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					  Using a Blog in a
Pre-Service Education
           Melanie Bishop
   Education Program Coordinator
   St. Charles Community College
           (636) 922-8242
Objectives of this presentation
Participants will…

• Understand the many benefits of using a
  weblog for instructional purposes.

• Learn the implications of an action
  research study conducted at Lindenwood
  University regarding the topic of blog
  usage in a pre-service education course.

• Create a blog today that they can use in
  their classrooms next week.
        Part 1

Benefits of using a blog
for instructional purposes
Benefits of using a blog
   in the classroom
• Digital natives
• Discourse & Reflection
• Learning Tool
        Digital Natives
• According to Prensky (2001), “The
  single biggest problem facing
  education today is that our digital
  immigrant instructors, who speak
  an outdated language (that of the
  pre-digital age), are struggling to
  teach a population of digital
  natives that speaks an entirely
  new language” (p. 2).
        Discourse & Reflection
• Writing – Phone – Virtual Communication

• Dickey (2004)
   – Supported emergence of community
• Harper (2005)
   – Supported idea of self-disclosure – “The
     exchange of information pertaining to oneself
     that serves to enhance intimacy” (2005, p. 31).
• Hernandez-Ramos (2004)
   – Provided platform for reflective purposes
                 Learning Tool
  “Learning is no longer primarily fixed in time and
  space, it can happen anytime and anywhere that
  we are connected…” (Richardson, 2006, p. 28).
• Poling (2005)
   –   Encourage peer support
   –   Support reflection
   –   Extend learning outside classroom walls
   –   Increase quality of work
   –   Promote communication
• Langhorst (2007)
   – Podcasts
   – Discuss a Civil War novel – invited other schools and
     author to participate
         Part 2

Implications of action
research study conducted at
Lindenwood University
Overview of Action Research Study
conducted at Lindenwood University
• Setting of the Study
   – Lindenwood University
   – Orientation to Education course
• Participants of the study
   – Melanie Bishop
   – Students
   – Outside Observer
Data Collection and Analysis
• Data Collection
   – Personal reflective field notes
   – Student questionnaires
   – Student focus groups
   – Student blog reflections
   – Student-written comments regarding class
   – Observations from an outside observer
• Data Analysis – Grounded Theory
   –   Read data repeatedly
   –   Created categories for coding
   –   Coded
   –   Noted patterns and emerging themes
Historical Context of Study
• How and why I began using a blog in the

• The Action Plan
   –   Course Design
   –   Course Schedule
   –   Course Content
   –   Blog Topics and Implementation
This is a
of the
blog I
used in
Lessons Learned…
The blog was effective as it…

• Provided an opportunity for ALL to
  communicate and reflect
• Supported the information learned during
  class and from their practicum experience
• Enhanced student learning as they
  developed deeper insights into teaching
• Encouraged students to consider others’
• Kept instructor and students connected
  during the practicum weeks
“The blog gave us new ideas
and made us be creative and
view others’ viewpoints on
different situations,” (student,
personal communication,
December 8, 2009).
The blog was ineffective as it …

• Did not engage students in meaningful

• Did not motivate ALL students to

• Did not provide appropriate questions for
  students not placed
Challenges of Using a Blog
•   Blog management
•   Time Consuming
•   Technical Skills
•   Large Class Sizes
•   Clunky Platform
Changes I made for the next
cycle of action research…
•   Changed topic for week one
•   Changed due date
•   Alternate questions for students not placed
•   Increased feedback
    – Weekly email reminders
    – Monthly grade sheets
    – In-class discussions
• Studied alternative virtual interactive
    – WebCT
    – Facebook
    – Twitter
Lessons I learned from action
  “Action research is about me and my
  journey, my thoughts, my fears, my hopes,
  my reactions to what happens in my
  classroom with the blog, etc.” (M. Bishop,
  Journal Entry, May 28, 2009).

• To believe in my professional opinion
• To recognize the importance of critical
• To view my students as sharers of
  knowledge rather than empty vessels.
What one student thought…
 “I feel like I have learned a lot in this class. I feel
 more confident in my decision to become a teacher
 and that is very valuable to me because for a while
 I really wasn’t sure. I feel like the job is much more
 professional than I ever considered it. It takes a lot
 to be a really effective teacher and it takes a
 person with real commitment to do it…. Even
 though I didn’t like it very much I also feel like I did
 learn from the blog. It provided good insight for me
 and it was cool to work together with others to
 come up with ideas on how to better teach. If
 someone has the desire to use it the blog can be a
 very effective tool” (Chad, personal communication,
 December 8, 2009).
     Part 3

How to create a blog
Click this link
to create your
Fill out all
on this
page and
continue at
the bottom
of the
Give your
blog a title
and URL
address. Be
patient as
you might
have to keep
trying to find
a name and
URL that are
Choose a
template for
of your blog.
Click the
circle under
template and
then click the
You did it!
Congrats –
you now
have a
class blog!
Click the
arrow to
begin the
This is an
important step!
 This the
Under is an extremely
 important step!
“Settings” tab,
look in the “Settings
 Under the
 tab, look in the
folder. Make
sure you allow folder.
 Make sure
any of your you allow
 any of to
studentsyour student
 to comment
comment by by
selecting “Anyone”
“Anyone” when
 when asked who yo
asked who you to
 want to allow
want to allow to
Any time you want
to add something
to your blog, click
the “Customize”
link located at the
top right of the
To post a new
topic, make
sure you select
the “Posting”
tab. Give your
posting a title
and then type
your posting.
Don’t forget to
select the
“Publish Post”
button or you
will lose your
Click either of the above links to view
your blog with your new posting.
To post a comment to
the blog, you and/or
your students must click
the link above. I wish
this was in the shape of
a button, but it is not.
Some students will
forget this step and will
be unsure how to post
their comment.
This is
what your
will see.
They will
type their
in the
If you
in the
blog, type
and click
and your
This is a reminder to
make sure that you
have fixed your
settings to allow
anyone to respond to
your blog. If you do
not complete this
step, every student
who does not have a
google account will
not be able to post to
your blog.
This is an example of what
a student will see when
he/she is posting a
comment. This is an
important step to teach the
students to avoid confusion
and frustration. They must
click the “Name/URL”
option in the drop down
This is what
will see.
They need
to type in
their first
and last
name. They
leave the
URL box
blank. Then
they select
This is the
will see
after they
fill out the
Next, they
select the
For security
students will
have to verify
the word they
see on the
screen. You
can eliminate
the Word
through the
“Settings” tab
under the
You get to this
screen by
“Customize” in
the upper right
hand corner.
To disable the
scroll down on
this screen.
If you want to
turn off the
click the
“No” option
and always
make sure
you click
you make a
• You have just learned how to post new
  topics and comment as the instructor.
• You have just learned how the students
  will post to the blog.
• Now, let’s add some fun stuff to your blog.
To add a
YouTube link,
website link,
list, photo,
etc. click the
link found in
the top right
of your
Click the
“Add a
Scroll down to the
“Link List” option.
Select this option
to add a website
link for the
students to view.
Give your link a
title. Copy and
paste your link
and give the site
a name. Then
click the “Save”
Highlight the
URL from the
website, copy
and paste it
into this box. I
always delete
the http: that
is already
provided and I
simply paste
the URL
directly from
Here is the
gadget you just
added. To view
the blog with
your new
YouTube link,
click in either of
the above links
to see the blog.
Here is your YouTube link you just
added. Students should be able to
select the link and it will take them
directly to your selected YouTube
To manage
more than one
blog, select the
link found in the
upper right-
hand corner of
your screen.
  Use when posting a new

       Use if you need to edit an
       existing post

Use to change your
      Use to add links, lists,
                                                Do not use
      pictures, etc.
                                    Click this at any time you
                                    want to view the blog
My tips for creating a blog
• You will learn by doing.
• Explore.
• Don’t be afraid to mess it up.
• Use the as a
• Click the “Help” button for assistance.
• Email ( or call me
  (636.922.8242) with any questions. I mean it – I
  enjoying helping people with their blogs.
•   Blogger. (n.d.). Retrieved April 28, 2010, from
•   Dickey, M. D. (2004). The impact of web-logs (blogs) on student
    perceptions of isolation and alienation in a web-based distance-
    learning environment. Open Learning, 19(3), 279-291. doi:
•   Harper, V. (2005). The new student-teacher channel. Technology
    Horizons in Education, 33(3), 30-32. Retrieved October 18, 2008,
    from Wilson Web.
•   Hernandez-Ramos, P. (2004). Blogs, Threaded Discussions
    Accentuate Constructivist Teaching (Rep. No. 24). (ERIC Document
    Reproduction Service)
•   Langhorst, E. (2007). After the Bell, Beyond the Walls. Educational
    Leadership, 64(8), 74-77.
•   Poling, C. (2005). Blog On: Building Communication and
    Collaboration Among Staff and Students. Learning and Leading with
    Technology, 32(6), 12-15. Retrieved January 02, 2010, from ERIC.
•   Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. Retrieved
    October, 2009, from
•   Richardson, W. (2006). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful
    web tools for classrooms. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Corwin Press.

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