The nature of teacher professional development is changing. What was once limited to in-services, conferences, and workshops has now become something unbound by time, budgets, or geography. The increased accessibility of the Internet through smartphones, tablets, and other computing devices has caused an explosion of social networking opportunities, and sites such as Pinterest's education category show that some teachers are taking full advantage of this shift to innovate, improve, and share effective practices from their own classrooms.
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I am designing a mixed-methods study to explore elementary teachers' perceptions of how blogging affects their self-efficacy beliefs. My research will explore the following questions:
1. What are teachers' perceptions of and experiences with blogging about their classrooms?
2. What are teachers' perceptions of and experiences with reading blogs about other teachers' classrooms?
3. What impact, if any, does blog participation have on teachers' self-efficacy beliefs? Is there any difference between the efficacy beliefs of those who blog versus those who read blogs without creating any content of their own?
Phase one of my study will include a mostly quantitative survey using modified self-efficacy scales and professional learning communities scales. From there, participants will have the ability to opt-in to the qualitative phase of my study.
Phase two will consist of qualitative interviews of teacher bloggers (content producers) and teachers who do not blog but read other teachers' blogs (content consumers). Through these interviews, I hope to gain a better understanding of how teachers use blogs for professional growth and how their blogging practices as readers and/or writers affect them in the classroom.
I'm still in the very early stages of designing this study, but I welcome comments. If you are here visiting from my teaching blog, Eberopolis: Teaching Reading and Writing with Technology, welcome! Many of my posts -- at least in the short term -- will be done for course assignments, but I will try not to bore you. Your amazing insights as teacher-bloggers inspired me to pursue this study, so jump right in! And for my classmates and instructor, I'm looking forward to taking this research journey with you. I'm a technology-lover at heart, so I'm excited to find new ways to marry my love for technology tools with my research. Given my dissertation topic and other interests, a course on Digital Technologies & Qualitative Research sounded like a natural fit for me.
Thanks for reading!
[This post was written in response to Reflexive Practice Prompt 1.1 in Digital Tools for Qualitative Research (Paulus, Lester, & Dempster, 2014).]