For this week’s story critique I decided to look at a blog dedicated to technology in the classroom. I found Jenni Levy’s blog on a list of the best educational tech blogs. Jenni Levy refers to herself as a “reformed chalk and talk teacher” and her blog is dedicated to looking at ways to incorporate technology into educators approaches to classroom instruction. For this story critique I will be looking at:
- content understanding
- originality, voice, creativity
- sense of audience
I felt that if her blog was mentioned on this list, that she should really be an expert on the subject matter and her content understanding should be at the highest level. She also promotes her blog to a very specific audience (educators looking to incorporate more technology into their practices) so she should also have a good sense of audience. Finally, I know that I will lose interest quickly in a blog if there is no originality or creativity, so I thought I would critique these aspects as well.
Content Understanding: Reading through several posts on her blog, I am confident that Jenni Levy has a deep understanding of the content she is discussing (and, perhaps more importantly, she owns it when she doesn’t!). She has done research, and includes links to lead the reader to that research, and seems to attend countless conferences and workshops to further her understanding of technology uses in the classroom. It is also evident through her posts that she implements the technology and strategies that she writes about in her own classroom, and thus has a deeper understanding of the benefits and the shortcomings of the various pieces of technology she discusses. Overall, I would consider her to be an expert on the subjects she writes about, and would trust that she truly understands the content.
Originality, Voice, and Creativity: Jenni’s voice is evident throughout all of her posts. She includes personal experience in every topic she discusses and has several posts that are exclusively about her own classroom successes and shortcomings. Her posts, although sometimes very information and content heavy, are easy to follow as they usually read like a story would. The topics she discusses, although not necessarily new, still seem original to me in that her own views and experiences are different than those you might find on a less personal platform. As far as creativity goes, I do feel the blog leaves something to be desired. For someone that is a self proclaimed “passionate educator and technologist” her blog looks, frankly, a lot like mine (a self proclaimed technology newbie). The pages are black and white (literally) and while there are links throughout her posts, there are very few pictures or interactive features on her blog. When I clicked the link to her blog, I was expecting to be wowed by her obvious handle on technology, and while reading her posts lead me to believe that she does, in fact, have a far deeper understanding of most technical aspects than I do, it is not immediately obvious just looking at the page. Perhaps this is intentional, as the focus is solely on the writing, but I would have liked a little more to look at (which has me thinking that anyone reading this blog right now probably feels the same…).