willingness to learn new media by point-and-click exploration might come naturally to today’s student cohorts, there is nothing innate about knowing how to apply their skills” (Zawilinski, 2009, p. 652).<br />Teachers using blogging need to have a plan or outlined framework for how blogging can be paired with already existing curriculums. In this way, blogging is not just an added task for students, but a worthwhile activity. By using what is referred to as the HOT Blogging framework, as outlined in a recent International Reading Association’s publication The Reading Teacher (2009), classroom blogging done in this way can induce higher order thinking skills. The HOT (High Order Thinking) blogging framework consists of four recursive steps:<br /><ul><li>Bolster background
Make multiplicity explicit</li></ul>“Each step integrates both traditional reading comprehension skills and the new, higher order thinking skills often required during online reading comprehension” (Zawilinski, 2009, p. 655). By integrating this type of blogging into the classroom, it will not replace curriculums already in place; but it will enhance what is already happening for the students. <br />In the bolster background step to HOT blogging (2009), <br />teachers post activities and questions on the blog designed to build background knowledge about the selection that students are reading. Then students read online to locate, critically evaluate, synthesize information, and communicate their ideas by posting what they have found to the blog, inviting others to comment (p. 656).<br />If it is a curriculum’s goal to hit on the differing levels of bloom’s taxonomy, then this step alone, when paired with a reading curriculum, is meeting many different levels of this taxonomy.<br />During the prime the pump stage of HOT Blogging “students think deeply about the background they have built and what they have read in beginning chapter(s) of the text to share an initial interpretation” (Zawilinski, 2009, p. 657). And finally “students read what others in the class have posted to prepare for a conversation” (Zawilinski, 2009, p. 657).<br />The next step is continuing the conversation and it is in this stage that students “begin to summarize and synthesize understanding across multiple textual units” (Zawilinski, 2009, p. 657). Students can verbally discuss other’s thoughts while synthesizing this information with their own feelings. Students can also post their responses which should be more than a summary and “involving original thinking” (Zawilinski, 2009, p. 657) as well as the use of higher order thinking skills.<br />The last step in the HOT blogging framework is to make multiplicity explicit. The International Reading Association (2009) feels as though this step should “invite students to read, think, and comment on the classroom blog, and that when different ideas are expressed students are supported in thinking deeply about diverse beliefs and positions” (Zawilinski, 2009, p. 657).<br />These skills and strategies that are required when students are HOT Blogging as an additional step in any reading and language curriculum, are supported by Bloom’s taxonomy skills and “a number of the IRA/NCTE (1996) Standards for English Language Arts” (Zawilinski, 2009, p. 658). <br />The criticism that classroom blogging is an invitation for management issues when parents and students start blogging from home, can also be presented as a positive to this type of classroom program. “Classroom blogs can bridge the ever-widening gap between out-of school illiteracies and in-school illiteracies” (Zawilinski, 2009, p. 652). When parents and students can get onto a classroom blog and view work and respond, it can broaden the communities in which students have to showcase their thoughts and work. This can be a very positive influence and motivational tool and can be easily managed. <br />Blogs can be set with passwords, and any responses sent from home can be monitored by coming to the moderator/teacher before they are publically posted. “The features that are used, depend on both the blogger and the tools provided by the blog host” (Zawilinski, 2009, p. 650). By allowing comments to be screened before they are posted, the integrity of the blog can be maintained. By broadening the audience for student writing and thinking it “provides a space for collaborating outside of the typical classroom discussion, problem solving on the internet, and learning to communicate safely” (Zawilinski, 2009, p. 652). This type of collaborative blog can be especially useful to teachers and students wanting to gain more from their curriculums because, “they require students to negotiate among multiple perspectives about what is most important to share. This type of teamwork is “necessary in our global economy and may serve to increase each student’s awareness of effective writing strategies” (Zawilinski, 2009, p. 654).<br />Assessment of Anticipated Consequences<br />The best case scenario is that Julie can convince Mrs. Dean that blogging is not replacing the already present curriculum, and targeting multiple higher order thinking skills. With research and facts from both The International Reading Association and The Journal of Online Learning, Julie is armed with a multitude of facts on how blogging can be a positive addition to any classroom, and also how it can be effectively managed by a teacher so it can broaden the classroom community.<br />In convincing Mrs. Dean of these facts, Julie not only has to present the facts on blogging in a logical manner, but also guide Mrs. Dean through the steps of the innovation decision process. Because Mrs. Dean is so adamant that her thinking on technology integration is correct, Julie will need to transform the principal’s thinking based on the conversation in this single meeting. <br />The process of change, according to the innovation decision process, states that the first step one goes through is knowledge. This occurs when “an individual is exposed to an innovation’s existence and gains an understanding of how it functions” (Rogers, 1995, p. 168). This meeting is where Julie can impart the knowledge of blogging best practices and the HOT Blogging framework to Mrs. Dean. By gaining more knowledge about blogging through this meeting, Mrs. Dean can have a better understanding of what Julie intends to do in her classroom.<br />The next step in the process is persuasion. “This occurs when an individual forms a favorable or unfavorable attitude towards the innovation” (Rogers, 1995, p. 168). At this stage Mrs. Dean will likely use the third step in the process, which is decision where “an individual engages in activities that lead to a chance to adopt or reject the innovation” (Rogers, 1995, p. 168). This could manifest in having a deeper discussion with Julie, by critically listening to the research and published material on blogging, or even Mrs. Dean letting Julie try blogging on a trial basis.<br />The fourth and fifth steps in the process are implementation, which is when the adult “puts the new idea into use” (Rogers, 1995, p. 168), and confirmation which takes place when “an individual seeks reinforcement of an innovation-decision” (Rogers, 1995, p. 168). By hopefully letting Julie try blogging in her classroom Mrs. Dean will take part in the implementation step by way of Julie’s classroom experiences. <br />It is wise if Julie gets the green light to blog, for her to anticipate an evaluation of how blogging is working for the when Mrs. Dean gets to the confirmation step of the innovation decision process. At this point, Julie should be able to illustrate for Mrs. Dean that blogging is encouraging higher order thinking skills. If this happens, then I believe Mrs. Dean will let Julie and her students continue to blog, and that Mrs. Dean will be transformed by the fact that her thoughts on classroom blogging will be forever changed. <br />An unanticipated consequence to Julie’s class blogging could also be that Mrs. Dean could respond to and communicate with students through the blog. This could be a way for the principal to communicate through a medium much like email which she frequently uses with staff. It could also be a positive to Mrs. Dean by enhancing her reputation within the student, teacher, and outside community populations by showing that she is not closed off to students, but that she participates in their learning in an innovative way. Parents visiting the blog could also see this, and it could help Mrs. Dean to portray a more positive image of herself as principal.<br />Annotated Bibliography<br />Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations. (5th ed.). New York: Free Press. <br />This text is a collection of case studies and diffusion models. In this fifth edition, the author builds upon basic diffusion models to expand the existing literature in this area. Innovations, and how they are adopted or rejected by society and why this happens are explored in great detail. <br />Rule, A. C., Barrera, M. T., Dockstader, C. J., & Deer, J. A. (2002). Comparing technology skill development in computer lab versus classroom settings of two sixth grade classes. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 1(1), p. 1-11.<br />This is an interesting article on a study done with two groups of sixth grade students. One group of students used a classroom based lab and the other used a permanent computer lab. The results of the comparative study show that the computer lab group actually gained in skills at a greater rate than the classroom based lab group. This article also brings up many ideas, challenges, and rationales about integrating technology into curriculums.<br />Zawilinski, L., (2009). HOT blogging: a framework for blogging to promote higher order thinking. The Reading Teacher, 62(8), p. 650-661.<br />Printed in a publication of The International Reading Association, this article gives a framework for teachers to follow when integrating blogging into an already existent literature/reading program. By using blogging to promote higher order thinking skills, students are also preparing themselves for what is described in this article as the new literacies of the internet.<br />