So the writing across the curriculum idea has been around for a lot of years now, and I think most people would agree that it’s a good one. Our writing lives are filled with all sorts of genres and purposes once we graduate into the “real world.” Why should English classes be the only place where good writing skills are taught? It used to be that teachers in other disciplines had some trepidation about assigning writing since they weren’t very comfortable as writers themselves. But I have to tell you, at my school just about every discipline, including physical education, asks kids to write, and I think the benefits are obvious.
But what about blogging across the curriculum? The last few days I’ve had a couple of people ask me whether or not I think blogging (not blogs) has a place in math or science. Obviously, the digital paper aspect of blogs lends itself so easily to English classes, but I think there’s potential for other disciplines as well. Why would pieces written for health class benefit any less from an audience than something written in English class? And wouldn’t the self-publishing power of Weblogs foster a more constructivist approach? More authentic reasons for more authentic writing. Same with math and science. I mean, why couldn’t students blog about their own processes or tricks when solving math problems. Or why shouldn’t reflective blogging in science become an integral part of doing the experiment? I mean imagine if Einstein had the benefit of instantly sharing his observations with millions of interested readers. Oh, the feedback. (Ok, maybe not Einstein, and maybe not millions…but you get the idea.) I’ve been trying, but I can’t seem to think of a discipline where blogging couldn’t be put to good use.
And imagine a student blog/portfolio where all of that blogging across the curriculum comes together as a place to do some of that real meta-cognitive work. Learning in high school takes place in such a vacuum already that students seldome make any connections between one curriculum to another. That’s always struck me as completely antithetical to the way we learn when we leave school. A blog might help make some of those connections. I know all that transparency scares people, and that it’s a pretty big shift in the way we currently view the goals of the curriculum (read: standardized tests). But what a learning tool that could be.
I look at my daughter’s blogging of late and I imagine what it might look like 10 years from now when she graduates from high school. What a learning log she might have. (And, what an audience!)