Terry has his work cut out for him, but I think he’s getting to the heart of the matter with his research questions. I think his second question is the most interesting: “Is this difference one of quality or does it act simply to enhance our traditional writing process goals?” The answer to that question would go a long way to determining whether or not a Web log is more than just a tool. Is it a tool that positively impacts a student’s ability to write?
In that context, I’ve been thinking more about yesterday’s other post about Jill Walker and her network of writers idea. I’m a bit dense sometimes, but that, aside from the creation of an instant audience, seems to be the biggest gift that Web logs can offer to students. It’s the gift that it offers readers, too, the chance to become an active part of the writer’s network. In the past, that network was the manufactured relationship between the writer, the teacher, and perhaps a few peer responders. Maybe the class as a whole. And the connections in that network were tenuous and fleeting. Web logs open up all sorts of new connections that in their asynchronous, archived nature allow for reflection and thoughtful response. And I really think this is were the work of the Web log teacher lies. How do we nurture those connections and allow them to develop and deepen? How do we take a piece of writing or an assignment and help it to evolve from just an isolated text with a beginning and an end into a more dynamic exercise that provides learning and context to the larger network over a longer period of time. Jill says “blogging is not simply keeping an electronic journal, it’s distributed and collaborative; it’s learning to think and write with the network.”
What an interesting concept that is…
Terry Elliott says
Thanks, Will, for helping me clarify some research issues. I am not really a research kind of guy, but somebody’s got to make the big goofs, might as well be me. You have an uncanny ability to concretize and synthesize disparate ideas. Do you realize how rare that talent is? As my rockin’ buddy Mojo Nixon once said, “Keep on!”