An interesting article from Angela Pascopella and Will Richardson : The New Writing Pedagogy
Using social networking tools to keep up with student interests.
Here is practical proof of the advantages of using web 2.0 or social networking tools in teaching writing…
A fifth-grade class at the Saugus (Calif.) Union School District is working on a writing assignment using social networking. The district is leading an ambitious plan to rethink writing instructions and pedagogy in the schools.
Cory was a special education sixth-grader at the Saugus (Calif.) Union School District when he wrote an entry on his blog page entitled “The Spied Enemies: A War Journal.” This make-believe story opens with the words “I am Johnny Willow, a hero to some people. I will tell you my story about my adventures in World War II.”
Cory, who posted the story in the fall of 2007, states how Willow hears Japanese planes flying over Pearl Harbor and then dropping bombs, specifically on the USS Arizona. “I saw everything start to become blurry. I woke up in front of the captain. He said, ‘You are lucky to be alive.’”
Because Cory was in a class that used social networking tools for writing—specifically Elgg, an open source media platform—other students, teachers, family members and even the general public were able to comment on his story. For example, an “army colonel,” who did not give a name, said about chapter 1, “Your words have painted a very vivid picture. You did an excellent job of illustrating the terror of war. Keep up the good work.”
Cory is now an eighth-grader and no longer in special education classes, says Jim Klein, the district’s director of information services and technology, who helped push the idea of using social networking for writing in the district’s schools about five years ago. Klein attributes Cory’s transformation to the story he wrote and the positive comments he received. “Suddenly, Cory is not an outcast,” Klein says, noting the positive feedback Cory received and the self-confidence that resulted. “It changed his perspective on life. And he has friends now.”