Jeff has a great post on his Thinking stick blog: myspace and xanga not so cool:
"Had a chat with some middle school students last week and a tech savvy teacher who talks to her students about the latest and greatest technologies that the students are using. Word on the street is myspace and xanga are no longer cool."For all the conversations, read Jeff's article. Amidst his observations, he makes a vital point that I believe is important to everyone blogging.
Blog with a purpose
All this leaves me quit fascinated. In order for blogging to work you have to have a purpose to blog. Without a purpose, without having something meaningful to say and add to the conversation blogs become pointless rants, and why waste your time ranting to millions when you can do it through MSN messenger to all your friends.He goes on to say that now parents are monitoring myspace, it has become "uncool." I've always told parents that I love myspace and xanga because of the amount of monitoring parents CAN do! It is much easier than looking at chat log files! (See How to soothe myspace fever.) Jeff thinks now students are going to use private chat rooms.
The couple blogs that are being used in the classrooms at my school are receiving great feedback from the students, yet there is a purpose to the blogs, a reason to write and respond, a reason to be apart of the conversation. It is not blogging that is uncool, it is the content.
How to give your students a purpose
My students love blogging but they especially like it when I give them a "question of the week." They like to look at items, formulate an opinion, and express an opinion. Even more so, they like to be read.
Question of the Week Examples
Here are some questions I've used over the past few weeks on our class blog:
|Is this professor right? 03/27|
| || A nameless professor has asked his students to hack in a computer security class.|
The college has said that it will not discipline the professor but if the students attempt to hack the college computers that they will be disciplined according to the school disciplinary code.
What do you think? Should the professor be disciplined? He is teaching them to do illegal activity, is this OK?
|Question of the Week 03/19|
| || We've discussed it and we knew it was going to happen but now its here. A fellow blogger has posted about a new cellphone malware that texts to your cell phone and looks for credit card and identity information.|
Here is my question.
After reading the article, what should the United States government do to crack down on identity theft and virus writers in a way that will include all new technologies that may not have been invented yet?
What's going to be cool next?
I predict that meebo and similar apps are about to be a totally "in" thing. I used it last week to talk with my ninth graders a little more about Web 2.0, web apps, ajax, and mashups. It integrates all of these and they can use it and see how it works.
This website lets kids chat with all chatters on most platforms, AIM, ICQ, Yahoo Messenger, Jabber, GTalk, and MSN. They don't have to have a chat client installed and can do it from any computer with web access!
Their friends can use their chat program and don't have to be using meebo. It is a great use of all of the new innovations with Web 2.0 and is a great alternative to installing memory hogging, leaking chat programs.
(I also think Odeo has potential and some of my students are using it as sort of a private voice mail service.)
A victim of my own teaching
I subsequently had to block it because now they can chat without a chat client installed.
...but not for long
I plan to unblock it and do some group reviews over meebo where they quiz and answer each other. I'm then going to have them copy the text of their chat and submit it as a review grade.
Once you get used the world, it changes. So the only thing we need to get used to is the fact that we must be constantly learning.
Things will change, so don't be surprised. Enjoy it. Learn to thrive in a dynamic environment. Accept that change is part of life.
Change creates victims and victors. Any time there is change you have an opportunity to benefit from it or be hurt by it.
Be the victor!