A month later…looking back on a semester of blogging, digital storytelling, art ‘zines and online classroom experimentation

Wow, it’s been a full month since last I blogged, well, since last I blogged here. My focus has been over at the artswriting blog-‘zine wrapping up a semester’s explorations and experiments.
Updates: I’ve closed comments sections on older entries to reduce the spam load, and been playing around with blogs for two spring courses, and experimenting with my new iPODPhoto and how I might use it well in my classes (podcasting, of course, and in-the-field flash story making, perhaps–we’ll see.) The month just completely slipped out of my bgblogging grasp, and it feels good to be back on this page, and I’ve got a lot of catching up to do here (and with my blog reading in general). Fortunately Middlebury College has a month-long Winter Term, and I’ll have some time before the craziness of the spring semester to get back on track.

In a few days I’ll post a longer assessment of my fall blogging experience, but right now I’m preparing to present at next week’s CET Workshop in Social Software in Education and then the CET Social-Software Users’ Group meetings to follow and the NLII Conference in New Orleans on the 24th. All three events push me to assess and articulate just what transpired in that arts writing class where I do believe we took classroom blogging into an entirely different realm than at least I have seen anywhere. That’s not to say the blog’zine was completely successful or that I wouldn’t change a thing. Nope, there’s plenty I would revise, add, and scrap. More on that anon when I post presentation notes.

For now I want to draw attention to the travel blog of one of my sophomores, who has just left for a month-longindependent travel project in India, keeping a blog on the road, and returning to work on digital stories.

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Her pre-trip postings show how giving blogs to students as self-reflective, narrative spaces pushes them to examine the relationships between childhood, heritage, and upbringing and how that affects them as they emerge from their homes as young adults at college trying to figure out who they are and how they will lead their adult lives. Piya already is making some valuable observations for herself but for her readers as well, all of us, who have been invited to journey with her back to her roots and through a world that doesn’t belong to her. She will conduct research, read, chronicle, reflect and create through this journey. The public, collaborative nature of the blog pushes her to say something worth saying, to communicate not only with herself but with the world, and to respond to the comments she will (hopefully) receive from those who read along. I’m eager to see how it turns out.

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