Using blogs for teacher-student communication : Class blogs in two Swedish public schools

University essay from Örebro universitet/Handelshögskolan vid Örebro Universitet

Author: Kalle Räisänen; [2012]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: While Swedish public schools are increasingly using social media to communicate with students,there are also concerns about social media being a distraction—especially in the context of one laptop per child class rooms. To further the understanding of this apparent conflict between the benefits and risks of social media use in schools, this paper studies how two Swedish publicschools use blogs for teacher–student communication. We conduct an inductive content analysis of research literature, and find that previous work suggests seven uses of blogs in teacher–student communication: 1) Informing and Instructing; 2) Posting supplemental material; 3) Prompting; 4) Blogging as assignment; 5) Communitybuilding; 6) Discussion/Collaboration; and 7) Interacting with external readers/commenters. By using these concepts as a matrix for a deductive content analysis of posts and comments tofour class blogs during the fall of 2011, we show that while the studied schools use their blogsfor informing and instructing, mainly in the form of recaps and previews of previous and cominglessons, and for posting supplemental material, we find few instances of discussion/collaboration and blogging as assignment, and no instances of interacting with external readers or community building. Further, we find that schools also use blogs to increase transparency of examinations and to strengthen the student–teacher relationship through what we term social posts. These results indicate that blogs are, in the schools we studied, used in a fairly narrow way, and that the schools’ use of blogs could benefit from deliberate strategies for encouraging discussion and by engaging external readers, so as to build and further strengthen blog-based communities.

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