About your personal learning journal

Add your name to this wiki page that indexes our personal learning journals and make your name a link to a new page (by putting double brackets around your name [[like this]]). Create your personal learning journal wiki page and use it for your reflections on the texts, conversations, and your learning. Use wiki formatting to organize your page (hint: click the “edit” link on any existing wiki page to see the editing syntax for indexed headings, subheads, etc.) The comment threads on these wiki pages are where your co-learning and co-teaching teams will offer freedback.

You are expected to keep up with your journal through regularly weekly workcramming all your writing into an all-nighter at the end of the quarter defeats the purpose of this assignment.  (I’ve added the italics and the underlining after observing that this instruction doesn’t always seem to sink in with every student.) Reflection on how you use and think about communication media is most effective if it takes place regularly, over a period of time. Pay attention to the texts and discussions, observe yourself as you use the media introduced in this class. Articulate your reflections online. While understanding concepts and retaining facts is important, the journal and other activities in this class are aiming for an additional goal: mindfulness.

The word reflection can imply that you are looking at your face in a mirror. Think about the media we are using and the issues we are studying in the context of your own life. Most people today spend a significant portion of their working and personal lives using social media such as Facebook, blogs, Twitter. What do the texts and discussions mean to you? To your family, community, society? Your personal learning journal is not just where you demonstrate that you’ve done the readings and paid attention to online and classroom discussions, but that you’ve also thought about them.

You are not required to use the following format, but for those who desire  more explicitly structured instructions than “reflect on the meaning of the texts in your life,” you can

  • List all unfamiliar and important words and terms; look up and write out definitions (and add to or correct the lexicon).
  • Write your version of the author’s thesis or point of view — in no more than one or a few sentences.
  • List three or four important subtopics. Do some mindmapping on paper or your laptop.
  • Pose one or more questions that seem to you to matter about each reading.
  • Note anything you find surprising, or which stimulates you to rethink your own assumptions.
  • Does any of the above connect with your thoughts, your relationships, your community, democracy, the world? Do these terms, perspectives, subtopics, questions provide any insight into everyday life online?

At the end of the quarter, students contracting for an A will create a long blog post, wiki page, text document — or any other medium — to create a narrative about what they’ve’ve learned, using blog posts and comments, forum posts, social bookmarks, the lexicon, and group project documentation as the raw material. At the end of the quarter, A-contract students will put these components into a coherent narrative or other conceptual framework for viewing their learning.

The purpose of your learning journal is to help you become more consciously aware of your learning. This post by another teacher on “Why I ask my students to blog” is useful.

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