Terry Elliot brings up a discussion of using weblogs to build community, and I think it’s an idea worth exploring. How can weblogs help to nurture the face to face classroom community? What kinds of things can we ask kids to share and collaborate on through a weblog?
Earlier today I started writing the requirements for my class weblogs for J1 and J2. How was I going to motivate them to use it? How could I get them to use it to learn about journalism yet also enjoy the back and forth of what I hope will be intellectual discussion? At this point, I feel that I need to require them to participate, that the minimum expected is two posts a week. I’ve offered up a list of potential posts (story ideas, links to interesting sites or articles, personal observations about class, school, etc.), and I’m going to give them a weekly topic they can go to if they need to. But what can we do as teachers to move them beyond the requirement, the grade, and to the love of community or collaboration within the weblog? What intrinsic motivators can we instill in them? Show them our own weblogs? Show them what other people are doing, stuff that I find so very cool? (But will they?) And how do we measure all of this at the end? I need to remember to think hard about how I collect the result, too.
Side note: It’s cool that Terry points to Essential Schools.