I’m putting this out there in a rather polemical tone in hopes of starting a conversation. This follows the line of thought I was developing in this post. I’m not 100% sure how I feel about the subject yet, but I haven’t seen anyone representing this point of view:
Will posted a piece last week, “To Blog or Not to Blog…“. In it, he to some extent established a dichotomy between those who get it and those who don’t:
I read lots of stories about kids who are getting it, even in Doug’s post, where they are reading and writing and commenting and learning. You read Bud or Clarence or Vicki or any number of others and there are stories that border on transformation. (In fact, Vicki’s latest post is titled “My students inspire me as they “get” Web 2.0.”) But I don’t read much about the kids that aren’t engaged. And I’m wondering to what extent that happens as well. And further, I’m wondering to what extent they compare to the adult educators we’re trying to teach about these tools who choose not to engage. The simple view is that this is generational, that kids are more available to the tools because they live in a connected world or because, well, they’re kids and more open to new stuff than adults…but is it?
Will also wrote a follow up post where he asks:
how do we get our kids engaged? How can we get them to be motivated to learn? And, since these tools seem to be working for us, how can we use them as vehicles, conduits for students to tap into their own passions? And how do we get other teachers to at least consider them?
Well, I think one of the most important aspects of getting students (and teachers) engaged to to start from their points of view, not ours. The first questions shouldn’t be “how can I get my students to do what works for me?” or “how can I share my passion for blogging (or anything else) with my students?” Rather, if we really want to engage our students, we need to ask “what do our students do that works for them?” and “what are my students passions?” Then we must consider how to adapt content matter and learning tools to our students. It shouldn’t be the other way around.
I started blogging with my students last year largely because it was something most of them were already doing. I wanted to tap into something they were a part of. Next year, when I’m teaching in the Bronx, I will face a very different student body from the one I had in suburban Virginia. Most of my students do not have computers at home. Will I blog with them? I can’t know until I get to know them. Blogging is one of many tools I have available to me to engage my students and help them grow as people, writers, readers, thinkers, and citizens.
Barbara hits a similar note:
Teaching is never about a single approach, a single strategy–it is constant improvisation, a constant questioning.
I don’t think any of us would ever expect all our students to be able to express themselves well through painting or sculpture – why is there an expectation that everyone should be able to do it well through blogging?