Friday, April 11, 2008

"Schooliness" Part III: Even in an Analog World!

I was planning to write this post today, and then I saw a post from Scott McLeod with a chart showing student learning curiosity and engagement with content. To answer Scott's question about whether technology is to blame for this, I think the answer is NO!

The other day I saw a post on Clay Burrell's blog regarding a webcast he attended from a group called Teachers Teaching Teachers titled, "How to Make YouthTwitter Less Schooly" or something to that affect. Clay has had some interesting posts in the past about "schooliness" or "schoolishness" if you prefer as it relates to student blogging.

It got me to thinking about, whether "schooliness" was a digital/technology issue, or whether it has been around regardless of technology's influence. I see my own two children's experience (admittedly a small sample) similar to McLeod's chart on learning curiosity. They are both naturally inquisitive, and excited about learning, but I have seen this tendency decline as they have progressed to 4th and 2nd grade respectively.

My 2nd grade daughter loves to write. Last year in first grade, she filled up five notebooks with creative writing assignments, and IMHO they were quite impressive! Yesterday, she shared a biography writing assignment she had completed on an extremely compelling subject: me. It was three pages in length, and in all honesty, not her best work. She included little detail, or expressiveness, just the facts, and not entirely in the right order! I thought the subject matter deserved better treatment!

Then, she shared the creative story she had written, "just for fun". It was extremely expressive and full of detail about her fictional character, "Mr. Bob." I decided to inquire as to which of her stories she had enjoyed writing more, the one for school, or the one for fun. While she didn't think she had enjoyed one over the other, she did recognize that the creative story done for fun was the better written of the two.

I think that "schooliness" has been around forever. Student complaints about blogging in class being too much about school are analogous to complaining about writing assignments with paper and pen. Perhaps if we look at making school more authentic, (which technology integration can definitely do) we can increase student interest in learning and make school less "schooly".

Let's start a conversation about how we can make this happen!
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