The reality of the read/WRITE web is that students are now part of the discourse.
Steamy night here in c’town. The boy has been sleeping on and off, and tonight he’s not sleeping so much and it’s bon’s turn to put him off into sleep. I’m gonna try and sneak a post into the evening…
Art Gelwicks has been having a debate with a bunch of random students in a blog post that i made a few months ago. I’ve gotten about 1500 google hits from that post, which says MUCH more about how important it is for people than it says about my blog’s popularity. Reading through the comments gives you a sense of how desperate these students are to get to myspace… It’s not as if my blog post promised any support for their plight, and still, they posted. They are, as it were, using my blog as a means for interacting with each other, for passing information back and forth about how to crack through their school’s system.
So Art says
- Rather than spending time trying to find ways to bypass your schools filtering and policies, wouldnâ€™t it make more sense to pursue getting those policies changed?
The response is so typical it might have been put their on purpose to irritate him (and it might have been)
From Karla and Andrea
So Art responds by taking them to task for taking the easy way out and not applying their education to convince ‘teh autoritays’ to let them ‘make the case for the site you want access to.’ And I agree with him, that should be the kind of education that they have received… but have they?
I’ve often been taken to task for the title of my blog, a new acquaintance of mine (hopefully soon friend) asked me the other day what ‘post-structuralism’ was. I sent her this quote from wikipedia
- post-structuralism views culture as integral to every textual work. Essential elements of this cultural context include author(s), location, format, audience, and myriad social and economic factors. A typical post-structuralist position holds that the meaning of any work is itself a cultural phenomenon.
Lets take a step back and look at the comments in that blog post and ask ourselves… what’s going on?
Well… there’s my original post. I had intended to start a series of myspace watches of which this is the second. I was definetely speaking to an audience of peers, probably adults, a quick reference to the Simpsons, and my agenda message… teach them how to deal with a thing, don’t ban a thing out of hand. This with the implicit message that students will find it one way or the other.
Then there’s the responses by people I’ll call educators. They’re mostly in agreement with me, (dave says smugly, of course, it is my blog, so one would assume that they might) i believe, if i interpret it correctly, even Tom Hoffman didn’t completely disagree with me. And i believe that’s the only time that’s ever happened!
The response of the students, however, shows a completely different view of the post. They didn’t see the content, they had a completely different experience on the page. One interpretation might be that they saw an adult who was not wholely unsympathetic, and they dropped another coin in the well… posted here as they might have tens of other places. Another interpretation might be that they didn’t see anything, and we’re taking over my blog for their own conversation. Art’s encounters seem to support this position.
What the blog IS is very different depending on your culture, your feelings about format and who you are as an audience. While, to some degree, this has always been true, Shakespeare, for instance, is a painful experience to many teenagers and great fun to many other people. The reality of the read/WRITE web is that students are now part of the discourse.
We are no longer in a world where a single dominant discourse “shakespeare is good for you” can enforce its agenda. These students are going to subvert the system, and make themselves heard. But in looking at the posts from those subverters of the system, i have to agree with Art, but I’ll change the pronoun “is that the best WE can do?”
Lets break down what they’re looking for. It’s a piece of ‘knowledge’ that is in constant flux. What worked at the start of the comments, did not work for the student at the end (Alex Q). It’s not like looking for a date, or a physics equation… it might not even still be accurate by the time you try it. This is the knowledge that these students are going to need to be able to learn and access. This is how they are going to need to learn.
Simply posting “i need my space” on random blogs is not enough.
How then do we teach students the literacies that they need to be able to excel in a world where knowledge is so fleeting. Where an analysis of culture is necessary in order to get the things you want. Let’s take a slightly different example, as i wouldn’t really teach students how to break through the schools firewall, not because it wouldn’t be a good learning experience, but because they shouldn’t do that.
any suggestions? what exercise could they do that would teach them the literacies alluded to above? Something they should do.