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Project Plan

Page history last edited by Claire Amos 14 years, 5 months ago

Details of my e-fellowship inquiry project



Project title

Beyond the virtual classroom – Developing literacy through the use of online communities in English.

Summary of project purpose



This project will look at how student blogs and class wikis can be utilized to raise literacy levels in the context of formal writing (AS 90053) preparation and practice. The project will focus on how ICT is used beyond the classroom as we are presented with the challenge of limited access to computers in the classroom. We will look at the benefits (and pitfalls) of online collaborative writing and online feed forward and feedback.

Describe what you wish to do in your proposed inquiry project



In this proposed inquiry project I am aiming to critically reflect on the practice of formal writing, as a formative task, through the use of an online classroom community (the class wiki) which provides students with the topics and related live links to resources for a range of formal writing topics. The formal writing practise will be completed in the context of individual student blogs. The blog will then provide a platform for guided and non-guided collaborative writing, peer and teacher feed-forward and feedback.

I then wish to look at the effects of these practices on the learner, to see the impact this approach has on student participation, engagement and improvement of literacy levels as illustrated in their production of formal writing. I am also hoping to measure how realistic and successful this approach is in comparison to more traditional in class written practice and potentially measuring whether using an environment (that of the online community) that our students feel comfortable in, enhances the development of their literacy levels.

From this project I aim to seek evidence to inform future practice and confirm (or challenge) what I see as best-practice for this generation of students.

I will then look to measure any shifts or developments in terms of participation, engagement and literacy. Methods I have considered for doing this include: sampling writing according to formal writing criteria, AsTTle, these results would then be triangulated with interviews/discussions with students, as well as more informal observations.

Describe how your inquiry project would increase understanding of literacy practices

I believe the proposed inquiry project would definitely increase my understanding of effective literacy practice. Literacy, as it is defined for this project (as an understanding of and the ability to use the various forms of communication through which meaning is made between individuals or groups in society. It involves communicating with others using codes and conventions and understanding how those codes and conventions work) is central to the formative Formal Writing process. Students will be required to make meaning from a number of texts (newspaper articles, blogs, articles, television news reports and interviews which encompass print, graphics, moving images and sound) when considering any one topic for their Formal Writing blogs. They will in turn be required to interpret, analyse and create texts (and meaning) through the process of constructing their Formal Writing blog.





Identify desired outcomes for learners from your inquiry project

An increase in student participation, engagement and enthusiasm for learning beyond the classroom.  This may be reflected in increased student participation as evidenced in e.g. student interviews (pre and post research), frequency of involvement in wikis during the research.

An improvement in literacy levels in the context Level One English Formal Writing.  This could be measured by a mixture of AsTTle and assessment of writing against formal writing criteria.

Improvement in student self-efficacy through self and peer assessment. This may also be reflected in increased student participation as evidenced in student interviews (pre and post research), frequency of self-directed involvement in wikis during the research.


Describe how your inquiry project would increase your understanding of effective e-learning practices



The project focuses on student centred e-learning practice. This project would allow me to assess, reflect and gain greater understanding of how effectively students access and process information online. It would also help me to increase my understanding of how effectively they produce work online, and it would also help me to ascertain how and if online co-collaboration and feedback assists with student engagement and learning.



It would give me greater understanding of the ways e-learning can impact on literacy.



Ultimately, this project would provide me with the time, professional development, support and data to effectively measure if these e-learning practices are as effective as I suspect them to be.



Describe how your inquiry project would benefit your school and the education community

At the classroom level I believe it would have an immediate benefit to the students involved as it is focused on a very important and specific skill. This project is looking at effective ways of using e-learning to enhance something they are already doing (formal writing), rather than ICT for ICT sake.

At a department level it would have a huge benefit. As I am Head of the English Faculty I am in a position to have a direct influence on the pedagogical practice of my team. Already this year we have been working towards a department goal “To promote the use of and gain greater access to ICT in the English Department, including further development and utilisation of Moodle.” I believe this project would give the department the opportunity to continue to develop in this area. The professional development I would receive and the actual project would provide a rich source of information and pedagogical support surrounding e-learning practices in English.

As a school, this project would be beneficial on many levels. It would support the implementation of the new curriculum, more specifically helping us to reflect on the E-learning and Pedagogy as outlined in the New Zealand curriculum document. Also in 2007, Auckland Girls Grammar underwent an ICT review; I believe a project such as this would be beneficial, as a way of responding and revisiting the points that were raised in that report.

The findings would also benefit the wider educational community. I am actively involved in English at a national level, having worked with NZQA, MOE, with NZATE and AATEL. I am an enthusiastic presenter who will take any appropriate opportunity to reflect and share what I have been involved in.

The findings from a project such as this has application beyond this level and subject and would hopefully highlight and promote e-learning practices that could be used by a wide range of students and educators. Although my project is focused on an English context, the processes and tools used have the potential to be used in any number of subjects and levels.





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