In the article “Erasing “Property Lines”: A Collaborative Notion of Authorship and Textual Ownership on a Fan Wiki” Rik Hunter explores the academic value of fan based blogs in regards to the symbiotic, social and technological, relationships. Wow Wiki pages, one of the top websites on the internet, is a participatory blog where fans, players, and observers voluntarily post their writing about the interactive game World of WarCraft. World of WarCraft, a lineage video game, is regarded as highly academic because it demands high level critical and active learning and engagement; for example, the game’s “..manipulation of texts, images, and symbols for making meaning and achieving particular ends” are functions that correlate with academic functioning and thinking. The members and readers of WOWWiki blog collaborate and create a collective knowledge and ownership, where many share a mindset creating hyper-social interactive writing, therefore bridging readers and writers with social interaction. The postings are then moderated and the moderators give feedback, edit errors, and require bloggers to provide credible sources and factual evidence to their claims. The site also has a guideline of posting and communicating in appropriate ways and how to navigate tension and conflict. The article argues the academic benefits of fan blog sites and how they are used.
This is an interesting perspective about the academic elements of blogs and video games. This brings up the idea of how to use academic gaming into the classroom to build on students’ executive functioning. Until this video game/ curriculum is created, this is best approached as an example of a well functioning blog and forum. I could not help but bring up that a well oiled and functioning blog works because the audience and participants are invested in the topic(s) and in this particular case game. It cannot run as smoothly in the classroom environment because not all the participants are motivated, interested, or enthusiastic about the topic(s).
In the article “Writing and Citizenship: Using Blogs to Teach First-Year Composition” Charles Tryon argues for the use of blogs in classrooms. Tryon’s article partially supports and coincides with the article “Learning to Write Publicly: Promises and Pitfalls of Using Weblogs in the Composition Classroom” where John Benson and Jessica Reyman conducted a study to demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of blogging. The positives support Tyron’s positives: blog writing allows students to experience writing in a public space in multiple contexts with real communication value. This also involves an awareness of audience; however, Benson and Reyman exposed that sometimes audience is unknown or varied within a classroom blogging context. Students also become aware of genre and genre conventions in blog writing, however, Benson and Reyman state that some web blogs assignments can complicate a students understanding on genre because some genres are not applicable in the blogging format. Both authors state the benefits of blogging, through social engagement and collaboration, that are typically lost in the more traditional essay writing. Blogging also contains purpose and real life meaningful interactions that can supplement both reading, writing, and discussions.
As a student I have been introduced to the academic blogging sphere while in grad school. I see the benefits of blogging: the immediate interaction, the ability to read, internalize, and then respond thoughtfully and accordingly. I like it because I can proofread and sculpt my opinion as I write, but most importantly the discussion thread is “permanent” and therefore I can see the thread of comments at any time which help as I gain perspective. I do have to say that sometimes I have a hard time with my language; I want to have a more colloquial tone and approach while blogging but then have to remind myself that this is still an academic environment.
Blogging is effective because it requires a whole new literacy. One can have computer literacy in terms of mechanical skills as well as technological literacy, social and cultural environments, but it is necessary to use those two skills and apply them in a cyber literacy.
The questions I have after this article:
- How will students create their own discussion norms in a classroom?
- How will a teacher demonstrate appropriate tone and language of blogging?
- How do all students feel apart of the community and therefore feel motivated to be involved?
- How are we going to scaffold blogging for those who do not know the blogging structure nor explored this type of communication outside of the classroom?