Giving voice to learners: using private blogs to develop self-reflection

HRAMIAK, A., BOULTON, H. and IRWIN, B. (2008). Giving voice to learners: using private blogs to develop self-reflection. In: Association for Learning Technology (ALT) Conference, Leeds, 9-11 September 2008.

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Official URL: http://www.alt.ac.uk

Abstract

Introduction:This is an action research study, undertaken across two universities, investigating the use of private blogs to develop reflective learners within teacher training. Previous research into using blogs to promote reflection has determined that the use of publicly available blogs can impede deeper reflection due to lack of confidentiality (Divintini, et al., 2005; Oti and Clarke, 2007). The theory behind the use of blogs in this study was to determine if private blogs could provide a setting for reflective practice, a ‘practicum’ (Moon, 1999), where learners could be encouraged to reflect on their learning over a sustained period of time.

Method: An action research, practitioner-led approach was taken for the study using two cohorts of trainee teachers at Sheffield Hallam University and Nottingham Trent University. Over the course of one year trainees were required to produce reflective blogs which were analysed for themes pertaining to their development as reflective practitioners. In addition to this, interviews and questionnaires were conducted at the end of the year with the trainees about their use of the blogs.

Results: Thematic analysis of the blogs supported the work of Oti and Clarke (2007) and revealed specific instances of the trainees' emerging development both as reflective practitioners and as professionals. Overall, there is substantial evidence that the blogs were a useful tool by which to record reflections and development as teachers, and the quality of the reflections in the blog entries increased throughout the year. The trainees indicated that although they found reflection difficult in itself, having the blogs enabled them to reflect more effectively than using pen and paper.

Conclusion: The research conducted demonstrated that the use of private blogs showed evidence of self-reflection and a developing professional identity among the learners, contrary to the limited reflection shown in previous research on public blogs. This paper seeks to share the findings of this research which the authors believe will be useful across other areas of Higher Education as well.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Centre for Education and Inclusion Research
Quality Enhancement and Student Success
Depositing User: Caroline Fixter
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2010 15:09
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2010 15:09
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/2374

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