Audience is key to authenticity

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My experiences as a learner utilizing an open online space are limited to EC&I 833 and 834. Within these classes, I have the opportunity to share my thinking and my insights for an audience beyond my instructors.  Blogging, commenting and creating/receiving pingbacks create a community and a purpose for my writing.  In addition, twitter (this little friend who is growing on me) allows me to connect and share ideas.

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Now when I think about who my audience is for this blogging and tweeting, I would state – the members of the EC&I 834 class; however just recently, I have had several people (outside of this class) randomly come up to me and tell me they are enjoying the tweets that I share or some of the writing in my blogs.  My immediate reaction: Wait!? What?!  Oh yes.  That’s right.  I am sharing this information on this little dealio called the world wide web.  My audience extends beyond a mere “classroom”.  How does this change my perception/intention?  Well… this audience creates a deeper sense of thought, more intentional writing and a different “voice” in my writing and communication.  Ultimately, it creates more authenticity for my work.

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Nicole mentioned the importance of audience related to authenticity.   I know this to be true for me and I can see this with my students as well.  When they know their work will be seen beyond the walls of our classroom, they are more invested and care more about what they say and produce.  I’ve always told my students that knowing their audience is a key to good writing.  But what if their peers and I are the only audience?  If I know quality and depth increase if an audience is proposed, why have I not provided more opportunity for this open online learning/communication in my classroom?

In the past, I used Kidblog within my middle years classroom, specifically related to Genius Hour.  Within this setting, similar to what Nicole described, students read and commented on each other’s blogs and parents had opportunity to read (but rarely to never did). Students weren’t invested.  Not to mention, I moderated all their writing/comments and it took forever.  Does it matter if they have spelling mistakes?  Should  I be working with them to edit everything?  Megan and Benita talked about the importance of scaffolding the process of open online communication – I don’t think I did this well despite the fact that I know the importance of modelling.  The audience I provided extended beyond me, but it wasn’t authentic.  If I could create a larger community and teach my students how to work together to edit and publish, then I believe they would be more invested and engaged as they saw their audience increase.

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I teach a tricky age as my students are grades 7 and 8 and range from ages 12-14 throughout the year.  Many popular social media tools (with the exception of twitter – which my students dislike) require a minimum age of 13.  I know that students would be even more invested and engaged if they could use a tool that was familiar to them (and let’s be honest, they are already using them despite age regulations).  While I do think you could do some great open communication with these tools, they are less easily monitored and could turn into a whole other can of worms for a classroom environment.  So until someone lets me in on the magical secret to using Snapchat in my classroom, I will stick with something more structured.

I think I would like to reintroduce blogging in my classroom.  However, for middle years, I think they need a more open forum and variety in what they are writing about – how to do this is the tricky part.  They also need a wider audience.  A wider audience allows for more accountability and greater preparation/investment (for most – let’s be realistic). I think it will also provide a platform to discuss digital presence and their digital footprint. I know I see a shift in engagement and investment when an audience is introduced because I believe the task becomes more authentic.

Wouldn’t you prepare and invest differently for an ever evolving audience of 100 versus a repetitive audience of 1?  Let me know your thoughts…


13 thoughts on “Audience is key to authenticity

  1. Thanks for your thoughts Natalie. I also teach the 12-15 age range and understand your dilemma on using some of the communication tools. I find it interesting that as teachers we are hesitant in using some open sourced learning because of the issues that can arise. Teachers are “urged” to live one way publicly and another privately. What I mean by that is that teachers can only “share” (Facebook, snapchat, instagram etc) the teacher part of them and keep everything else hidden. In the classroom education is changing and the need for an open format is approaching to meet the needs of the students. How do we teach authentically when we do live (online) that way? Do we teach this to kids?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great point, Benita. I think that’s a good conversation to have with kids. I agree that the classroom should be changing and shifting with needs (and interests) of the students. I also think the conversations around how we do this blend well into digital citizenship and our digital presence. Thanks for your comment!


  2. I totally agree with your second last paragraph. The larger audience does help with accountability and real-world experience with posting online. What are you thinking of using for student blogs?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well … Alec mentioned Sue Waters would give free edublogs for a year. Others still like Kidblog so maybe I should look at that one again … I’ve just been using a google doc for small group blogging but the audience doesn’t extend beyond the 5 people using the doc so I think I need a bigger platform. Any recommendations?


    2. Bel post, profondo e sincero. Dovremmo fermarci a riflettere sulla vita che scorre con la sua bellezza, di cui a volte facciamo spreco. Anche a me la macchina focifragota regala emozioni simili.


  3. Audience is key!! i feel like people perform, create differently, act differently etc. based on their audience. I know from experience that many students put in a better effort when they know there will be a bigger audience (ex. their video gets posted to youtube rather than simply shown to their classmates). Great post, loved your discussion points!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very true Natalie! I am working on the safety and authenticity of blogging too. I know I need to invest more time on writing for a bigger audience and put some of the editing and revising on the students themselves. It is time consuming to check over and keep up with all blog posts. Great blog post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. larvo’ non è che il template che avevi era uno di quelli con apposita backdoor che hanno messo in giro dei simpatici ragazzzetti dell’est europa e che oltre a fare il sito fighissimo e sbtucliclicanre tra una cosa e l’altra si impossessavano della tua passauord di amministratore e ti sono entrati in casa senza neanche bussare?hai cambiato la passauord tessoro?


  6. What great goals! I should probably start conignpuo, too, as I need to start saving $ any place possible! Thanks for being apart of my New Year's Goals post today, friend (:


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