"Good learners, like everyone else, are living, squirming, questioning, perceiving, fearing, loving, and languaging nervous systems, but they are good learners precisely because they believe and do certain things that less effective learners do not believe and do." -Postman and Weingartner (31)
This weekend I spent several hours evaluating students’ work on Project 1: The About Me page, an exploration of their application of Gee’s concepts of primary and secondary Discourse and their prior knowledge of college writing. Students developed this page for their WordPress blogs, and also submitted a reflection assignment exploring their consideration of genre conventions, writing process, key influences, and progress toward learning outcomes. Reading their work, I moved between their reflection posts and About Me pages, and some students had even used hyperlinks to connect the two (or to connect to other related Reading Responses). I thought about how great it will be later in the semester when, giving students feedback on their reflections and projects, I am one click away from their discussion of prior knowledge. Reading their work in their space, I am sifting through students’ online portfolios as they are built.
I know that students using blogs is not a new thing. I’ve been doing it for several semesters, with each iteration becoming more effective (the blog network we are developing this semester is really cool as a resource). But what was new to me this weekend was this realization that, as students continue to draw from their prior knowledge, “recontextualize” this prior knowledge in the face of new writing situations (Nowacek 2011), and develop new knowledge about writing, in their blogs I can move quickly back to where they have been, and can more effectively address this “remixing” (or, perhaps, their less successful “assemblage” or encounters with “critical incidents”) in my feedback to them (Robertson, Taczak, and Yancey 2012).