Some people find snow storms scary. It's a white out, can't see anything.
Like a blank page.
Like starting over.
Jones notes that routinely we warn students against the indiscretions that social media can make a permanent record of: don't post photos of you in the maid costume chugging everclear, don't break up in status updates, don't announce where you are. Come to think of it, just don't.
Should we who teach the young suggest right there in front of the whole class what is already pretty flipping obvious: that social media is fun? Can open up entirely new ways of finding and engaging like minds? Is a great way to find tasty vittles in the wee hours of the AM? Can make you smarter?
In a cogent comment on John's article, Daria Ng observes:
Educators need to complicate the dichotomy of formal and informal writing, and instead, build up students' writer identities. If students are able to identify themselves as legitimate writers/authors from the beginning and carry these identities with them across multiple styles and modes, then perhaps the idea of expressing themselves through writing will not be something they feel necessary to hide. In order to do this, students will have to engage deeply in the writing process as well as reflective learning, so that they are constantly evaluating themselves as writers and can see all the different mediums through which their voices emerge.
I'm especially struck by the portability of identity Ng extols: the idea that learning can travel into the classroom, grow and become something else, and travel out again into the world. Like several times a day. And at the semester's end, too.
Isn't this such a better idea than locking that growth, those new and evolving writer identities, behind CMS like Blackboard where it will moulder away, untouched by another mind that could actually use the ideas contained therein?
Informal learning = lifeblood to writers.