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A Random Washington School

321 First Street

Issaquah, WA 98654
June 28, 2014

Dr. Josh Jones
Issaquah School District
123 Second Street
Renton, WA 98765
Dear Dr. Jones
I am writing to you in hopes of initiating a blog for all of my math classes, which includes
Geometry, AP Calculus BC and AP Statistics. After taking a course this summer
through Boise State University, called Blogging in the Classroom (EdTech 537), I am
finding many benefits that would help increase student understanding and especially
mathematical thinking. A Math Question and Answer Blog would also be a simple and
ideal way to utilize more technology in the classroom, given your approval.
The blog platform that I would like to use is through Issaquah Connect. Our school
district already uses this platform for teacher websites, which has a blogging component
included. Furthermore, students have a pre-assigned account for Issaquah Connect. It
would be the ideal platform to begin an open forum classroom blog. I currently maintain
a public website with a blog component on Connect and could easily begin another site
within Connect. The purpose of having a separate site within Connect is to make the
second site private and only for members. Random individuals on the internet would not
be able to access the blog, student comments, student names or student information.
Another important reason to use Issaquah Connect is such that the teacher is the
administrator of the blog and would be able to monitor all comments.
Because the blog would limit access to only my students, this would allow students to
blog using their own name. This way when students are on the blog or in the classroom,
everyone knows who is commenting, who is asking a question and who is responding.
There are many advantages to have a single classroom blog for math class:
1. Students are living in a technology-based society. They need to know how to
access information and help each other using a technological platform. Many
students already do, however, there is still a digital-divide for several of our
students. By providing a classroom blog, less experienced students can learn to
use technology as a learning medium at their own pace with teacher assistance.
2. In today's world of the internet, as teachers we need to teach students the
importance of netiquette. Although this blog involves math courses, netiquette
applies every time a student, or adult, stamps their thoughts on the internet.
While students are assisting one another with math, they will also be learning
about netiquette. As Ivan Tribble stated,
"Worst of all, for professional academics, it's a publishing medium
with no vetting process, no review board, and no editor. The
author is the sole judge of what constitutes publishable material,
and the medium allows for instantaneous distribution. After
wrapping up a juicy rant at 3 a.m., it only takes a few clicks to put
it into global circulation" (Tribble, 2005).
If students are not careful about what they post on the internet, then they could
permanently damage their reputation and future employment prospects. In the
event a student does make an inappropriate comment, the teacher can delete it.
Such an event would provide an opportunity to have a one-on-one discussion
with the student about the dangers of such behavior on the public internet.
3. Additionally, by posting with their actual names, students will be more cautious
and courteous about their posts. Students will know that the teacher has access
to all posts.

4. Recently, Washington State mandated that students spend more time in the
classroom by increasing the number of hours required each year from 1000
hours to 1080 hours. The reality of the issue is ideally students should spend
more time communicating about each subject with their teacher and peers. By
starting a classroom blog, it would allow students more time to communicate
about math outside of the limited classroom hours.

5. Students would use the blog to help each other with math questions. When in
class, students can ask a question at any time. However, who do they ask when
they leave the classroom? Many students do not have a parent or older sibling
available to help, especially when students get to the Advanced
Placement/College levels of math. This classroom blog can be about any math
question and its answer. Students would be able to ask and answer questions
any time during the day. Additionally, the older students in higher-level math
would be able to assist the younger students in Geometry.

6. The classroom blog would allow students to ask a question they may not have
felt comfortable asking in class. By posting all class questions, it would tell
students that you are not alone in your question. So many students are afraid to
ask questions because they think they will say or ask something "stupid". A Math
Question and Answer Blog would allow students to take their time in their
questions and edit their question before posting. Many students are much more
comfortable posting on the internet due to face-to-face anonymity. It would assist
the student who is shy.

7. There is deeper mathematical learning that occurs when you help someone else
understand a math process. If you have to explain math to someone else, many
times, you become better at math yourself. The teacher is only one person.
Students helping students also encourages stronger student understanding.

8. Of course, in the event everyone has the same question, the Math Question and
Answer Blog would give the teacher another venue to check for student
understanding. Those questions that multiple students have may make
themselves apparent and more quickly to the teacher. This would allow the
teacher to address such questions back in the classroom immediately.
Currently, select students have multiple venues that they use to help each other, for
example on Facebook. By having one central math classroom blog, everyone enrolled
can access the questions asked and answered. Most importantly, students can learn
how to communicate with each other more appropriately as they will need to know how
to do so for college and the adult workforce.
Thank you for your consideration.

Angie Kruzich