Today is the first day of the AI!
I have taken my original three research questions and boiled them down to one central Research Question: What happens when I use technology to create new opportunities for "critical thinking discussions" in the classroom?
There are a few assumptions that I think that I have been making, which is one reason that I changed the language of my question to remove the "student's existing interest in technology" phrase, which applies to some students, but certainly not all. Also, I think that I am beginning from the premise that technology does have the potential to open up new opportunities for students. This may or may not really be the case. One of the things I hope to show is that web-based discussions give students opportunities that they wouldn't otherwise have to think critically and interact with texts in a way that is unique or at least different from the activities that we do in class in whole-group or small-group discussions and activities.
So, here is my plan for the next two weeks. First, I plan to take a look at the data that I gathered from my web log experiment, the surveys that I had the students take, and the in-class discussions that we conducted throughout the semester. I hope to organize and begin to analyze that data to see what it shows. My hunch is that there were students who did well and contributed to the web discussion who do not usually contribute to whole-class discussions. I also think that the web discussion was in some ways highly critical-thinking based, but that is certainly not true for all students across the board. I wonder what else I can do as a teacher to increase the level of critical thinking in those discussions.
Second, I want to design a plan to integrate this activity into an entire semester, as an activity that we return to at least twice per quarter. I also want to look into the possibility of making it a more continual process, rather than a one-time, in-class event. I would also like to find a way to allow students to create their own blogs, which other students could then respond to. I think that would make it more of an "actual" writing assignment rather than just a web-based discussion. I think that for an activity like that, I would need to have two different rubrics, one for comments and one for blog posts.
As I churn through the data I'll keep posting!