Ted McCain (Jukes, Kelly & McCain 2009) reminds us in his book, Teaching the Digital Generation, that our world advances technologically, and otherwise, faster than we can imagine or understand:
“Conventional wisdom is that is takes great strength to hold on to something. In my view, it takes the greatest strength to let go of something you have done the same way for a long time.” (p. 7)
We forever stand on a precipice – we can inch back, teach the traditional way, and feel safe, warm and snuggly in our classic canon of literature with written assignments and worksheets that fit our required curriculum. Or, we can leap forth into the unknown, embracing all that technology has to offer us – even if we don’t understand most (or all) of it, even if the students seem to fly past us in their faster cars with better smartphones using keener predictive texting skills – and find a new home. Digital literacy, plain and simple, is the way forward. It will not revert, remain static, nor go away. We must jump from the edge of what we know – for our students are already waiting in the wide open spaces for us to move ahead, and not only walk with them, but also to lead them into developing stronger 21st century skills that actually prepare them for jobs, work, and higher education fields that do not yet exist. Reading online about real people and genuine issues in a variety of areas might be just the interface students need to shift their digital engagement from passive bystander to active contributor in the world around them.
Here are 5 1/2 blogs we hope will engage young adults as they enhance and expand their digital literacy skills and improve the quality of their lives.
1. Seth Godin’s Blog – Godin is an entrepreneur that is attempting to change the way we think about writing by changing the way we think about, relate to, and connect with others. (His website is cool, too!)
2. Start Something that Matters – Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS shoes, keeps a blog about community action on local, regional, and global levels, encouraging people that one person can make a difference, even with just a simple pair of shoes.
3. Postcards from Elysian Fields – This blog by T.R. Sullivan for the MLB highlights the trials and triumphs of the Texas Rangers baseball team, blending great writing and imagery with current sports news. Sullivan keeps sports in a hallowed place in our hearts with each entry.
4. The Beauty Brains – 4 scientists called Right Brain, Left Brain, Sarah Bellum, and The Other Lobes, write this knowledgeable blog on the misrepresentations in popular culture on cosmetic products for both genders. Its clever style and interactive format provides excellent chemistry connections to the science of beauty.
5. Holes in My Brain – Audrey, a recent high school graduate, writes this insightful and edgy blog about young adult literature “goodreads” and her views on the life of a [now waning] teenager. This is a well-crafted and stylish blog that would inspire students to create their own.
5 ½. 100 Blogs for Those Who Want to Change the World – A comprehensive list of world-changer blogs in every major interest area of change, advocacy, global citizenship and aid.
As Zach Braff’s character exclaims in the film Garden State, “Good luck exploring the infinite abyss!”
Don’t worry. We’re out there, too. Let us know what you find on your journey.