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July 20: Putting Youth Voices Front and Center [July 20, 2012, 4:52 p.m.]

Putting Youth Voices Front and Center Online is a blog posted yesterday at the DML Spotlight highlighting the work of Youth Voices, a school-based social network that was started by a group of National Writing Project teachers in 2003. In this post, high school English teacher and New York City Writing Project tech liaison Paul Allison is quoted as saying,

The heart of the site is asking students to find things that they are passionate and deeply interested in and to post about those things over time.

At Youth Voices various guides and missions support youth in surfacing their passions and interests and following/creating paths to share with others.  Some of the ways that students are supported in getting started include freewriting as well as raising questions about themselves and the world around them.

Paul shares in this Digital Is blog post, Re: Connected Learning, some of the ways that this supports connections in learning through a screencast/meditation on his own practice as well as examples of paths taken by his students.

The things that prompt me to highlight this at this point in the study group is the fact that we have:

  • shared many resources that start to point to ways that students can share paths they have taken (portfolios, curations) or create paths of textured literacies exploring a range of modes and mediums for communication ...
  • asked questions like "how do we move from school authentic to student authentic" or make "open loops" in projects that allow for students to determine what's next? ...
  • talked about provide tools that "unlock" students ability to communicate as well as our own ...
  • and challenged each other to reflection on many the many facets of our own learning and teaching, like, what is writing? who owns it? what are we modeling? how are we learning and connecting that learning?

We've also asked each other questions and shared our own inquiries: how can we support english language learners? what is the role of blogging in literacy? in what ways can I better support wrting in the math (or science, or history) classroom? how do you move from writing to a focus on craft in writing? in what ways can we support equity in this work?

Moving into the weekend, what can we learn from the voices of youth bloggers and their teachers at Youth Voices? What questions are raised that you'd like to continue to discuss in our final study group week together?