Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Robert and Javier - Bloggers!

Finally, I've convinced a young person (two, actually) that writing and publishing online is cool. I can't tell you how many deaf ears this message has fallen upon. For a while now, I've been trying to show kids the way that people are using online communities to, well, do just about everything. The thing is, the only thing they seem to understand is myspace. Forget about the fact the myspace is just one of thousands of online communities. They don't see it that way. For most of my students, there are no other websites where people can talk, laugh, joke, publish, and admire each other to a dangerously compulsive degree. Well there are!

So, how did this miraculous blog creation happen? It was a total fluke. Because an English teacher happened to be encouraging her students to enter a variety of writing contests online, I decided to show them a few of the many teen-authored sites where they can regularly publish their fiction, poetry, artwork, and music/game/book/tv reviews. I also (on a whim) showed them a few teen-authored blogs about fashion and music. I wasn't trying to convince them that blogging was for them. I have tried and failed at that, and have curled into a little fetal ball to ride out this wave and wait until a new idea hit me.

I left the students to their book-choosing, assignment-avoiding, friend-teasing, end-of-day activities and went about mine. Then Robert, dear, sweet, smart Robert asked, "Ms. Murphy, so, how can I make a blog?"

Hip, hip hooray! Javier joined in and they are, right now as I write this, customizing their new blogs, adding content, and transforming into the little digital natives that I knew they could be.

It's always seemed funny to me that we older, less intuitively tech-savvy adults assume that all teens and pre-teens are born with wires growing out of their ears and antennae embedded in their skin (oh, wait! we don't need antennae anymore! do they know what an antenna even is???), but the truth is, many of them are more clueless than we are. Hard to believe. They don't just learn to crawl then walk then speak then blog then master the online universe based on pure machine instinct. Someone must show them, and that someone WILL BE ME!

Well, maybe it will and maybe it won't, but inspiration has struck again and I am unfurling myself from the crumpled, balled-up librarian in the corner. My wings are drying off in the light of Robert and Javier's discovery, and I am ready to tackle the problem of teaching these so-called digital natives how to type/search/save/print/google/blog/copy/paste/highlight/find/email once again.

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