Glogs of War And Beauty - English Class uses new technology to fulfill a novel discussion

  • GLOGS of War, And Beauty

    English Class uses new technology to fulfill a novel discussion


    Enthusiasm—along with a cheese tray—circled the computer lab on this special day as the 12th-grade English students celebrated the premier of their class project Glogs.**Glog?  (While BLOG is short for Web Log, for those of us who are unfamiliar with the lingo, GLOG is shortened from CyBorglog which by general definition is a first-person recording of an activity in which the person doing the recording is an active participant.)

    Using the popular Web 2.0 tool, Glogster, the seniors in Mrs. Jennifer Sohl’s English class were excited about viewing their finished, two-part collages or digital posters. Their assignment had been to make personal “life-connections” with the topical issues raised in the assigned novel The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.

    Prior to creating the Glogs, the students had class discussions in which they explored the ways O’Brien’s novel juxtaposes beauty and brutality to convey the conflicting experiences of war. In addition, as a way to extend their understanding, students watched video clips of first-hand accounts, which effectively impressed them with the oxymoronic and also ironic “beauty” of war.

    Their Glog assignments had two parts: In the first part, the students created collages that portrayed the Vietnam War according to the novel by Tim O’Brien. In the second, the students chose specific aspects from 21st Century America, such as the fashion world, dreams, growing up, the environment, the ocean, as well as from their personal lives, that juxtaposed both beauty and brutality.

    While their projects were recorded in Glogster, the students were required to produce a paper, for grading purposes, which offered reflections on the pieces they created. In their writing assignments, the students were asked to give their thoughts about the composition of images and words within their collages, to explain what they hoped to convey to the viewers within their design styles, images, words, and general theme choices. They also had to identify the themed messages behind their collages and include its title.

    One student, who especially related to the novel because his brother is now serving in Afghanistan, wrote: “I know what it is like to not want your brother to leave, and I would also give him anything or do anything to bring him home.  The pictures I chose showed the relationship between us, and how close we are, and he would do anything for me.”

    Another student quoted John F. Kennedy on his Glog, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

    Enjoyable as it was, it was not all play during the premier celebration. Mrs. Sohl asked her students to rate at least six of their peers’ Glogs. Demonstrating their new depth of understanding derived from this assignment, the students proficiently reviewed the Glogs and evaluated aspects, such as what held the greatest impact within the Glogs, and which was their favorite or least favorite part of the Glogs.

    In addition to receiving tremendous educational value from the assignment, the students also gave so much more to viewers with their extremely creative and thoughtful Glogs.

    Click on the video link below to view the students’ reactions in their own words during the Glog premier.


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