An Exploration of a Collaborative Blogging Approach to Literacy and Learning: A mixed methods study
Lisa Marie Zawilinski, University of Connecticut, United States
University of Connecticut . Awarded
The purpose of this study was to explore young students' use of a blog to communicate and share information. A mixed methods study was conducted to explore blogging skill gains at each of grades one and five, between classrooms that engaged in a collaborative blog activity and classrooms that did not. In addition, a new assessment of online written communication was developed and evaluated as a potential measure of online written communication skills. Finally, the study explored themes and patterns that emerged during this four-week blogging project. Participants included two first grade classes and two fifth grade classes in two separate states in the Northeast.
The online measure of written communication demonstrated potential for measuring online written communication skills. Results also indicated that unique writing patterns and student interaction patterns emerged when blogging with cross-grade partners in a different state. These results further suggest that first and fifth graders can effectively communicate information on a blog and doing so supports the development of a variety of skills and strategies. Moreover, fifth graders seem to prefer more complex types of blog writing, posts, which afford them more than text options for communication while first graders seem to prefer the less complex type of blog writing, comments. The use of a rubric within a blogging project can serve to increase online written communication skills and students' focus on content, but can also produce unintended consequences.
Overall, a four-week blog project seems to be an effective way of building first graders' online written communication skills as well as specific types of skills for fifth graders. Moreover, first and fifth graders can be capable teachers of skills and strategies; fifth graders take on the role of teacher quite naturally while first graders may need scaffolding on how to effectively teach a peer.
Zawilinski, L.M. An Exploration of a Collaborative Blogging Approach to Literacy and Learning: A mixed methods study. Ph.D. thesis, University of Connecticut.
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