Literature Review Artifact

As the culminating assignment for the research class, I wrote a literature review titled “Blogging Toward a More Democratic Classroom”. Through the review,  I sought to answer the following question: How can I utilize technology, specifically blogs, to create a more democratic classroom, where students are citizens accountable to their peers? Prior to writing the literature review, I studied different types of research in both the quantitative and qualitative categories, and critiqued some specific studies. The critiques gave me practice in analyzing research, which helped me to find quality literature for my review.

To view the entire literature review, please click on the following link: Literature Review.

I have pulled key findings from the literature review into the following outline. After each section, I have discussed ways in which the literature has aided in developing my cognate project.

RESEARCH: The Divide Between Home and School

Educators teach technology using a “performativity” approach at school, while students use an experimental approach at home. (Warschauer, Knobel, & Stone, 2007)

Educators need to teach critical thinking skills focused around media and technology. (Considine, Horton, & Moorman, 2009)

Media education should meet the purpose of schooling, not be treated simply as a tool. (Buckingham, 2007)

Students do not perceive a connection between “school writing” and “non-school writing”; “non-school writing” is perceived as more motivating. (NCTE, 2009)

Teachers must take stock of students’ prior knowledge and experiences with technology. Teachers often underestimate students’ prior knowledge. (Considine, Horton, & Moorman, 2009)

In 2004, 19% of teens who were online kept blogs, and 38% of teens read blogs. The teens who blogged had developed more ethical practices around plagarism issues. (Lenhart & Madden, 2005)

Facilitating classroom blogs gives teachers an opportunity to explicitly teach ethical online practices. (Luehmann & MacBride, 2009)

RESEARCH INFORMS PRACTICE: This section informed my decision to utilize blogs with my own students. Specifically, I decided to act as a facilitator when we blog, allowing the students to decide as a group what we blog about, asking students to share with their peers how do accomplish certain functions like posting an image, and promoting peer feedback and assessment. I have also facilitated discussions about plagiarism. For instance, students will post their creative writing, which other students read and compliment. Sometimes the first posts generate ideas for other students. We have discussed the best ways to recognize classmates for ideas that they have sparked in others.  The class decided to mention and thank classmates for ideas at the end of their posts.

RESEARCH: Media Literacy

New definitions of literacy include technology proficiency, peer collaboration, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of multiple forms of media, and ethical responsibilities. (NCTE, 2009)

A powerful framework for media education is as follows: understand bias and motivations in media, understand the rhetoric of different communication tools, understanding intended audience and persuasive techniques, and understanding the self as a member of the audience. (Buckingham, 2007)

Student-centered instruction leads to greater learning benefits in media literacy. (Henderson & Honan, 2008)  (Luehmann & MacBride, 2009) (DeGennaro and Brown, 2009)

Professional development for educators is necessary to create a systematic change in teaching practices around technology and media education. (Dede, 2007)

Blogging is one effective method for media education. (Considine, Horton, & Moorman, 2009) (Zawilinski, 2009)

RESEARCH INFORMS PRACTICE: This section informed my decision to incorporate media analysis as a topic for blogging. So far, students have found online commercials and advertisements. They analyze the intended audience, ways the media is capturing interest, what desires the media is creating in the audience, and what action the media is hoping the audience will take. Students post their responses with a link to the commercial or advertisement. Their peers make additions, ask questions, and compliment one another by posting a comment to the original post. Students are also looking out for ways that media is perpetuating stereotypes.

RESEARCH: Participatory Culture: A Democratic Ideal

Technology does not automatically change or improve schooling. (Cuban, 2001)

Participatory culture allows students to freely engage with one another, share creativity, mentor and be mentored, feel like their contributions matter, and feel connected to one another. (Jenkins, Clinton, Purushotma, Robinson, and Weigel, 2006)

RESEARCH INFORMS PRACTICE: This section has given me a framework for using the blogs to increase the democratic practices in my classroom community.

I asked my students to write about the benefits and drawbacks of our class blog. The students who use the blog nightly explained that they like reading their classmates posts because they are funny and give them ideas for their own creative writing. They explained that even though they do not always leave replies, they do spend time catching up on past blogs, especially those of the most creative and funny writers in class. Six students suggested that I include a chat function because they often wonder who in class is on at the same time as them. Four suggested we use the blog more often to seek homework help from either the teacher or classmates.

From these comments I think that the blog is meeting the need to share creative content with one another, and feel as if that content is being read and appreciated. I do find it interesting that the students wish to have live conversations with each other. I asked the class why they don’t simply call each other with questions or to talk, but one student explained that “it isn’t the same. I only call me friends”.

Published on March 11, 2010 at 1:34 am  Leave a Comment  

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