Description: The ethnographic study utilized the research techniques of observations, content analysis, and semi-structured interviews with tween participants (i.e., 9 through 13 year-old youth) during an 8-week literary blog project. Twenty-six participants created individual blog pages within a member-only classroom blog site that allowed for online communication between members. the blog project incorporated social networking applications with which youth frequently engage. the research questions ensured data regarding what facets participants found appealing and motivating during the project was collected. the questions allowed for determining if participants utilized peer blogs for reading material selection or repurposed the blogs to discuss other topics. Components of self-determination theory and engagement theory underlay the project design and aided in identifying motivational aspects of the data. Frequency tables outlined the identified patterns and structures of participants’ online activity. Participants found the ability to change the colors of their blog backgrounds and to design their individual blogs and the giving and receiving of feedback to be the two most appealing features of the project. Participants chose books from peer suggestions in the online world but also selected materials from recommendations they received in face-to-face interactions with their peers, their teacher, and the school librarian. Little evidence of repurposing the blog for social topics was observed. Participants engaged in discussions predominantly based around the books they were currently reading or had read. Implications for incorporating social networking applications within the classroom environment are discussed.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Sharber, Shelli K.