Case Study 2: Weekly Reflection Writing – (Student Blogging)

classroom applications
Case Study in relation to lessons/activities that have been changed before and after 1:1 implementation.  Technology use not for technology sake but in order to increase effectiveness and/or efficiency.  (Names have been changed to protect the innocent or I just made up the whole thing from a mixture of examples that I have observed.)
  • Ms. Jane is a 2nd year teacher who is very excited about the upcoming school year.  One of the things that she decided to work on over the summer was the reflection assignment she would assign to her students.  They would have to write a reflection piece about the topic of the week.  They would usually just write or type it out and turn it in.  Ms. Jane noticed that some students did not seem to be putting much effort into it and thus were not gaining the depth of understanding that she was hoping for.  She did notice that when they had to do presentations or share their work with others, there seemed to be a greater focus and some students would do a much better job than if they were just turning it in to her.

  • Ms. Jane thinks about having her students present their reflection pieces to the class each week but she doesn’t think that would be very efficient and would take up too much class time.  She wants them to share and even collaborate by using comments as a way for each student to grow even further, but doing in class presentations each week will not work.

  • Ms. Jane has heard that one of her fellow teachers has had her students blog for their class.  Ms. Jane has not blogged before or even knows where to start.  She talks to the other teacher who is using blog as well as to her technology integrationist.  She finds out about a variety of different tools that she can use to have her students do a reflective writing piece online and have it shared with others in class.  She is worried about her students’ privacy so she decides she will have her students use a pen name.  They will use a name that the other students will know in class but no one outside of class will know who the real writer is.  Students will also be required to read some of the other blogs and leave constructive comments.  Ms. Jane knows that she will have to monitor the comments but she wants them to do this as it will be a very useful part of the learning process.  The time it takes to view these comments will go towards making their learning that much more effective.

  • Ms. Jane decides to use Google Sites as her blogging tool.  The reason she wanted to use this tool was that some of the students already have used it and they can help the other students in the beginning.  She also found out about a script, pageMeister, that can be run in a Google Spreadsheet that can help her create the pages for her students and she can have some more control than some other tools.  She will work with the technology integrationist to get the tool setup and ready for her students.  She knows that she can get help when she needs it throughout the term.  The tool is not the main focus for her, she is focused on the reflections that her students will write and how this will be a part of their learning process.   The tool is just how she will allow her students to reflect on their learning in such a way that works towards both collaboration and a deeper understanding.

  • She also hopes to share the blogs with parents so they can be informed of the learning in the classroom and will get ideas how to help outside of the school day.  Communicating their learning with their parents is one way that the learning process can be extended beyond the 4 walls of the classroom.

  • Ms. Jane does not know if she will use the same tool next year, but she knows that this will be a good start and if she did not try something new, she would not be growing as an educator.

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