Starting to Blog With Literacy Learners? Here are a Few Ideas
Adult literacy learners face a huge challenge of what to write, and so here are a few ideas to break the ice for newcomers to blogging: visioning, berry-picking, and path-making activities.
Visioning: Introducing Self to Peers and the Instructor
In this activity, student bloggers are asked to present some reasons for starting blogging, such as informing friends and family of life events, commenting on readings, jotting down questions, storing and sharing resources, etc. Students need to feel they can return to their post and revise/add/alter as needed multiple times, especially in light of the instructor’s, mentors’, or peers’ suggestions and feedback.
Berry-Picking: Getting Familiar with the Resources
At this initial stage, students are guided by the instructor to make use of keywords and phrases to search for blogs and web sites and online resources of interest to them. Berry-picking, the act of picking through, evaluating, and sharing resources from the dense bushes of online information sources, is supported with scaffolding so that the students have enough to complete the tasks successfully, but not be too restricted in their choices.
Student bloggers engaging in berry-picking activities blog about the steps they took to find information, and evaluate resources, search tools, and share this with fellow peers. In this case, the berry-picking is conducted in collaborative teams of three to five learners, with a supervising peer-mentor guest-mentor, or instructor.
Students need to be provided with a series of activities that include a kind of blog-quest, a short list of blogs to visit, and then they are asked to visit a few of these blogs, and examine the posts, search through the posts using the tags and categories, explore a couple links using the blog-rolls, and review some of the follow-up comments.
This activity is done in learner pairs, overseen by either a guest-mentor, a peer-mentor, or the instructor. I mention the role of guest-mentors and peer-mentors, as this encouragement of the mentoring role among more experienced learners is critical to build motivation and confidence.