Having just said that I’m having trouble finding “best practices,” the AP College English class Weblog at Oak Park & River Forest High School outside of Chicago looks like it’s got some potential. And the teacher, Bernie Heidkamp, has set up Weblogs for his other two sections as well as his American Studies class. (They were blogging the debate last week.) There is some serious critical thinking and writing going on, as evidenced by this post in particular.
I think this is a very easy yet effective way of getting into this. And the teacher(s) has obviously thought it through as evidenced by this “Your Blogging Responsibilities” page. And just why are they using blogs?
1. It allows us to continue conversations we have begun in class and explore issues often with more depth and thoughtfulness – since we will force ourselves to articulate our ideas in writing.
2. It allows us to discuss issues that we have not addressed in class (because of time limits or the particular focus of the units) but that someone thinks is relevant to our study of American culture (in the case of American Studies and American Literature classes) or literature and culture in general (in the case of other classes). It gives you, the students, more control of what we talk about.
3. Since our weblog will be public (people will be able to find it through Google and other search engines and other bloggers and websites can and will link to us), everyone in class will have a public voice and immediately be published writers. This “publicity” offers a wonderful opportunity to have an audience for your ideas and an important responsibility to present ideas that you truly believe in while writing in a mature, confident style.
Ok…I’m feeling better now…