I need to conduct a study that (hopefully) demonstrates the advantages of student and teacher blogs, and other online learning. At the commencement of the 12 month period students will complete an online survey with responses ranked from 1 - 7. I would like help with developing some good questions to include in the survey. At the end of 12 months I hope to be able to have a measure of the learning that has taken place. If anyone has any good ideas for questions they would be very much appreciated.

Tags: blogs, survey

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In our school district we have been working with student blogging for about a year. Mostly it's one or two teachers in the district as it's still a new technology for them in the classroom. Those who are using it have students excited to write and have an authentic audience for their writing. I always give the example of how few people actually read a student's completed writing other than the teacher and maybe the parents. Blogging gives students an opportunity to read other's work and comment.
Our district has developed a Student Community. Here's the link.
My district is a relatively aggressive Open Source adopter, at least at the IT level. In the last year teachers have started to make the move to Open Office, and Tux programs. In the classroom our computers are Windows or Mac platforms, while the servers are Linux. If you surf around our website you'll find that our IT Director has written quite a bit about our adoption of Linux.
About two years ago we started off with a Teacher Community in hopes of having a place for teachers to share information, files and communicate based on requests by teachers. Our IT head found ELGG and modified it for our use. Some teachers began to post student work on the blog (we can post both blogs and podcasts), and it started to become a little confusing. So about a year and a half ago he designed the Student Community. Once a teacher gets an account they enroll their students with a user name and password. That user name and password stay with the student until they leave the school. That way they have an archive of their work.
All activity goes through the teacher first for approval , even comments, and the teacher makes it public. Safety of students is first here since we are a K-6 district.
Our IT department has really been supportive since I've been in my position. I'm the link between IT and Curriculum (the classroom). I talk both IT and teacher (I read your blog).
If you have any questions about our adoption of Linux or ELGG, you can email me privately, unless you feel the discussion is worthy of this blog.
Thanks Arlene, Your Personal Learning Landscape looks great.
I just started blogging in the classroom (last month!) but check us out at www.mrsolson.edublogs.org

Didn't a chance to read all the other replies, but I LOVE edublogs and highly recommend it (learnerblogs.org for student blogs). I'll think of questions for you to ask...........
Forgot to add that at www.mrsolson.edublogs.org the student blogs are linked on the "6th Grade" tab
Thanks Kate. You've been busy. Your blog looks great. Questions asked need to demonstrate where students are now in terms of certain skills and technology. Thinking of the questions really forces you to think about where you want them to be in 12 months time, which is a very worthwhile exercise.
Hi Christen, Interested in reading what everyone has said about blogging at school and what the administrators prefer us to use. The IT guys in our Education Department and at school wanted me to use Sharepoint as well but as I find it difficult to work in that myself and I found edublogs and learnerblogs so easy, I wrote a letter to them about how I wanted the audience to be world wide rather than just within our school. After discussion with the principal, he is going to let me use learnerblogs with me as moderator of all messages. A questionaire sounds great as I don't think any of my students will have blogged before, not even sure if any teachers at my school do it either. Would love anyone to make comments on our class blog once the students go back next week. http://tasteach.learnerblogs.org
Hi Christen,
Glad to see this conversation resurface! For help with the survey that will demonstrate that your students benefitted from the blogging experience, you might look at some of the resources I just posted in a recent blog about Teacher Researchers.

One thing I've found in designing surveys for students is to make sure to ask questions that will give you answers that will expose the things that you really hope will happen. This seems obvious, but it's often overlooked. Sometimes we are so busy asking questions that we think other people will want to know we forget to include the questions that get to the heart of our own hopes and dreams. For example, if you hope that blogging increases student interest in their academic subjects, or their confidence, or their self-awareness, go ahead and ask those questions. It's a missed opportunity if you just stick to asking questions because you think others (like administrators) want to know.

Also, I would definitely include an open ended question for students to answer. It gives you the opportunity to record the "story" of your project, rather than just numbers.

Finally, any chance you have to sort or compare your survey with other data is worth taking. I'm not talking just test scores! There are two ways to do that-

1. Whole class data - for example, can you see differences in the survey responses of students at different academic levels?

2. Individual changes - for example, can you see any change in the attendance pattern or academic performance of a particular student over the period of your study, which then gives you the opportunity to ask that particular student if the blogging had anything to do with the change. This is of course just anecdotal, but like the open ended questions, gives you the story behind the data. Usually that's what makes people believe anyway!

Hope you keep us posted on how this is going!
Thanks everyone for your feedback. My work keeps dragging me away from computers, the internet and electricity for extended periods. Great to be back, and find further help on this topic on the very day I'm supposed to have submitted my questions. All of this will help. I have certainly thought about asking questions that I hope will be answered differently in 12 months time. I'll put the questions on here when I have finalised them. I'm going to use edublogs and wikispaces for one class, our portal for another, and not blog at all with one class. Terribly sad for the last class, but I think with a control, I can more easily demonstrate a shift in attidude.
On a completely different topic, I can recommend Wilson's Promontory at the southern tip of mainland Australia as a place of extraordinary natural beauty that has been maintained in its natural state for the greater good. No computers though.



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