I've been enjoying Wendy Richardson's newish blog about the environment, with its colorful page design and informative posts that give a fresh look at everyday practices that influence the environment. Yesterday, for example, she talked about the million baggies a day Americans throw into landfills -- a handy statistic that you can wrap your mind around.
I could see turning enough of these posts into a good little book about everyday environmentalism around the house and office. But I always like to ask whether a new kind of site could serve as a model for student work, and like some others, I think this one could, too. Suppose a teacher finds a project with some local urgency and spends a few semesters teaching students how to work up short to medium length posts that illuminate some nicely-focused aspect of the project. These would accumulate in a weblog that might grow over a year or two, and in time would be ready for reshaping into an organized site, a small book, or other work that reorganizes the posts out of their publication date order and into a topical order. Or maybe the school itself would have a substantial web publication that could include the best portions of the project. As I said a few weeks ago, let's stop creating assignments that are meant to be thrown away and replace them, as often as possible, with research and publication projects that are meant to serve others.