Teachers Teaching Teachers #27
November 1, 2006
How can we sponsor and deepen the natural swarming that happens in student blogs on a social network? This complex question is where several teachers — Paul Allison, Lee Baber, Madeline Brownstone, Susan Ettenheim, Teb Locke, and Chris Sloan — seemed to be at the end of their conversation here. Teb talked about the kinds of committed writing he is seeing in his 3rd - 5th graders blog, their social network, and their wiki. We also talked about the differences from typical school writing that we are seeingthe personal, digital writing students are doing for their peers on blogs in The Personal Learning Space and Youth Voices.
Has writing really changed? What’s the difference — really — between writing an essay and writing a blog post? Has the use of images really changed the writing process? Digital technologies are great, but don’t we still have to teach kids how to write the way we always did? What’s the difference?
Our conversation this evening began innocently enough with Gail Desler, the technology liaison for the Area 3 Writing Project in and around Sacramento, California, describing her work over the past four years with blogging in the classroom. Last year 3 different Writing Projects and 5 schools joined together in a project called “Youth Voices: Coast to Valley.” Given that we have stolen their name, “Youth Voices” in an attempt to broaden our network of schools, we are delighted to include Gail and her teachers in the elgg at http://youthvoices.net! Last night Gail said that some of the same teachers from last year’s work would be joining the new Youth Voices. A great question that Gail has been asking is, “How can we sustain and deepen online conversations on a blog?” And part of this has to do with finding the right balance between personal blogging and common blogging around a theme or text.