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Implementation of the Research Action
My interest in this area is to prove the hypothesis of the research that the use of blogging in Design and Technology will increase boys’ motivation, diversify their knowledge, and improve their literacy in school. In this regard, the featured research questions that revolve around the use of blogging as a pedagogical approach will play a crucial role in providing a strong basis for the research.
In this research, I would be investigating how different people tend to view the use of blogging as a useful tool that can be used to boost boys’ understanding in design and technology classrooms.
In order to achieve this goal, I conducted an extensive research on various sources of information that included, but were not limited to, internet sources, government publications, and interviews on students and teachers from different learning institutions.
The main reason behind this research was to determine whether blogging can serve as a pedagogical approach that can be used to promote boys’ understanding when it comes to design and technology. More importantly, this research will help to pave way for future studies in the field.
As it is shown in the methodology section, this research was carried out using various research approaches to determine the impact that blogs and blogging activities would have on boys’ understanding in school, especially when it comes to matters of design and technology.
For instance, I made great use of the World Wide Web to identify similar studies which had been conducted previously and see what the researchers behind those works had to say in regard with the research hypothesis. The findings and observations made by other researchers on this subject matter as it was revealed through various publications would serve as a big inspiration towards this research.
Moreover, I also dedicated sometime to search and analyse various government publications on the subject, especially ones that offered important guidelines on the use of blogs and other social media websites for pedagogical purposes.
A primary survey on the policies of about ten learning institutions was also conducted to determine whether the use of blogs had a positive impact on boys when it comes to class work.
It is always wise for researchers to focus their studies on various subjects, considering the dangers that can be associated with a single study as far as the credibility of outcome is concerned (Luo 2010). In this regard, it was necessary to investigate various schools and individuals from different regions.
Among the various research approaches used in this study, surveys on learning institutions and individuals proved to be the most suitable and reliable method to apply here owing to a number of reasons. For example, through this approach, the participants in the study were engaged in a direct way and this helped to minimise cases of biased information or responses on the subject.
More importantly, institutions and people from different regions were interviewed, and this increased the diversity of the study, thus helping me to gain a deeper insight of how the idea of using blogging for pedagogical purposes was perceived in different regions and by people of varied cultural tastes.
In this regard, I visited various schools in different regions whereby I interviewed teachers and students regarding their take on the impacts of blogging on the literacy of boys.
Quantitative and qualitative approaches were used for the research. These approaches included focus group interviews on students and semi-structured interviews on members of the teaching staff, whereby the participants were required to give their views on whether blogging helped to increase boys’ motivation and literacy in class.
Simple random technique was applied for this exercise whereby the participants would be chosen from large groups of students from selected schools. The interview for the students was boy-focused, considering the fact that this was a study to determine the impact of blogging on male students, and it featured closed-ended questions.
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In this case, participants are required to respond with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to various survey questions in regard with the subject matter (Krause 2002). The feedback received from the students was directly filled on the structured survey templates. As Leech (2002) observes, ‘semi-structured interviews are usually simple and direct’ and this enabled the students to respond to the survey questions without any complications.
More importantly, this approach provided the students with an equal opportunity to give relevant information, thus proving to be more helpful in determining the accuracy of the acquired feedback.
On the other hand, open-ended questions were used to interview teachers and other persons in the learning institutions who were mature enough to offer deeper answers to the interviews. A number of themes on the use of blogs and blogging in schools, and how these would tend to increase boy’s motivation and literacy or ways in which it will tend to affect their studies otherwise were widely explored.
The interview on teachers was guided by a framework of key ideas and themes which had been prepared earlier on. Possibly, the feedback received from the teachers was of greater importance, since it elaborated more on the questions.
The questions meant for the teachers were a bit general compared with the ones used for the students, and this prompted a two-way communication, thus providing a better understanding of the views given. Through this approach, people can provide reasons for their answers, thus giving a perfect presentation of their opinions (Rapley 2001).
In this regard, it was easy to determine the reasons as to why people agreed or disagreed with the use of blogging for pedagogical purposes. The feedback received was recorded in notebooks for comparison at the end of the exercise. In both cases, the participants were interviewed on the benefits associated with blogging as well as its problems when used as a pedagogical approach.
Findings acquired from this study strongly seemed to support the research hypothesis in all aspects. For instance, this was evident from the vast studies that were observed from the World Wide Web, whose findings had indicated a positive impact of blogging on school boys, among other students.
The same observation would be made from the government publications where it was perceived that the use of blogging and other effective social media channels will tend to have significant influence on learners in all levels of education, as long as the platforms were used wisely.
It was also noticeable from the interviews conducted on teachers and students from different schools that blogs play a crucial role in increasing boys’ motivation and literacy in school, particularly in design and technology lessons.
The idea of using blogging as a pedagogical approach was highly supported by majority of those interviewed. Even though some negativity was expressed on blogging, such as it being distractive and unethical when used for pedagogical purposes, the concern about blogs being a powerful tool of communication in today’s educational settings seemed to outweigh the disadvantages expressed.
Considering their ability to enhance students’ social skills and promoting effective learning experiences, blogs are crucial sites that can be of great importance to boys at school (Conole et al. 2008). More importantly, the sites provide the students with opportunities to explore things from a very wide diversity, thus making learning easy, interactive, and more interesting (Cochrane 2010).
As a result of the many benefits that come with blogging, many students and teachers have fully embraced the trend. This was evident from the responses expressed in the interviews conducted on the students and teachers from various learning institutions where most interviewees appeared to support the claim that blogging played a significant role in improving classroom literacy among the boys.
On the question about what they read and write about mostly, many students would chose blogs among other forms of social media. What would be more interesting, however, was the fact that many students don’t just read blogs, but they also own their own blogs where they can directly interact with other bloggers from across the world, particularly in matters to do with education.
Based on the observations made by majority of the teachers, lessons meant for students can be executed from just anywhere through the power of blogging, and this ensures that students are taken through their learning needs in a more effective and efficient manner. There is no doubt that blogging is an effective way that can be used to motivate boys in school (Ellison & Wu 2008).
This observation was evident in those institutions that applied blogging as a pedagogical approach, where boys appeared to do better in design and technology among other subjects, compared to students from other institutions where blogging was not applied.
All these observations provided enough evidence to indicate that the role played by blogging activities in increasing motivation and literacy among the boys can never be overestimated.
Conclusion and Recommendations
As it has been shown in various studies, blogging comes with immense benefits to current generation of learners who are able to make use of the many learning opportunities provided by the platform to attain their learning needs and advance their studies.
Blogging provides students with increased opportunities to interact with fellow students and other people from different regions, and this is crucial in helping boys in design and technology classrooms understand lessons effectively. Apart from offering a really diverse learning platform for learners of all ages, blogs would also help boys learn the benefits of planning and commitment, as they constantly engage in educational blogging.
More importantly, blogs are perfect sites through which people’s feelings can be expressed, and for that reason, they tend to give boys an opportunity to share their opinions openly (Wang et al. 2009). This, however, provides educators with an opportunity to understand their students better, thus coming up with the most appropriate approaches that would help them achieve their learning needs in school.
Blogging is a perfect manifestation of how social media can be used to develop literacy among students, and for that reason, there is a need for schools to embrace it for the benefits of their students. As a matter of fact, the current human generation seems to be obsessed by modern-day technological aspects, particularly the internet, whereby social networking has become a norm in the society.
This, however, helps to explain the reason as to why people will tend to spend a lot of time on social media platforms interacting with one another. This addictive nature of the social media can be very destructive to students who usually spend much of their valuable time doing useless things over the platforms.
Humans cannot escape from the impacts of globalisation and technology, and therefore, the best thing to do is to embrace them as they evolve, but in a wise manner.
To avoid the fate of social media and other distractive sites that can bring harmful effects on learners, educators should realise the powerful benefits associated with blogs and use the platforms to increase the motivation and literacy of boys and other learners in schools (Arslan & Şahin-Kızıl 2010).
Everything seems to be taking a different course in life as a result of the rapid technological advancements taking place in the world today. The use of modern technologies can be felt in all sectors of life, and this has made human life much simpler.
For instance, the invention of computers and mobile word processors has made things easier when it comes to writing, whereby people would only need to type their work, save it on their computers, and print it whenever they wish (Yamada 2009).
In the same manner, blogging, which offers great archiving capabilities, seems to be the next thing that will be replacing the traditional way of learning in the near future. In this regard, learning institutions should start embracing the trend as the most reliable form of social media that can be used to motivate boys to do better in school.
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