Kinda dawned on me while I was reading this post by Shelley Powers about a third generation of Web loggers that one aspect of my student sites that’s been missing is the basic reflective Web log post (just like this one) where you read something, link to it, and comment. Yeah, they have been doing that with their beat assignments, but it’s just that, an assignment. I want to see if I can get them to do some reflecting on their own, and then get them to reflect about each other’s posts.
Maybe start smaller communities of four or five kids who cross post? An online collaborative work group where they read and comment on each other’s stuff in a supportive yet push-the-thinking type way. Maybe, just like in real Web log life, the “beat” topic could be the connector…say, music, or sports, or whatever. (It IS the topic that connects us, no?) What if the collaborative group followed a wider swath of one general topic and shared one site to do so? They could comment and discuss the posts among themselves, link to further reading and research, and develop a collaborative piece of writing about it. Perhaps this would build community that would then foster that same type of interaction in their own personal spaces(?)
This all flows into the interesting recent discussions about Trackback type applications and how they connect writers and ideas. If students could see that others are posting about their stuff…is there such a feature for Manila? Any developers?