Wednesday, November 02, 2005

blogging as active research

I'm currently participating in an experiment in "active research" as part of the GRAIL project at OISE/UT. This began as a blogging experiment in a course I took (CTL 1608: Constructivist Design of Online Learning Environments) last semester. This experience and others as a blogger, has me thinking about research I have to do for another course semester, CTL 1009: Reading and Writing in Schools - Elementary. We've been asked to produce a research survey on a topic of interest.

I'd initially hoped to be able to do some research on the impact of technology on the acquisition and development of literacy skills; however, I can't wrap my head around how one would be able to measure the impact of technology for those that can't join the discussion by reading and responding to posts. I thought that "alternative" media (i.e., podcasting) might help to give voice to those who can't participate in text-based environments, but this brings me back to "technical literacy" and the fluency required to contribute to the discussion in this manner.

All of this has brought me full circle and back to blogs. Specifically, do blogs make better teachers and students? Why or why not? What is the benefit of blogs to education? Are they better suited for "professional development" of teachers, or do they have a role to play in education? Furthermore, if there is a place for blogs in schools, under what conditions is it appropriate to use blogs in the classroom to develop the "literacy skills" of students?

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