The Best Kept Secret in Pedagogy: High School English Teachers' Use of Educational Blogs for Professional Development
Rybakova, Katie (author)
Witte, Shelbie (professor directing dissertation)
Rutledge, Stacey A. (university representative)
Garland, Katherin E. (committee member)
Roehrig, Alysia D. (committee member)
Dennen, Vanessa P. (committee member)
Florida State University (degree granting institution)
College of Education (degree granting college)
School of Teacher Education (degree granting department)
This sequential mixed methods study investigated how high school English teachers describe using blogs for their own professional development (PD), reflection, and classroom instruction using the National Council of Teacher of English (NCTE) 21st Century Literacies Framework. The NCTE 21st Century Literacies Framework is a synthesis of 21st Century Skills, New Literacies Theory, Multiliteracies Theory, Literacy as a Social Practice Theory, and Critical Literacy Theory. Participants included high school English teachers who were affiliated with the National Writing Project (NWP). A total of 73 participants from the NWP participated in Tier One of this study, a survey of participant perceptions regarding blogs, professional development, and 21st century literacies, and a total of 8 participants were purposefully selected from survey data to participate in Tier Two, interviews and artifact collection. Data collected includes a survey, interviews, and artifact collection to explore perceptions of high school English teachers regarding 21st century literacy, professional development, and educational blogging. Tier One portrayed how the participants described using blogs for professional development and reflective practices, as well as their overall perceptions of 21st century literacies. The results of Tier One suggested that demographically, years of experience did not seem to impact whether or not teachers were actively blogging nor did it impact the perceived value of blogging. In terms of 21st century literacy perceptions, three findings emerged. The first was it seemed that while the majority of teachers selected learning new concepts as the main purpose to use blogs, the implicit learning experience was that of using a 21st century literacy tool, thus engaging participants in 21st century literacy skills. A second finding that emerged was that by choice, teachers were engaged in more synchronous PD materials compared to technology-focused, 21st century literacy materials. A third finding was teachers seemed to be less likely to incorporate 21st century literacy skills when they personally did not engage in 21st century literacy skills. In terms of non-blogging practices, one finding emerged; it seemed non-bloggers did see the potential value of blogging. In terms of professional development, two findings emerged. One finding that emerged was that the more participants engaged in their own independent PD, the more confident they were in asserting that that knowledge was and can be integrated into their classroom. A second finding was a high percentage of participants believed that the use of independent PD seemed to be more effective than mandated PD. Tier Two data were collected using interview and artifact collection tools and analyzed qualitatively. Themes that emerged from the analysis were: 1.) Relationships, community, and global collaboration, 2.) Ethical responsibilities, 3.) Proficiency and fluency development, 4.) Global information sharing, 5.) Creation, critique, analysis, and evaluation of multimedia texts, and 6.) Challenges. These themes stemmed from the NCTE 21st Century Literacies Framework standards, and added further evidence to the findings from the Tier One data collection. Both Tier One and Tier Two results revealed that teachers do and should use educational blogs as a classroom resource, a source of reflection, and a collaborative source. Furthermore, educational blogs can be a potential avenue for mandated, not only self-sponsored, professional development. Implications included the impact of blogging on mandated and independent PD, how mandated PD is arranged for teachers, the importance of informing teachers about blogs and blogging practices, the need to learn from the implicit nature of fluency, and the use of technology as a literacy practice, not a tool.
21st century literacies, Blogs, High school English, professional development
May 14, 2015.
A Dissertation submitted to the School of Teacher Education in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Shelbie Witte, Professor Directing Dissertation; Stacey Rutledge, University Representative; Kathy Garland, Committee Member; Alysia Roehrig, Committee Member; Vanessa Dennen, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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