Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Student Blogging

At the start of school, more teachers have asked students to maintain a blog.  Through their Google apps accounts, students are accessing Blogger to establish a personal digital space.  While communal spaces such as Moodle and Schoology  have become commonplace across classrooms at the high school, encouraging students to maintain a personal space has been slow to develop.  However, the first few days of school has witnessed a change and teaches are reserving time during the introduction process for students to create a blog.

One English teacher is having all of her 9th grade students maintain a blog.  Students will use this space to archive reflections, offer commentary on ideas shared during class and to post finished products.  Learners are also encouraged to follow one another and provide feedback on each others posts.  As opposed to a limited feedback loop, an entire class can participate in the process of offering constructive commentary.  Learners should benefit from the expanding range of perspectives fostered through a growing blogging culture.  Subtly, through their diligence in maintaining a personal digital space, students will see that writing is a public act.  As New York teacher Ileana Jimenez says,  “Writing should be public, it should give a sense of urgency and visibility… for students to feel that their writing has a voice in the world.”

I wanted to share an opening snippet from an initial assignment.  9th grade students were to read, analyze and share reactions to the Bruce Mau's Incomplete Manifesto for Growth.  In class, students were broken into small groups where they discussed and debated select parts of the manifesto.  As a class, a poll was taken to see which points resonated most.  Outside of class, students were to reflect about one point on their blog.  I want to share the following insight offered by one of our 9th grade students about #19- Work the metaphor: Every object has the capacity to stand for something other than what is apparent. Work on what it stands for.   It's refreshing to read a personal and genuine response. The nature of the assignment, time to think and space to voice an opinion led to a insightful and stimulating post- with the chance to further a deep and meaningful communal  conversation

"Work by the metaphor," a phrase, that is, according to Bruce Mau, essential to the "incomplete manifesto for growth." Bruce Mau defines "work by the metaphor" as every object has the capacity to stand for something other than what is apparent. I see this, the ability to see beyond the surface, dissect the true meaning, or in the more clich√© way of saying it, "reading between the lines," as a true sign of maturity, something that goes hand in hand with growth. As people grow into the person they are destined to be, which usually happens in the teenage years, their maturity is defined. Your maturity is not only the unit of measurement for how well you can handle things, but also shows what kind of person you are below the surface.