I like Will’s post on Blog Alliances and all his good thinking and writing. He has had a steady stream of excellent posts. He always does. Plus, he has a way of getting the discussion on the table and lots of minds thinking. I love that! His blog is always one of my first “reads” of the day. Thanks, Will, for charging ahead! We need that. One thing though, that I would differ with Will about is when he says…
And by the way, if you really want to see some GREAT fifth-grade blogging, check out Emily’s site from Anne’s group in Georgia. She was one of the students that my journalists worked with last year in an early blog alliance we set up, and she’s just doing amazing things. It’s really inspiring. Now the big question is, will Emily be blogging in high school???
I think the big question should be….. Will Emily be writing in high school? In reference to blogging Emily expresses her feelings on this post, “I feel like I’m on Cloud 9. It feels like I just got elected for the first woman president! It feels like I just gained a million really close friends! “
So, will she still feel the same enthusiasm for writing in high school as she does now writing on a weblog? Will she continue to write and experience the joy? Will she continue to develop her own voice and style in writing? I believe weblogs are a great tool for helping in this process and I do feel that Emily will make her voice heard. I think weblogs have helped her a lot in that area. We need to keep thinking about just what it is in this weblog process that makes it effective. What can we do to keep pushing the envelope on what we can do with weblogs that we have not done before in typical educational scenarios?
I love the learning, the shaping and reshaping of ideas, and the think-rethink process that weblogs encourage. I think that works so well for educators but for our students using weblogs, I think we should focus on the writing. I’ve talked about this before. See here, here, and here.
We are using weblogs but in most cases our students are not blogging, per se. Our current educational system is not ready for that big of a leap, and we have much to teach our students before they can learn how to speak responsibly, yet forcefully. That’s a whole other discussion so back to the writing focus. Weblogs are unique spaces for us to use in education. We can use weblogs with students to make writing THE focus. We can publish quickly. We can set up an audience for them. We can give them ownership and best of all we can give our students a rich and diverse array of writing experiences. It’s a way we can make writing a joy and let our students know that their writing matters. I think weblogs provide this but we have to set the stage and give them lots of practice with the writing, while at the same time encouraging and helping them realize the power of the written word. Our own weblogs show them that we think writing is important. We can even use the weblogs to recognize students in ways we could not before. The teacher-student discussion is so crucial and again, we can do that in ways we could not before. Weblogs spell possibilities. I want us to continue to explore those possibilities.