Wednesday, October 1, 2008

When It Comes to Blogging with Students Process is King

This week, working on blogging and podcasting with students for whom these are new experiences, has taught me just about as much about the process of online writing and producing as they are learning about having an authentic audience, considering self-representation, and getting the I's capitalized and the periods inside the quotes.

The assignments are part of our response to a school visit to Life on Mars, the 55th Carnegie International, hosted by Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. And to-date, we've only just begun with some initial impressions, with plans for more expository, narrative and poetic compositions to follow in the days ahead.

Online writing and podcasting on the fly is not only teaching our students to ply their compositional talents with care for their audiences, but also presenting lessons in process.

You know, I came of age in this profession when "process writing" was being defined, so I guess I should not be surprised to find that emerging venues for writing bring this point home, albeit in new ways. As students conceptualize where their words are fitting into audio files, posted in to blog spaces, they are simultaneously reflecting on and contextualizing their compositions with meta-writing. Figuring out clicks, copy-and-pastes, URLS, hyperlinks, and insert-image buttons all the while creating instantly published works in 42 minutes or less leaves little time for reflection for the moment, but I try to have my students pause and consider the importance of their voices and their choices for what they will post.

The process takes care of itself. But I wonder if it isn't even more important.

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