“Without question, our ability to easily publish content online will force us to rethink the way we communicate with our constituents, the way we deliver our curriculum, and the expectations we have of our students. It also has the potential to radically change what we assume about teaching and learning, and it presents us with important questions to consider:
1) What needs to change about our curriculum when our students have the ability to reach audiences far beyond our classroom walls?
2) What changes must we make in our teaching as it becomes easier to bring primary sources to our students?
3) How do we need to rethink our ideas of literacy when we must prepare our students to become not only readers and writers, but editors and collaborators as well?
4) How do we best put to use the reams and reams of “digital paper” that weblogs provide?”
1 – Our curriculum needs to take into account that our students write and read – in short bursts – far more than most people realize. We need to address appropriate editing, writing and the concept of audience, and we need to stress that their audience is FAR wider than the teacher or their classmates. We also need to stress (unfortunately) safety issues concerning what they write and post. We may need to modify HOW we teach, as well. Since the students are basically trained for short bursts of reading and writing, then perhaps we need to teach this way at first; and given they need to learn sustained reading and writing skills, we perhaps need to teach them how to extend those short bursts into longer and longer times.
2 – We perhaps need to go back to teaching research skills using primary sources, and we need to stress evaluation of primary sources. I like being able to provide a wide range of primary source to my students, but I have difficulty explaining to them why one is “better” than another.
3 – As before, we now have students who read and write in short bursts, and who often only take in one line of text, rather than several. We need to expand their ability to read and comprehend multiple lines of text – in other words, to expand their focus. Literacy may no longer mean the ability to read and comprehend the “oldy moldies” – Ivanhoe, Shakespeare in the original Elizabethan English, Milton, or even Swift. Perhaps, literacy is now more technical and functional, rather than creative – our students now show their creative sides through visual media rather than written.
This possibly means we need to expand our definition of “literacy” to include literacy in other mediums. Is a visual poem any less relevant or creative than the written one? Is a digital story any less important than a bound book?
4 – This I have no clue how to address; I have 4 blogs now, and actually only keep up with one. Other than this class, and the digital stories class, this blog has been silent – taking up space on the internet highway – as median trash? – and ultimately ineffectual. So what do I do with it? What do I do with the other 3? I don’t want to wipe them out – I put too much into them to kill them. But I do feel guilty about not using them more often.