A Language Facilitator, a Self-Regulation Activity and a Social Gateway: Blog Use of Primary School Students with Special Needs

ID: 52978 Type: Virtual Paper
  1. Merav Asaf, Kaye Academic College of Education, Israel
  2. Rachel Shwartz-Gorali, Omarim School, Kaye Academic College of Education, Israel

Blogs are extensively used in secondary and higher education, mainly to improve literacy and communication skills. In this study, ways by which primary school students used a blog writing intervention to empower themselves are portrayed. Six 6th grade students with special needs participated in an intervention in which they wrote a personal blog on a topic of their choice throughout most of the school year. The intervention included lessons in a small group, personal writing sessions and presentations to their homeroom classmates. Their behavior, social interactions and academic achievement were monitored via teacher reports, interviews and an analysis of the blogs. The students enthusiastically engaged in this long term self-directed project, while improving both behavior and academic achievement. We found that the students used the blogs to empower themselves in three ways - a language facilitator, a self-regulation activity and a social gateway to face-to-face interactions. The success of the intervention could be attributed to various reasons other than blog writing, yet the constant engagement in academic and digital literacy on a topic of the students’ choice and within a medium perceived as authentic and fun was part of the its success.

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