Blogging is a way of expressing individual talents, passions, and interests in the online community. It is important that the young people learn 21st century media literacy skills and also that they become digital fluent.
I believe that if we help them connect to their interests and passions, they will have the mindset to set goals and look for the resources that will help them achieve those goals. And why? Because those goals would be already relevant and meaningful to them. Another aspect that I wanted to bring up is the concept of being producers and not just consumers. I feel that blogging can put the youths in a situation to have the proper tools to broadcast their voice and create information, not just consuming.
Most youths are solely consumers of media; they listen to music, they read about fashion trends, they search for the latest cheats for video games. Youths are becoming increasingly surrounded by media content. However, many times the inner workings of the internet, websites, and other media platforms seem to be inaccessible to youth. Most young people have no idea how they could be a producing part of internet media. It all just seems too complicated. For youths, the barriers to entry into the online community can be insurmountable. Blogging can be an extremely useful educational tool that provides an important bridge for youths interested in having a more active role in the online community. A blog can take a youth from a mere consumer to a producer of media content.
I see in the playlist a series of concepts we touched throughout the course. For example, as the youths develop a virtual object, in this case their blog, they learn how to use the digital tools and online platforms to create something, but also they share their personal knowledge with the world. This focus on the social aspect is what differentiates constructionism from constructivism. But I also note that each blog post, either a photo, description, or video can depict an “object-to-think-with.” Or if it is a poem or a written expression, that written and digital post can become the “object-to-think-with” itself.
Blogs can be also the platforms where youths could collect media representations or write something about their “evocative objects”, as defined by Turkle. Blog posts can be powerful ways to express the youths’ voices and connect them with the world. I hope this playlist can help youths to see that blog sites can give them more flexibility in terms of modifying the design and structure of their sites and being able to personalize and customize their own “digital home”. They could even connect their favorite social media micro-blogs like Facebook or Twitter and have all in one site.
I found the theory of connected learning fascinating because of its focus on relevance and utility aspects. Our schools are not providing students with the tools they need to succeed and young people dropout from school every year. I feel that the learning principles of connected learning, interest-powered, peer-supported, and academically oriented, help students to experience learning that is 21st century and meaningful to them. As I was writing this playlist, I found my own interest in blogging and expression, pushing me forward in designing a quality product for the youth. This semester I created my own website and started a blog so I had experienced what I hope youth can experience throughout the nine XPs in the playlist. My interest and desire to create this digital object pushed me to look for resources online and figure out better ways to put this together.
I love colors, images, and photos. I admire how a simple image can communicate more concepts than just words. So for each XP in the playlist, I wanted to post a picture in each of the banners that would summarize the purpose of the XP. The banner is what the youths see first so I wanted to communicate the purpose of the XP with that image. By the way, I loved the fact that we were able to use GIFs, to add some movement to the images.
This playlist can help students begin their journey with blogging and provide them with a powerful connective learning experience. The playlist focuses on defining what blogging is, how a youth can find something to blog about, rules and guidelines to making successful blogs, and other information, like how a blog can make money.
An Intro to Blogging
Blogging is a fun and important way to express their feelings and opinions about their passions. The playlist begins by helping youth define what a blog is, how to create a blog, and then some key principles of how to write successful blog posts. The playlist provides blog examples for the youths to explore. Having these quick links show how successful blogs do not have to be about one specific subject. Successful blogs can literally be about anything. This fact can help youth realize that their own personal interests could be taken seriously in the online community. Youths can be proud of their interests and passions. The playlist also provides important information on how the quality of writing is important on blogs. Much of the media youths currently produce are text messages. Text speak is much different than normal writing. It involves many acronyms and abbreviations. Conversely, blogging still maintains a more formal writing style when compared to a normal text message. It is important for bloggers to utilize proper grammar and spelling. Blogging is still widely considered more "formal" than texting or Facebook.
The next section of the playlist is helping youths find their passion and the things they want to focus on when writing their blogs. This is an integral part of the educational process, as youth will look inward to find the things that are important to them. It is finding these passions that can help a youth find direction and movement toward personal goals. It also helps them find their “digital voice.” Since so much of their lives are carried out on a digital platform, it is important for youths to become comfortable with their own interactions with digital media (i.e. digital literacy and fluency); specifically finding their digital voice. I define digital voice as their opinions, thoughts, ideas, in a digital manner, in other words, expressing using digital objects like blog posts, videos, or images using online platforms like blogs.
A major part of the connected learning experience that blogging can provide is connecting to mentors. Mentors can come in the form of teachers, advisors at their schools, friends, clubs, online forums, among other experts. The youths can also find digital mentors by following and emulating elements from blogs they enjoy. This can be an amazing tool, both in research and in network interaction with successful bloggers and with others who are interested in their interests. Youths will usually be able to find someone who is interested in their same interest. That is why utilizing the Internet platform is so important - the huge scale and enormity of people using the internet means that individuals can always find support and others who share their opinions and passions. The youth can use their digital voice to create and share messages that can inspire others. This can help youth realize that their own personal experiences, whether positive or negative, can be used to help others.
Finding Career Skills
Another area of the connected learning experience of blogging is how it can affect future careers. Blogging can give youth a number of important career skills. As the world increases its digital dependency, having varied digital skills will be important. A blog can help youth prepare for the workforce in the following ways:
Visit the Playlist HERE