What do you notice?
I see a man in a pink shirt and tie (dangling so slightly between his arm and his waist) banging on the glass at a hockey game. In eight seconds, he goes from banging on the glass to turning to his left in profile and screaming. There is joy in the scream.
I see one hockey player in the background skating around, which establishes that “Crazy Carl at the hockey game” is during intermission, or some lull in the game. For these eight seconds, the game of hockey is on hiatus.
I am 36 years old, and the fact that a lot of my life is on the internet astounds me. We can broadcast ourselves from any place at any time, filter the image to make the shades or the colors or the light work just right, or create a border around which jettisons the photo into some meme-osphere. Clicks form cliques, facing books turns into book-marking friends, and the ability to create some coherent, cohesive, organized narrative through it all is the new imperative.
That is what I try to demonstrate to my students. Essentially, the blog is an imperfect conversation, an argument left unsaid, an “ask” requesting an answer. It’s the child at the playground yelling from fifty feet away to her mom, “Hey, look at me!”
For many of my students, blogging is personal. It’s curious to watch them tip-toe around the requirements, but then jump head first when no one is watching. They post instinctively, they laugh uncontrollably around the juxtaposition of academia and their personal lives. Of course, a blogging rubric is a way for us to discuss what they write, and I find our conversations to be that much more meaningful when guided by this rubric, which turns their attention to self-reflection and their own goals and accomplishments. They reflect on their voice, layout, hyperlinked content, and imagery. Essentially, they are artists critiquing their own and each other’s art.
The internet is possibility. I am teaching my students currently about blogging because blogging empowers their minds to go places they never knew they could. I am using the technical-adaptive approach which is to show them both how/why hyperlinks, imagery, and the formatting of their blog works, along with the theoretical such as “Why I Blog” by Andrew Sullivan or “Blogging as Pedagogic Practice: Artefact and Ecology” by Marcus O’Donnell.
Ultimately, the articles suggest technologies such as the blog provide the writer/caption-er/photographer with new ways of thinking and new ways of doing. What 21st century student doesn’t want this?
The project is called “Dare to Fail” and over the new few weeks, the students will have the opportunity to learn as much as they can about their relationship to blogging. The philosophy of David Hawkins preaches that to approach anything scientifically is to understand the I-Thou-It relationship. I look forward to seeing their engagement blossom, to seeing them work through the frustration of apathy and confusion and time-management.
I see a man in a pink shirt. There is joy in the scream.