Friday, March 24, 2006

Are Blogs Really What is Meant by "Digital Literacy"?

I ran across a blog post that intrigued me. Wesley Fryer, the author of the post, speaks of President Bush's reference to blogs - more precisely, milblogs - as a primary source for information about what is happening in Iraq - a broader civil perspective.

Fryer used Bush's comments as a springboard into NCLB issues. His question is, are students getting the [digital] literacy skills they need for the 21st Century? Are students getting skills that will help them solve the real problems, the problems that are not prefabricated and solvable by rote? Fryer does not feel NCLB is properly preparing students for anything important, especially not for the digital age.

I'm gonna let that whole NCLB discussion sit - interesting article.

Here's my question: Are blogs really what is meant by "digital literacy"? Or, are blogs nothing more than open text messaging or IMing? I have heard countless teachers and parents condemn blogs. Faith in them as scholarly or righteous modes of communication is not wide spread. I completely understand why they feel that way. Blogs have certainly had a lot of bad press these days. On the other hand, I can't help think that there are blogs out there that ARE scholarly or righteous. There must exist some that are credible primary resources. One or two must be fine examples of citizen journalism? No?

Okay. If you had a student working on a project on current civil issues in Iraq, would you allow him or her to use an American military blog as a credible primary source? Sure, sure - it depends on the topic and the perspective. That aside, do YOU trust the resource? How would you discuss this with your student? How do you help your students solve the problem of evaluating credible vs. not in the world of blogs? Is this a skill that is important?

Feel free to comment at the bottom of this post.

Lee Anne


Anonymous said...

LeeAnne: Everytime I believe I'm prepared to challenge my students with course content, you give us something new to cosider. Digital literacy should be an early on portion of a students learning requirements. We as instructors must provide a framework as to the multiple considerations when using technolgy to support our course. The literature citations you referenced gave me an outline as to how to structure student expectations when using the internet references(even blogs)I teach a short course @ senior centers on the use of the internet as a medical reference. I asked the who,what where, when, and how any one source may be of assistance for a medical issue; I suggest they compare information; seek references/credentials; motivates for the article; and to use these references only to establish a basis for discussions with their medical davisors. It would seem to me, I can use this similiar techniques with my new on line courses.
Thanks for the articles. Mike Hopkins

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