Multiliteracies in ELA Classrooms

Entries Tagged as 'Social Media'

Social Media, Blogs, and Folksonomies: Links & Resources

July 10th, 2013 · 1 Comment

Here are just a few links/resources that we’ve found in thinking about/researching the idea of social media, blogs, and folksonomy in the classroom. Feel free to add any others you might have!!

Conversations about education BY educators on the tumblr 

Using Wordle

Uses for folksonomies

Ideas for using Tumblr in the classroom

Using blogs in the classroom

Web 2.0 tools for educators

Benefits of using social media in the classroom

– Sarra


Tags: Presentation · Social Media · Uncategorized

Is it meta to participate in a blog conversation about an article titled Blogging as Participation?

July 9th, 2013 · 1 Comment

I must confess it felt a bit surreal to read a journal article detailing the life and times of a blog about Project Runway, especially since I had printed the article out and was reading it in traditional paper form. That said, I’ve set aside my paper, and it seems rather apt that I’m now about to post my thoughts about “Blogging as Participation” on our class blog.

Thought 1: disproportionately burning bright

 Lankshear and Knobel state that “a tiny proportion of the vast number of blogs that exist account for a large proportion of the inbound links.”(4). There is no denying this, and there is no denying that the more popular something on the internet gets, the faster its popularity rises. When it comes to memes, we tend to burn them out rather than let them fade away. In other words, this disproportionate distribution of views towards a small amount of very popular websites is an obvious reality, but it is also a reality that what’s popular on the Internet changes very quickly. Honestly, does anybody even use MySpace anymore? And is Friendster still a thing?

Thought 2: from yolo to actually just living

 Shifting gears a bit, I’d like to touch on the nature of participation in the digital realm and how it translates into real life applications. After reading a couple of other blog posts on this article by classmates, I found myself thinking about the examples of blogging participation given in the article. When I ran a literature circles unit during my practicum, I included a blogging component in which students posted reviews of their books online and commented on each other’s posts. Part of my focus in these online literature circles was to make a more explicit connection between the social and academic skills students were using in their face-to-face discussions versus their digital ones. I wanted students to participate in their discussions online in the same manner in which they would participate in them in a physical classroom setting. While it turned out that respectful communication wasn’t an issue online, meaningful communication was. Students needed extra prodding to move beyond “yolo” and “nice post” to actually engaging in one another’s thoughts and having a back-and-forth digital discourse.

Thought 3: Particip-Action

 Oftentimes, social media movements for change are criticized for being lazy and ineffective (i.e. “like this picture to end poverty!!!”). However, social and digital media are actually very valuable and effective tools for enacting social change – the most commonly cited recent example being the use of social media during the Arab Spring in spreading news about current events and plans for protests. There’s also the example of Kony 2012… but we won’t wade into that mire this far into a blog post. A more successful example would be the growing popularity of microfinancing non-profits like Kiva, which uses digital and social media to crowd-source a very large number of very small loans in order to help people maintain or start a business. At the core of these organizations is the idea that a little bit of help by a lot of different people can, ultimately, help to make lasting and sustainable social and economic change. And social media can be a powerful tool for doing just that.

Works Cited

Lankshear, C. & Knobel, M.  ”Blogging as Participation: The Active Sociality of a New   Literacy.” American Educational Research Association. San Francisco, CA. April 11, 2006. Web.


– Allison

Blog post #3

Tags: Social Media

A response to: “Blogging as Participation: The Active Sociality of New Literacy”

July 9th, 2013 · No Comments

My interest in this article was sparked by the discussion of the participatory role of the audience in Web 2.0. However, to call this group an ‘audience’ does not consider the active role this group has in shaping how information is produced and consumed. The previous consumer of information now plays a role in producing and reacting to information in an impactful way. In turn, this affects the way knowledges are produced and consumed. For example, commenting on a blog post changes the original content and creates another knowledge about it.

Web 2.0 can be a powerful tool as it has been used to “mobilise” (Lankshear and Knobel 4) people. Online communities are created with dialogue occurring between participants with similar interests and creating knowledges. It has proven to be a highly effective tool in information production and dissemination, as was seen in Egypt through the use of Twitter, which was used to “mobilise” the people and helped overthrow former Egyptian ruler, Hosni Mubarak (Nolan).

Lankshear and Knobel point to the creation of a “hybrid journalism that merges traditional newsroom practices with the decentralized intelligence of individuals and groups spread across the Internet” (9). The field of journalism has changed as journalists no longer ‘search’ for the news; journalists must now sift through information that is available and choose the content they want to use (Nolan).

The article looks closely at blogging which is a form that has lead to another: vlogging. Vlogging is a video blog that is like a type of web television and has created another branch of blogging. It contains an element of reality television that has made it a popular category on Youtube-

Youtube is a popular platform that maximizes user participation through its create, view, comment (text or video response), rate and subscribe options. Users can choose how they want to participate and engage with the platform. Each participatory method generates information about the user and the content they are engaging with. Content creators can also interact with their viewers and respond to viewer’s comments. This allows content creators to directly interact with their viewers. The relationship that is formed is reflected in vlogs as content creators sometimes speak directly to their audiences. The accessibility of who they are watching creates a profound connection between viewer and content creator.

The examples used in the article are seven years old and much has changed since then. However this article does highlight the fundamental component of Web 2.0– user participation. It is important to engage our students through platforms they already engage with and use them as tools to further students’ learning.

Works Cited

Lankshear, C. & Knobel, M.  Blogging as Participation: The Active Sociality of a New Literacy. American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, US, April 11, 2006. Web.

“How to Separate Fact and Fiction Online”. Youtube. TEDtalk. 11 December 2012. Web. July 8. 2013


By: Fatima Ali

Blog post #1

Tags: Social Media

Responding to Lankshear and Knobel’s “Blogging as Participation: The Active Sociality of New Literacy”

July 9th, 2013 · 2 Comments

At first, I had thought of exactly what Sarra mentions in the previous post responding to this article – how much has the blogosphere evolved since this article was published in 2006? Likely, dramatically. With that said, the article has some interesting points to make and is definitely still relevant in a discussion of the participatory nature of Web 2.0. While reading Lankshear and Knobel’s discussion of the participatory nature of Web 2.0 (and blogging in particular), I started to think about just want does it mean to be a “participant” and how has the nature of participating changed since the advent of Web 2.0?

My initial gut reaction, as a child of the early 90s is to hear the word participating and think immediately of ParticipACTION, the Canadian non-profit organization that promoted health and wellness through commercials that used to pack early 90s TV: The nature of participating and taking action (ParticipACTION) has taken new form in the advent of participatory web culture – this article uses the term participating to mean creating blogs, reposting other blog posts to be followed by your circle, and commenting. I was struck by the juxtaposition of my immediate association with the word “participating” and its new meaning within the technological landscape that serves as the backdrop of the generation we will have in our classrooms. The change in the cultural weight behind the term participating is interesting to consider (and brings to mind Ernesto’s presentation). Should participating necessitate taking action beyond writing a comment or reposting a post? How does the nature of what it means to participate potentially cultivate apathy? [I realize the potential irony in using a Web 2.0 landscape (Wikipedia) to provide more information on ParticipACTION.]

Lankshear and Knobel describe the advance of participatory use of the web where space is “open, continuous and fluid” as opposed to “enclosed and purpose specific”, and where texts are constantly in flux, being changed and altered by the text’s consumers (1). The push towards an open and participatory web-culture seems democratic – where there isn’t one powerful or a few powerful sources of knowledge, but the people are the producers of their knowledge and the people choose which knowledge will be featured in their web landscapes. While blogging should allow for a conversation, according to the authors, the vast majority of blogs are read by very few people.  Some popular blogs (they give the example of Michelle Malkin’s) are not really a conversation with the author, but instead the author chooses to disable blog comments instead fostering the reposting of blog material on different sounding boards (other people’s blogs) taking the author out of the conversation entirely. Is this still the democratic use of new media? Is Web 2.o necessarily democratic?

By: Ilana Finkleman

Blog post #2



Works Cited

Lankshear, C. & Knobel, M.  “Blogging as Participation: The Active Sociality of a New   Literacy.” American Educational Research Association. San Francisco, CA. April 11, 2006. Web.

Tags: Social Media

Blogging As Participation

July 9th, 2013 · 1 Comment

Blog Post 1 – Sarra McMillan

This article talks about Web 2.0 – more specifically, blogging – and the “deeply participatory” (2) nature of blogs. As 21st century educators, participation must be a key element within learning in our classrooms and, therefore, blogging can be a great tool. Blogging participation comes from the conversation that occurs through the post and comments, between the original author and readers.

Lankshear and Knobel introduce Blood’s definition of a blog; a blog is “a website that is up-dated frequently, with new material posted at the top of the page” (2). They also state that the majority of blogs “are now hybrids of journal entries and annotations or indices of links, or some mix of reflections, musings, anecdotes and the like with embedded hyperlinks to related websites” (3).

It is interesting to consider that this paper was presented to the American Educational Research Association in 2006; in the past 7 years, the process of blogging has evolved. For example, Tumblr was founded in 2007 and now hosts 121.3 million blogs (Tumblr). There are numerous free services available to host various types of blogs: Twitter, Weebly, WordPress, Blogger, Posterous, Pinterest, Instagram… And, often, our students are more informed and involved in the process of blogging participation.

Folksonomies, according to Isabella Peters, “consist of of freely selectable keywords, or tags, which can be liberally attached to any information resource – hence the term ‘tag’, which might be defined as either an identifying label, or the mark hung around a dog’s throat signifying ownership” (153). It is the tagging of information, as in “hashtagging” photos posted on Instagram or organizing boards by topic on Pinterest.

I found an interesting article written by Élise Lavoué titled “Social Tagging to Enhance Collaborative Learning.” Near the beginning of the paper, the framework presented by Kimmerle, Cress, and Held, which introduces 4 processes for using tagging in education is explained:

“Externalization: learners externalize their knowledge on a resource by assigning tags to it. To create tags, users have to articulate their own cognitive concepts and to translate them into keywords. This cognitive effort can arouse an individual learning.

Internalization: by navigating in the information space using the tag clouds, users collect information relating to a tag. On the one hand, they learn tags used by others and as a consequence how the others classify their resources. On the other hand, tags show new interconnections between concepts for users. If can lead to the incorporation of the concepts of the community and to the modification of the individual cognitive structures of users.

Assimilation: by discovering and using new tags (and the associated concepts) that are in agreement with their knowledge, users can widen their knowledge but do not develop new different concepts.

Accommodation: users can question and modify their cognitive concepts by learning that their associations on a specific domain are rather different, inadequate, or even false. It can occur when users realize that the other users use tags that are very different from theirs, what implies that specific resources or tags are bound to very different concepts.” (2)

In the end, I wonder if English Language Arts teachers are responsible for teaching students to tag appropriately, to organize information accurately? Who decides what is appropriate and accurate?  I will use Web 2.0 and social media within my classroom, as a way to encourage participation and discussion.

Seminar – Sarra, Lisa, and Fatima

Summary – Check Lisa’s blog post here!

Social Media TED talk available here!


In small groups, read the poem What Do I Remember of the Evacuation and think of at least 5 tags (ex. Canadian( to help organize this poem among other literature. Discuss tags afterwards.


  1. How have you or how would you use social media, blogs and/or tagging/folksonomies within your classroom? What are some of the implications of using these platforms/tools?
  2. What are some of the dangers of using social media in the classroom? How can we, as educators, address these concerns?
  3. Some argue that students lose valuable face-to-face interaction when we utilize tools like blogs to have conversations in the classroom. Do you agree or disagree?

Link to Prezi


Lankshear, C. & Knobel, M.  Blogging as Participation: The Active Sociality of a New Literacy. American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, US, April 11, 2006. Web.

Élise Lavoué. Social Tagging To Enhance Collaborative Learning. Université de Lyon,  CNRS. Web.

Peters, Isabella, and Paul Becker. Folksonomies: Indexing and Retrieval in Web 2.0. Berlin: De Gruyter/Saur, 2009. Print.

“Tumblr.” About. N.p., n.d. Web. (

Tags: Social Media

Blogging as Participation: The Active Sociality of a New Literacy

July 9th, 2013 · 1 Comment

Lankslear and Knobel discuss the influence and increasing popularity of blogging as a legitimate literacy.  They begin their argument with a differentiation of mindset between a tolerance for technology, with a focus on the individuals’ intelligence and ‘bookspace’ versus the collective intelligence created by the digital media space, in a world influenced by advances in technology. (Lankslear & Knobel, 2006).  This is an oversimplification, but the points remain valid: the juxtaposition of reluctance of embracing technological advances versus the embracing of the potential for technology.

The authors discuss the evolution of blogging from the early 1990s, where blogging was a forum for technologically astute, computer literate people.  However, by the late 1990s, blogging became readily accessible to the majority of the population and was more about being socially connected than being isolated.  Naturally part of the appeal is having instant recognition for your ideas or posts by friends or strangers, but also having a forum to voice your opinions about any issue or event.

One interesting phenomenon that results from blogging is that the more popular or controversial a post becomes, the greater the likelihood is that the originator of the post becomes more of a facilitator of their argument than an active participant. While this may create a deeper engagement with the content of the blog than with traditional published works, it also provides immediate feedback the ppossibility for revisions and corrections. However, it may remove the originator of the blog as a participant.

Obviously, this article was published 7 years ago and was starting to recognize the potential for influence  and legitimacy as a critical or analytical source, whereas today many people are dependent on blogs and social media to help them formulate their opinions on everything from where to eat, how to accomplish something, which teachers to avoid etc.

As a classroom tool, I believe that blogs are an excellent method for engaging a wide variety of responses from students.  On my practicum we used a variety of classroom blogs to keep students informed of classroom assignments, fieldtrips and to have a forum for current events.  Students were encouraged to participate on a weekly basis and to contribute ideas for journal writing prompts and classroom debate topics.  This was a successful way of monitoring class levels of engagement for topics and also it gave students who were reluctant to participate orally in class an opportunity to be heard.

Finally, the article concluded with a discussion of fan blogging and the impact it has on reality TV, but also over political campaigns, corporate images and the immediacy of disseminating all manner of information.

Work Cited: Lankshear, C. & Knobel, M. (2006) Blogging as Participation: The Active Sociality of a New Literacy. American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, US, April 11, 2006.

Blog post #1


Tags: Presentation · Seminar Prompts · Social Media