I decided to challenge my 11’s more by pushing them to see the Internet as more than just YouTube clips of Matt Damon and random scrolling violent stick-figure games. I tweaked my earlier blogging lesson plans from my 10’s and made what I thought was a more accessible lesson for this class. I showed them the random sandwich blog and some travel blogs. A few students were confused as to why they needed to read other strangers thoughts. Some asked why didn’t these people just keep a diary or a journal, why did they need to post their thoughts for the world?
I offered that when you have a casual conversation with someone, you never truly get a sense of their thoughts, attitudes or beliefs. When you read their blog, you end up reading into what they really think, and that may lead to a deeper conversation. That’s when we started to look at the comment stream. I likened it back to what we did last week with our personal responses on Google docs. Some students started to understand where I was going, but others still saw no reason to talk to random people about their thoughts. I showed them my Twitter feed then clicked on a blog post about digital natives and digital immigrants. We looked over the different cartoons and came up with a few thoughts to add to a comment as a class.
The goal was to start a conversation. It’s one thing to say we can have a conversation, but if the students can see that a conversation does happen and is possible, I think they may get more invested. I let them loose on WordPress to search for topics that interested them. They double checked with me if the blog was appropriate for school, and I let them compose a polite comment for that blog. Their comments ranged from “What type of snowmobile do you like most?” to weightier questions about gay & lesbian attitudes. I really hope that when we pick this up next week that they will get some feedback from the blog writers. I really believe that learning happens when you are curious, and collaboration creates curiosity because you never know exactly what the other party is thinking.