For those of you here to give me four lashings for my grammar I want you to recall the eytymology of "fore" as in "before in time" and let's remember when the social media giants didn't suck up all our students agentive writing and sell their data to the highest bidder.
A time when the web collected hundred and thousands of little websites rather than 7-10 big giants.
As educators we must encourage the building of this kind of web as a matter of #SocialJustice... for success requires overcoming injustices of access and economics while building infastructure for local and cultural knowledge to thrive.
Silos Empower Bad Actors to Attack Our Democracy
As English teachers we kind of shake our heads at the fake news outrage. Taught this stuff for years. Still we believe in order to understand how meaning spread online students need to enage in writing activities.
Encouraging this to occur on platforms not controlled by a few is good for society. To this end, along with the National Writing Project, we put in an application for a large federal grant to see if blogging improves argumentative writing.
More importantly giving students a website teaches them they own their data, they shape their identity, and they must help to build their community.
Building safe spaces
Online spaces have not been safe for our most at-risk youth. real name policies, doxxing, and harrassment plague social networks.We owe it to our children to reduce the risk of online.
Encouraging youth to publish from their own websites allows a much greater control of privacy and can allow communities of support to form.
Communities, especially writing communities, carry so much distrubuted knowledge. We should teach students to reflect on their growth and thus contribute back to networks of knowledge in places they can trust.
This why we sponsor events like femhack.tech.
Overcoming systemic racism
Walk into a fast food restaurant in the subburbs and they advertise free wifi and a mocha. Same chain in the city and you see "no loitering" signs. The issues around literacy are driven by our racist past. Access to reading on the web is no different.
Yes mantaining a website takes work and usually reflects privledge, and this is exactly why we must double down our efforts to teach reading on the web to everyone. Especially the populations who are vunerable to our historic inadaquecies.
Reflection Builds Communities. Communities Build Writers
I often wonder what if reflection and not argument found its way to the top of the pantheon of writing....gotta go my son wants to blog.