Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Authenticity and Student Blogging

What does authenticity in blogging mean? Are we talking about an authentic audience or authentic writing? I will look at both in this post.

As the co-creator of the hash tag #Comments4Kids and the guy that runs the blog, I think I have a pretty good idea about audience. When it comes to an authentic audience, the people reading the blog have to want to read it. This means you can't assign someone to read a blog and leave a comment and expect it to be an authentic experience. This does not mean you should not assign students to read and comment, just that it probably won't be authentic.

But, don't students need an authentic audience? I am not sure they need one, but I think we all hope they find one. If your goal is for your students to have authentic audiences, then you need to allow your students the time and opportunity to go and find blogs written about the topics that interest them. Explain to them that they should try to have conversations on those blogs and try to get those bloggers to then return the favor. This is about building tribes more than it is about blogging.

What does authentic blog post creating look like? Just like with an authentic audience, an authentic post has to be one the creator wants to make. Again, this does not mean you should not assign topics for the students to create posts over, just don't expect them to be authentic.

So, how do I get my students to bog authentically? The short answer is, you can't. What you can provide is time and opportunity to allow them to create posts over what they want to share. Don't expect every student to want to create content to share online either, they all won't want to do that (and that is perfectly acceptable!) The important thing is that you give them opportunities to share their stuff too.

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