Category Archives: Read/Write Web

Socrates would be proud.

Kate Olson’s recent post, Digital Confusion, discusses much of what I have been reflecting on lately. I also have been wondering about the greater picture behind the blogosphere… Kate writes:

The great thing about opening up our worlds to comments is that we’re able to hear other sides of an issue and gain perspective – when people link to a blog post of mine and rant about why I’m wrong, it’s eye-opening to see how differently someone else thinks about the same issue (and links are always good, right?) and it’s great to be able to chime in on the comments on THEIR post to tell my side.

Kate continues to wonder what impact this is going to have on kids, as far as being open to scrutiny on the web. Here are some thoughts:

Maybe the blogosphere is supposed to bring us full circle. Socrates believed the best education was in the form of a question. Maybe the blogosphere in some strange way is supposed to bring us back to that same philosophy. The best answer is maybe another question. Maybe we don’t have it all figured out. Maybe we blog to ask the deeper questions about why we do what we do. Maybe we blog because we want to hear the other questions from a different perspective.

We get in trouble when we take things personally, and not academically. The bigger question, or idea, gets lost in the doubt and anxiety. Shift is happening because of a communal dialogue, not because of one person having all the answers. Shift happens because of the questioning, the requestioning, and the reflection behind the questions.

Our kids would be better off writing, blogging, sharing ideas, than believing there is always one right answer. Sometimes there isn’t, and for them they need to understand that’s okay. It’s what makes us human. What should we do with our children and the internet? Teach them how to question, requestion, and reflect. That’s the best any of us can do.

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Students: Their own “web” of thought

Students: Their own “web” of thought…

I have been wondering what to add to this blog of mine and, well, to be honest, it takes time to add content… Time to develop content and make it interesting. And to a more difficult degree that comes from reading others’ content. As a teacher and a coach, the Spring is hectic to say the least.

From the MACUL conference last week until now I have been wondering how to fit in reading blogs, to adding content to my blog, to then encorporating blogging into my classroom curriculum. It has been difficult to even attempt one of these endeavors. Still the thought lingers and this is how today’s blog came…

I went to school this morning (yes, it is Saturday morning…) and am spending my 80th hour here… I decided to abandon all hope of accomplishing anything RELATIVE and read blogs instead. To my amazement, what should appear? But a little ole’ blog that rang answers in my ears.

For those of us NEW to blogs, David Warlick’s blog about how and when to incorporate blogging was great to read. It helps plan out how to teach students the importance of publishing and the quality of writing necessary for publishing. Most of my students at some point have had a blog through the illustrious “Xanga” site. However, I have found reading them that the writing is poor, the topics are awful, and the content is flat and lame to say the least. They are developing communication skills with no direction, no clear standard. Or they believe that “true communication” is now a bunch of links and pictures.

I have now come to understand my job as an English teacher as something different. I believe that these students are having a tough time communicating through technology, since technology most days is not the means of communication in our school.

It is hard to convince students their voice counts. I grew up in a high school where we had sit-ins and meetings and took care of business. I see students, not as that different, just with different priorities. My biggest fear with every new agenda, with every new war, with every budget cut and hike is when the time comes for our kids to stand up and say SOMETHING… They won’t know how to connect what they’re thinking with something tangible and real… They will have learned opinions without back-up count (xanga) and they will lose the good fight to keep things running smoothly.

I am seeing a trend that through blogs students could recreate the web of thought for themselves and visually see how they thread ideas together.

Maybe this isn’t really worth “2 cents”, but things have got to start adding up somewhere.