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Allison, Paul

Page history last edited by Angie Carter 6 years, 9 months ago

“Be a Blogger” Annotation

By Angie McKinnon Carter (2014)

Allison, P. (2009). Be a blogger: Social networking in the classroom. In A. Herrington, K. Hodgson, & C. Moran (Eds.), Teaching the new writing: Technology, change, and assessment int he 21st-century classroom. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.


Chapter Summary

            Allison describes how to create a project-focused, studio-style blogging classroom. To illustrate the kinds the kinds of intertextuality, source-weaving, and polished work that students can create, he begins the chapter by showing Nichole’s post that she created toward the end of the school year. After explainig the process Nichole used to create her post over a week, he takes the reader to his chaotic classroom. In the piece, he discusses how students are encouraged to find questions that they are passionate about and develop an audience for their writing on those questions. He refers to what he calls the “Be a Blogger! Self-Assessment Matrix” (p. 83, 84) that helps students focus their work throughout the week. Using a typical week as a frame, he shows how the matrix guides students through responding, drafting, revising, and publishing their work in four areas: text, links, podcasts, and images. He helps them learn how to find sources and how to have sources find them (such as through Google Reader). He concludes the chapter by explaining how he would explain the project to someone thinking of trying it. Rather than discussing the matrix, he identifies his curriculum as having students focus on developing their profiles, creating a weekly blog post, and responding to other students. He concludes that this curriculum enables students to do more than an approach focused on state standards.


Chapter Assessment

Although Allison’s students are high-school students, he focuses more on what they are doing in the classroom than on the age of the students. If a reader is looking at how to use blogging in a supplemental way in the classroom, this chapter may not be idea. However, his matrix can provide several ways of helping students see the rhetorical dimensions of how to make blogs successful. Further, his frequent references to Elbow’s work ground this chapter in an expressivist approach that values what each student has to say while adding in the Freire’s critical pedagogy aiming for social justice. Allison also does an excellent job of explaining the nuts and bolts of blogging including how to respond to other bloggers’ post and where to find sources and non-copyrighted pictures. These practical aspects of how to deal with the more technical aspects of blogging could be helpful for many readers. At the same time, since Allison uses blogging to create more polished writing, a reader considering blogging as freewriting or for more informal writing may not find Allison’s chapter as helpful.


Key Chapter Quotations

Pedagogical Framework

“The Essential Questions for this curriculum are like concentric circles that stat with an individual student’s passions, and lead out through an online social network into taking social action” (p. 90).

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