Encourage Writing with a Domain, Blog & Portfolio

Every learner (i.e., everyone) should have a domain–a place to share what they are learning and a collection of personal bests. Why? There are probably a dozen reasons. More writing for one—and writing for public audiences which promotes authenticity, clarity, and humility. A domain can build  agency and encourage learning and reflection beyond the formal curriculum. It can boost motivation, expression, and creativity. Students could pick up a few coding skills. An intentionally curated portfolio could boost employability.
With cheaper web hosting and great–often free–tools, a growing number of schools and universities are encouraging learners to create a domain and a digital portfolio. The University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia provides its faculty and 5,000 students with a domain to, “Explore the creation and development of their digital identities.” The Domain of One’s Own initiative facilitates WordPress installation, provides technical support, and hosts the site until graduation–and then the domain and content remains the student’s. Students write about anthropology, the Internet, 3d printing and GIS mapping.
In her exhaustive and otherwise dark review of 2014, Audrey Watters called Domain of One’s Own one of the most important initiatives in EdTech and notes that it has spread to multiple campuses this year – Davidson College, Emory University, the University of Oklahoma, and CSU Channel Islands are all now piloting “Domain”-like initiatives.
We’d love to see secondary schools join the wave and, in addition to a take-home device, provide a portable domain for every student. In addition to a domain, encouraging writing and blogging across the curriculum and curating a digital portfolio can productive strategies to promote more and better writing. Following are 20 recent and relevant posts:
On more and better writing:

On blogging to promote writing:

On portfolios:

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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1 Comment

Justin Talmadge

This feels very retro, as blogging has been around for a long time now, but it's suprising how few educational institutions have promoted it as a reflective learning practice. A great new service which could make it even easier to implement is https://withknown.com/.

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