Not sure how I missed this the first go around. But David Warlick posted about EdBloggerNews that Will Richardson set up a while back. I looked at the site yesterday morning at about 5:30am and was very impressed. A digg style site for Education 2.0. If you haven’t gone to the site and grabbed the rss feed do it now. What a great way to find and read some of the best posts on education.
Here’s my problem, once I saw the site and saw how easy it was to set up it was all I could think of yesterday. I’m back in school mode which means my brain is constantly thinking about ways to apply this stuff in the classroom. So here’s what hit me yesterday.
It’s been my experience that it’s hard to get middle school students excited about writing and about blogging in general. Yeah they’ll do it for school because they have to, but for the most part I’ve found there hearts aren’t in it. Not like my 5th graders were. The hardest part is trying to get them to read blogs of other middle schoolers who are not their friends and to comment on their posts and expand their circle of “blogging buddies”. Is a digg style site the answer for middle schoolers?
Middle schoolers are social by nature and competitive as well. So what if we created a CrispyNews site just for middle school bloggers. Students would be reading blogs from others, able to comment, to see good writing, and vote for their favorite blog articles. Students could submit their own stories, but they will only move up the popularity later if others promote their story as well. In theory the articles that make it to the top should be either those most relevant to the students, or those most interesting to read, or those that are the best written. Of course all this would end back in the classroom where the teacher and students could talk about the articles, who promoted which articles, why, etc. A conversation that could go in any direction and lead to all sorts of questions and possibilities. I’m sure I can get Clarence Fisher on board as he’s always willing to try new ideas. 😉
There are still some questions about how this would work running through my head and of course they all do with managing the way the CrispyNews site would run.
How would you manage it?
How can you make sure that only middle school students register, submit and promote sites? I’m not really worried about students submitting inappropriate articles because it will be monitored by me and other teachers that have their students using the site. After I threaten my student that I will hang them up by their big toe if they do submit an inappropriate article they usually don’t. I haven’t had one written yet (knock on wood).
Would it be self managing?
Am I worrying to much? Maybe I’m not giving the students enough credit. After all I’m sure they already know this kind of stuff. Maybe once I explain how the site works, what it’s for, and what I expect, it will be self managing. That’s part of the fascination with some of these social networks. Most of the good ones are self managing and it’s the subscribers who make sure everyone is playing by the rules. Would the same be true here? If middle schoolers felt they ‘owned’ the site would they manage and monitor it themselves too? Give them some ownership on the web?
There is some power in this I know. I’m going to play around with CrispyNews today and learn more of the details about the site.
Any and all recommendations, thoughts, crazy ideas, and down right gitty with excitement welcome. 🙂
[tags]CrispyNews, Education 2.0, 21st Century Learning[/tags]