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Student Blogging

Earlier today I asked CoP members, and other staff who are blogging with students if they had any students who fit Will Richardson's definition of a good student blog.

Later, I saw Clay Burrel's post at "Beyond-School.org" regarding one of his students who fit the bill as an excellent student blogger. It may be worth giving kids an exemplar of what student blogs can look like.

Tim K's response regarding his students attitude about blogging at school brings up an interesting point, "some suggested writing about movies they see outside class (definitely makes it seem less “schoolish,” which seems like a problem with blogging assignments in general). "

Do blogging assignments seem too "schoolish"? How can we make them more authentic, and less busywork? I'd love to hear your comments.

Comments

CB said…
I've been thinking about Will's request too, and think he's looking for something that will always be the exception in "unschooly" blogging: scholarly student blogging.

I'm a language arts teacher, and after experimenting with different approaches over the past year with several high school grade levels, currently take this position:

I want students to fall in love with writing and self-publishing. (And by "writing," I mean digital"communiciation," more accurately, via whatever multimedia expression communicates best for your individual intelligence: if your strength is speaking, I want podcasts; if it's acting or drama writing or filmmaking, I want movies; if it's photography, so be it; etc.)

If they're going to fall in love with regular "writing," to return to it voluntarily and become habituated to an expressive digital life, it's certainly not going to be so because I'm assigning them schooly homework. I don't want my students to become English professors. I want them to become self-directed communicators of whatever their passions and interests are.

And I trust in time. Let them go through the movie stage - and let's not forget that we can encourage quality film criticism if they want to stay in that stage.

I also can't forget that some students will never take to it. And by forcing them to all write about a schooly thing so that blood (more likely treacle) will come out of the unwilling, unwriterly turnips, I'm quite likely forcing those who do have an authentic writer in them away from their authentic writing desires.

Maybe I get Will wrong here, but he strikes me as wanting to find student bloggers who blog like he and other (edu)blogging adults do.

I think that's a worthy goal. I just feel that the first order of business, though, is detoxifying the acts of writing and thinking that schooliness has so poisoned for students in the last years of their school sentence.

By allowing them the freedom to write about whatever they want, in whatever medium piques their interest - while at the same time only requiring that they do so a couple or three times a week - I hope to help with that detox treatment.

At least then, colleges will get students whose writing has improved in fluency and voice and, in the best cases, ideas and logic, via the sheer act of regular writing.

And the professors can try to turn these writers into scholars.

Me? I don't read scholars. They're typically horrible writers.
Mr. Boone said…
This is absolutely where I am struggling as a math teacher. The feedback I get from students, as I have slowly brought up the idea of using a wiki to develop vocabulary, is that is "stupid" and were just doing it for the sake of doing it. I'm set to activate this experiment with my students this upcoming semester, as I took the first semester to get acquainted with the process myself. Deep down I do believe there is value in the experiment, but right now I'm just a little unsure of how students will really take to it in my math class. We'll see, I guess. Wish me luck!
Unknown said…
David-Your student comments seem in direct oposition to the wiki that Martha C's students set up to study for their final exam. Interesting....
The fact that kids came up with the idea from something they had seen in a completely diferent class showed the true power of integration!
I saw another application where kids were put into groups and then the group that came up with the best wiki received extra points.
I wonder if you could expand the vocabulary idea to include the problem solving thougth process?

I wonder what Edina LA teachers think of Clay's comments above?
Franke said…
I love this! I am a teacher in Minneapolis trying to set up blogs for my students and your conversations here are very exciting! I applaud you all for making this step forward. Do your students have their own class blogs that they create and manage?
Mary Teresa said…
Clay’s Statement “I just feel that the first order of business, though, is detoxifying the acts of writing and thinking that schooliness has so poisoned for students in the last years of their school sentence.” is one to ponder for some time. As teachers, this is a frightening statement; that the passion we have for thinking and writing is perceived as a ‘sentence’ to our students. As hard, as we try to get to know them and guide them as literary thinkers, we sometimes really miss the mark. Engaging students in how to turn the time with us into the type of learning we remember and cherish from our teachers, and which gave us the tools to be who we are today, is what I am gaining from this discussion and I thank you.

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