A Different Type of Writing Assignment

In thinking about student engagement and authentic learning, I wondered:

  • Would our students’ writing, thinking and engagement improve if we asked them to respond online once a week to an article or blog post related to content that is being studied in school or to a topic in which they are interested? ¬†(I’m not suggesting we ask them to engage in the mudslinging that often takes place on local news websites, but rather seek out and participate in conversations with experts that take place regularly in the online media).
  • Would the authenticity of responding, for example, to a NY Times article lead to a more natural and inspirational sense of purpose with regard to writing?
  • Would students develop a deeper understanding by being part of the conversation with content experts and the general public?

I suspect the answer to all three would be yes.  Regular interactions with others, including content experts, is now only a click away for students.

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