Earlier this week, I had a chance to visit a school in my district, where they found a unique way to introduce blogging to junior and intermediate aged students.
While the entire school was exploring the theme 'Global Citizenship', student writing on the topic was posted for a public audience. Traditionally, student writing is read by an audience of one (the teacher); but these students had their writing posted on a hallway bulletin board... with a twist.
With sticky notes available nearby, visitors to the display were encouraged to comment publicly on student work. Commenters could see threads developing, and the original authors were able to engage in discussion with a real world audience. The ideas of the authors were considered, challenged, and celebrated in a highly interactive way.
By engaging an impermanent tool, students and teachers were able to explore many e-writing concepts. Students learned about: why authors might want to filter comments; how to deal with anonymous comments; and when it might be appropriate to reference and link to the writing of others. Most valuable of all, they discovered the benefits and challenges of being an involved member of a learning community.
Relatedly, this project led me to consider what might happen if students were required to post 'Facebook-style' poster pages in public places. Even though some students might be shy to share personal photos, or suggestive comments on a school wall, it would reinforce the lesson that such posts on the Internet are commonly accessible to a much broader audience.
Are you aware of similar paper-based strategies that can be used to teach students skills that are transferable to the Read-Write Web?
Photo Credit: Rodd Lucier