Our guest blogger today is Nicolas Gutkowski, a 12 year old middle school student in Albemarle County, VA. Nicolas is a pretty amazing young man, who discovered his voice was powerful last year when he began blogging and built a wiki. Nicolas presented in the fall of 2010 at the K12online conference, a talk called “Learning On My Own” about his wiki. When I asked him if he wanted to guest blog here on why he continues to write and share on his wiki, he said yes, and then, when he sent me his work, said,
“Here’s what I wrote. It’s more of a “student empowerment” piece than “why I continue to write and share.”
Nicolas not only writes with a great voice, but the power of writing has enveloped him. He is a writer who can hold his own just about with any topic and who seeks out opportunities to share his thoughts with others. Nicolas understands writing, as do the teachers (such as myself) who have been through the National Writing Project. The NWP deserves to remain funded so that other teachers will be able to encourage and support the many students out there who could be the next Nicolas, also discovering their voices in the power of writing.
My wiki and blog are important to me for many reasons. Through them, I have not only improved my writing skills, but also have learned that students can have a lot of power. I have learned that there’s always more than one way to do something. Through my wiki, I have interacted with people everywhere. I have seen how people react when they see a student doing such amazing things. Every day something happens, and I can write about it.
That’s why I continue to write. To see people comment on what I write, to see what they like, their opinions, to hear their voice.
But I don’t just want to hear their voice, I want them to hear my voice.
I don’t want to go unnoticed, I want my opinion heard. Those are reasons why I continue to write. I may not write on my blog as much, but it’s still a way to connect with new people.
Connect. That’s what I do through my wiki and blog.
My wiki and blog aren’t meant for just children, students, or teachers. They’re meant for everyone. As I said before, they are meant to collaborate, interact, to share stories and experiences. I love it when I see how people react when they see my wiki or blog. I love it when they find out that a child wrote this.
I know that when they see my blog or wiki, they see students can have lots of power.
I used my own wiki to help out other student’s wikis, by hosting a contest. Three people got their links put up on my home page, the sidebar, and an entire page. They got more visits, so I offered other people to put their links up too, even if they didn’t win. They all got more visits. I did all this just so they could interact with people around the world, and see people’s comments and reactions to what they wrote.
Students have a voice that is not heard often. Most students now just do what they are told, and ask no questions. Every time a teacher tells a student to do it this way, not that way, they bring down the student’s creativity. Without creativity we can’t think of new ideas to help this planet. We can’t find cheaper ways to power our cars, homes, and more. So listen to the student.
You could learn a thing or two from them. Look at their ideas, and wonder how the student thought of that. Students have the power to decide for themselves.