This week, my students read about personal writing and blogging. In class, we talked about how blogging is different from academic writing and different from free-writing, texting, emailing, and journaling. I described it as a genre of writing where their personal voice comes through, but in a refined and edited way. I suggested that they dispense with conventions if they chose (to use “u” instead of “you” or to let go of grammar concerns.) I told them that I wanted to hear their voices in my head when I read their words, but that I still wanted it to be a polished piece of writing. I suspect this will be one of the most difficult pieces they have written this term. It’s hard, they tell me, to write something worthy of being turned in, yet not academic. It’s hard not to strive to use “big words” and formal diction when you know your professor is going to read it. Yet, this is their task. They are working on it now and I told them I would blog right along with them, which is what I am doing.

I started off the class talking about this book I am reading: Alone Together by Sherry Turkel. The first half was about Furbies and Tamagotchis. Interesting, but not fascinating. The second half, however, was about mobile devices and teenagers. Multi-tasking. Texting. Parents. Children.

I love having access to this generation. I love being able to learn things about the way an 18-year-old mind works. I love that I can see my own child’s future in the faces of these kids who come into my classroom every week. And if I frame the questions right and set the tone in the classroom just right, they get really honest. It’s like a little gift they give me. I kind of wish all parents had this little gift of knowing.

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