We’re going to be using the blogs as communications channel this semester and I’m asking all my students to write about things. It occurred to me today that I haven’t really explained what I consider a “good post” might look like. I’ve been modeling them for a couple of years now and, frankly, as instructional technique, it leaves a lot to be desired. So I’m going to do a kind of metacognitive wrapper around what I think of as a good post and explain the critical parts.
So a good post should start out with an explanation of what the heck you’re going to talk about. Now, I’ve done that in the paragraph above, but in a “normal post” I’d probably be talking about something interesting that I found in my aggregator. In that case, I’d start the post with a bit of an intro, then cite a bit of the original post, include a link so you can go read the whole piece, and, after the citation, offer a commentary on what I think are the take-away points. Something like this:
Clarence Fischer up in Snow Lake is one of those people who is constantly using these technologies in his daily classroom practice. He’s in a permanent metacognitive mode about how the tools work, how they influence his practice, how his students relate to them, and the social implications of how that use changes who we all are. Here’s an example from one of his latest posts
Web 2.0 technologies allow us to think about moving the latest, most up to date informtion both in to and out of our classrooms, but we also need to think more dynamically about the connections we are able to make, the networks we can forge and the people we can have the students in our classrooms meet.
via Web 2.0 – For So Much More Than Publishing | Remote Access.
He’s absolutely on the money here. We have to stop thinking that education is about content and start working on the idea that learning is more important than institutions. The problems arise only if we believe in an economy of scarcity and, as Clarence has learned, the real problems arise when trying to organize the avalanche.
Now if my post-citation commentary seems a little obscure, even dense, or perhaps even unrelated, maybe it’s because I’ve written about the whole piece and not just about the bit that I cited.
Or it could be that I think that he’s identified a valid issue with regard to content and that I’m extrapolating from his point on content to an observation about the systems within which that content is (mis)used.
Or it could be that I have my head up my butt and I really have no clue what I’m writing.
Or, perhaps the truth is somewhere in the middle, and this whole metacognitive experiment in demonstration is actually an example of what I think might constitute a good post.
How might you tell?