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