Tuesday, April 05, 2005

My inspiration

After doing research for a paper on grassroots journalism for a graduate course, I ran across the idea of transparency and started to think of the possibilities for education. Luckily for me, my school has an administrator who has seen the possibilities of blogging and I e-mailed Will about it. He posted my e-mail here. http://www.weblogg-ed.com/2005/03/01#a3199 This was really an exciting couple of days as my mind kept racing through the possibilities (although I didn't really do justice to that research paper).

I wanted to introduce my students and their parents to the theories and guidelines that teachers use to plan a lesson, unit, and course. But much more importantly I wanted to open up the process to them and other teachers and administrators as well. To me collaboration and discussion gives all of us more ideas and knowledge to draw from. I also hoped it would involve the students better, if they could have a voice in their learning. This evolved into creating a weblog (along with my social studies teaching partner and student teacher) for my American Studies class. This class is a sophomore level class that combines the 10th grade English curriculum with study of US History from 1920 to the present.

Of course, nothing goes as well as planned, and one of the things I'd like to use this blog for is as a chronicle of this process.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

What's it all about?

I've started this blog as place to post, reflect, and discuss issues important to me (and others I hope) concerning education, journalism, high school journalism, writing, technology, and anything else of interest. Much of what I see as the value of blogs Wikis and other technologies in education, writing, and journalism revolves around transparency and collaboration. These thoughts have evolved through research on community or grassroots journalism especially the writings of Dan Gillmor, Jeff Jarvis, and Lawrence Lessing.

Basically, what has inspired me is the idea that collaborativey we are much more knoweldgeable and stronger than we can possibly be alone. This is an extention of cooperative education activities and the democratic process in general. Yet this also calls for giving up authority, ownership of ideas, and even writing in some ways. This flies in the face of capitalist ideals somewhat.

All of this is exciting and challenging and involves new ways of thinking and interacting. We must also know that we can trust one another and what the goals of any endevor might be. This is where transparency comes in. If we open up the process (in teaching, writing, editorializing) many more can participate, and learn how the final product is developed. Education (or journalism) then becomes a conversation rather than a lecture. Cooperative education theorists have been preaching this for years, but new technolgoies truley make it possible. I've recently even opened up the lesson and unit planning process to students and parents. This weblog and the impacts in the classroom will be a major theme here.