Imagery in Blogging (and Cell phones in the Classroom)

As my students work more and more in the non-fiction realm due to their new found niches, they have a tendency to lose sight of just how descriptive and beautiful their writing can be. As a blogger, I have found that some of my greatest pleasure is derived from my ability to string together an image or a particularly well described passage.

A blog is informative, but stylistically so. The ability to craft a unique image within the information is a virtue that we should all be striving for. So, in an attempt to put these words into practice, here is what I am talking about.

Topic: Cell phones and iPods in the classroom

With his two fingers pushed together, carefully spreading them outward across the screen, one of my students was doing something that I had never thought of a couple of years ago. He was blogging from his iPod. Immediately, we gathered around the gadget, pondering its significance. It was distracting and powerful: the ability to blog about anything at any time. Just think if twitter wasn’t blocked at school.

I still can’t quite wrap my head around cell phones being used for things other than voice. I have been saying for quite a while that we need more laptops in the classroom, as many as there are laps. But can’t we get done most of what we need with our plans from verizon and AT&T? Watching the mini-safari browser spin into action leads me to believe that we aren’t far off from this reality.

I want my students to be thinking about how they can utilize their cell phones in my classroom not how they can sneak a look at what time it is on the display when I am not looking. Their cell phones are bejeweled with authenticity. In many cases, their cell phones are so representative of their lives that given the choice of losing a cell phone or a limb would cause them to pause to think.

Where is the research that says cell phones are great for the classroom. Well, mostly it doesn’t exist yet, at least not that I know of. If anyone has seen any great studies or has done some great work with non-laptop ITC, please share. All I have right now is anecdotal evidence from my classroom and the presentation from K12 Online 2007. Surely there is more to it than that.

I have italicized (for my students) the moments where I intentionally added imagery or description in order to make a potentially boring subject interesting (at least to me). My hope is that blogging moves closer to this style and further away from the dense writing of academic papers. Let me know what you think about either idea.

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