There are clear links between this project and technology skills, information literacy, and social technology.
This project is another opportunity for me to refine how I introduce new technology skills to students. I do not want the new technology skill of creating and regularly updating a blog to cloud the desired learning. I will probably choose WordPress as that is the site our school technology coordinator is advocating; it would be silly to train the students in something else when it is likely they will need to use WordPress at some point in their academic career. The number one thing I have learned when designing activities that introduce new technology skills is that it takes a lot more time than I think for students to learn the tool. I will need to set aside a lot of time for “play”; students will want to choose a theme that suits their tastes and customize it as they see fit.
As a Social Studies teacher I always design units and lessons with the information literacy skillset of an adolescent in mind. Middle schoolers need a great deal of training and scaffolding in order to find, evaluate, and synthesize their research. I know that when my PCG students embark on their independent projects that they will need to have lots of conversations with me in order to refine their research questions so that they will have success. Posting their ideas on a public blog also gives them the opportunity to learn from each other.
In the introduction of Danah Boyd’s book “it’s complicated”, she presents a nuanced summary of how teens approach social technologies as teens not users of technology: “…what’s novel for teens is not the technology but the public life it enables” (2014, p. 13). How will my students use a blog to communicate with their teachers, parents, and peers about their growing desire and need for independence? Is a blog even an appropriate tool for this kind of communication? I am excited to find out!
Last but not least: References