An exploratory study of the use of classroom blogs to improve student writing
Today’s adolescents experience constant interaction with technology, which brings about new literacies. These literacies become part of school curriculums and ultimately, the future of adolescents. This study explored the use of a microblogging tool through Edmodo to determine if the students’ writing changed. The study framed the writing assignments using the Inside Writing Frame theory as a platform for creating the microblogs and grading rubric. This qualitative case study examined six microblog work samples from six eighth grade students. The writing was analyzed to determine how the students’ writing changed while using the microblog tool. Additionally, this study sought to gain knowledge of how adolescents viewed their experience with writing using the microblog tool. After all data were collected and analyzed, eight codes emerged. Those eight codes are: explore, investigating, gathering data, brainstorm, organizing, defining, redefining, connecting and citing. The participants began with strengths in brainstorming, organizing, defining, redefining and gathering data. From the start of the research, areas of weakness in writing surfaced with exploring, investigating, citing, and connecting. Through the duration of using the microblogs, the participants showed growth in each of those weak areas. Therefore, participants experienced a positive change in their writing through the use of microblogging with Edmodo. In addition to coding the writing samples, the researcher also used a focus group to examine the participants’ experience with using the microblog as a tool for writing. The participants indicated a positive outlook with using the microblog as a tool for writing; they expressed how the tool should be expanded to other subjects. Overall, the results showed a positive effect on the participants’ writing while using microblogs both from the coding of samples and from the focus group responses.