Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Introduction to WatsonCommon

I started this blog as an experiment, a way to figure out if a blog is an appropriate tool for my Sophomore English students to use to post an ongoing assignment called a Commonplace Book. The idea behind the assignment is that there is so much information and external stimuli in our world that confusion sets in if we don't have some way to log and file the information most relevant to us as individuals. Seems appropriate especially for the digital age, but this is not a new concept, it's been around since the eighteenth century. I was introduced to it by my department head Bruce Schauble whose parameters include:
1. Copy out passages from readings which interest you or strike you as being noteworthy
2. Record other pieces of incoming data fromthe world at large: bits of conversation, turns of phrase, song lyrics
3. Make note of questions that occur during the course of the day
4. Write down brief ideas or reflections as they occur
5. Include visual data: pictures, charts, ads, drawings

To pay such attention to what's around us creates a certain kind of attention to life that otherwise couldn't be cultivated. So that's what I'm going to try to do here. As a thematic guide, I'll try to use essential questions, which will become blog categories or tags. And I've decided that a good place to start, since an analog CP book is easy to grasp, but to go digital is something different, would be to explore what it means to blog. What are the ethics? What about copyrighted material? How can we benefit by being able to see others' commonplaces? Will sharing generate some new kind of awareness?

1 comment:

Bruce said...

I like the design... very crisp. Will look great when you post photos. I've been thinking about going digital with my CPB as well, so I'll be curious to know how this plays out...

- Bruce