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CHAPTER ONE: THE READ/WRITE WEB
Tim Berner Lee's “grand vision for the internet”:
“make it a collaborative meeting, a place where we [could] all meet and read and write…” (1)
He saw the global potential of the internet.
In the early days (the 90s), creation lagged behind consumption, given the necessity of tech expertise (coding) to create.
A NEW WORLD WIDE WEB
By 2003, “more than 53 million American adults or 44% of adult Internet users had used the Internet to publish their thoughts, respond to others, post pictures, share files, and otherwise contribute to the explosion of content available online” (2)
Blogs/journals among the mot popular forms.
Even now (at the time Richardson's writing, we're just tapping this potential:
“we can be collaborators in the creation of large storehouses of more information” (2)
While education has been slow to utilize new tech, the “Read/Write Web” has been transformative in other areas, for example:
Howard Dean's Blog for America as a major asset in his campaign.
The “viral” nature of news dissemination also worked against him:
Journalism: the immediate availability of information (pictures, first-person accounts, etc.). Amateur journalists. “Traditional News Outlets” getting cell-phone footage of events.
(Today, this is likely even more true, with the ability for “news” to be disseminated immediately and widely via social media)
THE READ/WRITE WEB IN EDUCATION
Richardson asks: “What needs to change about our curriculum when our students have the ability to reach audiences far beyond our classroom walls? What changes must we make in our teaching as it becomes easier to bring primary sources to our students? How do we need to rethink our ideas of literacy when we must prepare our students to become not only reader and writers, but editors and collaborators as well? How do we best put to use the reams and reams of 'digital paper' that Weblogs provide?” (5).
Web tools are not antithetical even to with goals related to standardized test scores.
Students who grew up immersed in tech versus faculty who didn't.
William D. Winn on “digital native” “[they] think differently from us. They develop hypertext minds. They leap around. It's as though their cognitive structures were parallel, not sequential” (7).
“Digital immigrants”: didn't grow up immersed in tech.
Symptoms: printing out emails, paying bills via check (what' a check?…like…paper?), etc.
Institutions in particular slow to adapt to digital natives.
Richardson seems to concede that a gap in mindset may persist, but suggests that there are tools that can shrink the gap between students and learner, as they're tools simple enough for both digital natives and immigrants to use.
KEEPING STUDENTS SAFE
CHAPTER TWO: PEDAGOGY AND PRACTICE
WEBLOGS IN SCHOOLS
“Writing to the Web is easy. And there is an audience for my ideas.”
“reflections and conversations”
“Blogs engage readers with ideas and questions and links. They ask readers to think and to respond. They demand interaction. ”
Online tools that could be learning tools are often just used as social tools.
Fernette and Eide “found that blogs can:
The potential advantages of a paperless classroom (a “digital filing cabinet”)
Weblogs as collaborative spaces (learning from each other or outside experts)
THE PEDAGOGY OF WEBLOGS
“The potential audience is one of the most important aspects of the Read/Write Web. The idea that the relevance of student work no longer ends at the classroom door can not only be a powerful motivator but can also create a significant shift in the way we think about the assignments and work we ask of our students in the first place” (28).
Weblogging demands audience awareness.
“Throughout this process, bloggers are constantly making editorial decisions, and these decisions are more complex than those made when writing for a limited audience. Because students are regularly selecting content to include a link to, they learn to find and identify accurate and trustworthy sources of information. Because of a potential audience that goes beyond the classroom, they pay more attention to the editorial correctness of the post as well” (31).
“a true blog post is never really finished” (31)
“Writing stops; blogging continues. Writing is inside; blogging is outside. Writing is a monologue; blogging is a conversation. Writing is thesis; blogging is synthesis…” (31)
Blogging in a way that is meaningful academically is more than “just posting” (32).
The most complex form: “Extended analysis and synthesis over a longer period of time that builds on previous posts, link, and comments.”
BLOGGING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM
Allows collaboration between students in different classes, at different schools, etc. (for example, science students doing the same experiment).
BLOGS AS RESOURCES
Determining reliability of online info becomes vital. Who is the blogger? Do other bloggers/outlets cite them? Do they seems to have any bias/particular motive?
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
Discussing out now tech-immersed world, Richardson uses journalism as an example; but the availability/immediacy of info often leads to rushes-to-judgement, as well, and the inevitable retractions are usually lost underneath the massive swell of the 24-hour news cycle. Does student blogging run this risk? How do we ensure students are reflective?
Richardson talks about the availability of an audience. Is this always the best idea for students? Should 18 and 19 year old students, who are bound to make mistakes, struggle, etc. be allowed to make mistakes and struggle sometimes without an audience?
Is there something lost in the “paperless classroom”?
What might be the best way to set up blogging for a class? One class blog with multiple contributors? Individual student blogs? How do ensure that we get a “conversation” going?