Why write to the Internet?
On my home page there are many examples of the work I have done in my Cyber
English Class, I have worked on many topics starting with: Who I am... that told a little
about my self in order to attract other students who have the same interests and or an
adult that can comment on my work.
It worked. I learned a lot from a man in Florida named Donald Deman. Mr Deman
helped me out with my writing.
At first I was defensive, that was only because I thought he wanted to turn my work
and my thoughts into his work and his thoughts. That wasn't the case. He was really
concerned, interested in my seeing and understanding the importance of being able
to express myself through my writting. He explaind that people will judge me by my
writting without ever seeing me, or sitting down to talk to me. In college my professors
will most likely do the same. That scared me, especially since I always felt my
speaking skills were impressive and that my writting wasn't. This prompted me to
take every advise regarding my work that Donald gave me seriously. Then seeing the
logic in the advise putting them into practice (these tips helped me during my senior
Tati Diaz: http://mbhs.bergtraum.k12.ny.us/user/d6278/wired.htm
The webfolio is the center piece to Cyber English, a practical application in Constructivist
theory, as it helps promote scholarship. The webfolio is an electronic version of the portfolio.
The webfolio has many advantages over the portfolio. Certainly the most obvious is that the webfolio
can reach a larger audience. This simple act of making it public is the first tenet to scholarship.
The webfolio provides us instant access to the work as it is being developed by the scholar. Since
we have the scholars do all of their work on the Internet, we have access to it from time of
conception which means we can actually interact with the scholar through its development and not have
to wait for the scholar to hand in a paper draft or final copy. This public access allows forthe
second tenet of scholarship: peer review. The webfolio also contains all of the scholar's work, not
just those select few pieces. The webfolio begins the process of converting the student into a
student scholar who makes hir work public, is subject to peer and telementor review, and passes it on
for others to use.
Here are some samples of what these 9th graders are doing at ITHS 011704:
Why Publish on the Web?
There are many reasons to have the students publish on the web.
Let me begin with an example. In 2003, Natthakan Garunrangseewong started her webpage in my
ninth grade class at ITHS. She continued to use it to document all of her work in her other classes during her next
three years. When she graduated she had an excellent webfolio of her work over a four year period. Now she is at
Syracuse and she is still publishing. This is how education should be done. Bravo Natthakan.
By publishing on the web, we have access to their work from time of
inception. If the scholars are working on the server or transferring
their work to the server during each writing session, then we have access
to that work from any computer connected to the web. This gives us great
control over the development of the work and allows us many opportunities
to teach. Since each piece they write has an email link we use email to
communicate as we view their work on the web. We use email to comment on
their work and we can use the quote feature of the browser's email function
to include the scholar's work for particular comments on specific words,
lines, and paragraphs. During the day we can check into the scholars'
By publishing on the web, our scholars can review each others work more easily and
become engaged in peer review activities. By reviewing each other's work the scholars can
better understand writing as peers are struggling through the same process on the same
topic. Peer review helps the scholar become a better writer and a better critic. Peer
review engages the scholars in the work of the class, connects them with their classmates,
and improves their reading and writing skills. Peer review will be an important element in
establishing better assessment, more authentic assessment.
By publishing on the web, our scholars are exposing their work to outsiders. These
outsiders are in many cases telementors who provide guidance and criticism of their work.
The telementors could be retired teachers, retirees, folks in the military, volunteers from
government, business, or education. Other teachers can be telementors, student-teachers,
college students, parents, and other high school students can telementor. In fact our
scholars can be telementors to younger scholars on the web. Publishing engages the
scholars and provides them access to the world of academa. Their writing and reading
skills have to be honed as they are now exposed to the world.
By publishing on the web, our scholars have total control over their
work. They can decorate it in any manner they choose. In the true spirit
of publishing they not only work with text, they also work with
images, color, font, layout, and web design. Being engaged in the whole
package provides access to their skills and abilities heretofore untapped.
By publishing on the web, the writing process becomes complete. It
provides audience and publishing power to extract the very best of each
scholar. They are passing it on and joining the ranks of pure scholarship.
They have a real and large audience and this added importance and
relevancy makes the learning process more real and effective.
Finally by publishing on the Internet, we are allowing for the community to become
engaged in the educational process. In order for reform to be more effective, the entire
community must have access to the scholar's work and to be able to provide feedback. In
this way we shift the onus of responsibility and accountability from the few to the many.
This supports our belief that the educational malaise is not a teacher problem but is a
systems problem. And as such it requires that the entire community be involved so we can
reform the system in a more satisfactory way.
The Internet provides our scholars with a world of riches besides
information. It provides them with access to the brillance of the world,
the collected knowledge of mankind in its humanity. As the Internet
becomes more wide spread and gains more users, our scholars have the
capability of tapping into this genius. The Internet's interactive
quality allows my scholars to tap the genius in retirement villages,
offices, colleges, and homes around the globe. Telementors allows for
those who wish to volunteer their time and experience in the name of
education. They need go not further than their computer. Telementors can log
onto their computers and enter any wired classroom and begin to mentor any
number of students. What this does is to change the nature of education.
Telementoring allows us to realize and practice the theory: "It takes a
village to raise a child." In this case I'm using the global village.
begins the process of transforming the student into a scholar. As a scholar would make hir
work public, engage in peer review, and passing on the work, so, too, are my student
scholars. The webfolio brings the classroom alive, makes it relevant, and anounces to the
world the existence of these budding scholars. It includes them in our large collective of
humanity. We all perform better in front of an audience, when we know someone is watching.
The webfolio does this in my classroom and the results are astonishing.
When you get to the Case Studies, you will see what I mean by astonishing.
© Ted Nellen 2000