Sunday, May 4, 2008

Action research: Writing skills

Now that my second Embedded Learning class is coming to an end, we are asked to formulate action research that we would continue with next. I have really been thinking about this, and mentioned to my coach Melissa Fedigan that I believed that their writing skills have had to increase through the extensive use of the wiki. I believe that it would be a good focus of action research to actually try to measure this and generate data. Blogging is new (okay, maybe for schools), and looked at as a fad, but an incredibly rich tool for getting deeper into the content. I have not really pursued blogging in all my classes and would really like to focus more on this.

I am looking at working with English teachers to see if points can also be give in English (not sure how this will work as I teach multi grades and not all of a particular grade). I definitely need assistance in assigning a measure to the writing. There are many points that need to be discussed with students prior to blogging from etiquette in writing and commenting, plagiarism, writing conventions, and more. Let's not forget the content as well.

A recent post from Jeff Felix on Teen Writing Skills improve with Blogging, provides information on students who blog vs. those who don't (data can be viewed from PEW: Writing, Technology, and Teens). Jeff writes:
Blogging allows a student to write more with more insight into the topic. The student will have deeper thoughts on the subject at hand and will be more motivated to write about the subject. This motivation for writing will assist the student in a variety of other subjects in school and may even lead to a better understanding of their own psyche.

The report notes that teens write for a variety of reasons such as part of a school assignment, to communicate with friends, to share their creations with others, or simply to document their thoughts. They are more motivated to write when they can select topics that are important to their lives and interests, and they report greater enjoyment of school writing when they have the chance to write creatively. Teens also report that writing in a blog for a local or worldwide audience motivates them to write clearly and more often.
Most students (82 percent) believe that additional instruction and focus on writing in school would help improve their writing even further--and more than three-quarters of those surveyed (78 percent) think it would help their writing if their teachers used computer-based writing tools such as games, multimedia, or writing software programs or web sites during class.
Jeff has also completed his own research here ("Edublogging: Instruction for the Digital Age Learner"). Will spend more time looking through his research.

Off to finish the last part of the course. Once it is outlined, i will write more about it prior to the start of next school year.

Tags: Jeff Felix, blogs, education

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