This piece by Charlie Lowe and Terra Williams articulates a host of reasons why writing teachers should seriously think about bringing Weblogs into their classrooms. It continues this great string of links lately that are starting to get to the heart of classroom use and providing the foundation for more widespread adoption. Very cool.
Just a couple of excerpts:
Student hypertext projects expand the concept of the public audience to include the entire web. Yet, weblogs as a social, public genre can have equal if not more appeal to a generation who enjoys seeing the private made public on Survivor and MTV’s Real World, while also fulfilling the pedagogical goal of expanding audience outside of the classroom. When students hesitate to share their texts publicly–given the association of the word “journal” with the word “private”–an exploration of weblogging will clarify for them that a weblog is a public way of sharing ideas.
Using Delaney’s “digital paper,” we’ve found that blogging and reading blogs prepares students to write online. Weblogs can serve as an alternative to hypertext assignments, or even make hypertext assignments more effective. In our experience, students sometimes get carried away with the eye-candy of web site design–images, fancy layouts, Marcomedia Flash–at the expense of working on the alphanumeric part of their texts. Working with weblogs privileges writing: students are more invested in the writing that goes into end-of-the-semester hypertext projects when they’ve been writing for the web all semester. They learn rhetorical strategies for writing online before moving on to work with graphics. They also learn about how to make effective hyperlinks–a crucial part of website design and blogging. Thus, students spend more time developing their texts, rather than working mostly on graphics and choosing the “perfect” background. These texts likely end up being more rhetorically sensitive than without the intervention of the blog.
And too long to paste in here but well worth the read is the bulleted list of benefits their students got from blogging. Makes me want to get back in the classroom.
I’m definitely going to read and reread this and share portions of it with my English teachers. The sea is shifting here, slowly but surely. Maybe more on that tomorrow…