“People communicate back and forth with friends online instead of instant messaging or over the phone,” Ms. Teegerstrom says.
The content in an online journal changes somewhat from a paper journal, since the journal can be linked to something else or items posted into it, says Andrew Smales, owner of Diaryland (http://diaryland.com), a blog-hosting and online diary-hosting Web site that has 2 million members.
“Some people use (online journals) to have a discussion, to write a little bit and to see what other people think,” he says. “It’s a social thing, really.”
Journaling has increased in popularity, especially among men, thanks to the new medium available, Mr. Ableson says.
“Men are more open to doing it online than keeping a book,” he says.
Journaling, whether online or on paper, is a tool used by aspiring writers to develop ideas for their writing and to get something written to fill the blank page.
“We believe the very best ideas come from free association, free play and spilling our guts onto the page,” says Julie Wakeman-Linn, associate professor of English at Montgomery College in Rockville and editor of the “Potomac Review” literary journal.
Ms. Wakeman-Linn encourages her students to keep a journal to record their thoughts, ideas and reactions as a first cut of writing, she says.
“Journaling helps gather thoughts, organize what you want to say and try new ideas,” Ms. Wakeman-Linn says.
Don Gallehr, associate professor of English at George Mason University in Fairfax, has his students keep both a personal journal and a learning log, which is a form of structured journaling that includes notes on the material they are learning, along with their reflections.
“It’s not just rote learning,” says Mr. Gallehr, founder and director of GMU’s Northern Virginia Writing Project, a summer institute that trains teachers in teaching writing. He holds a doctorate in English. “When they write, they reflect. It’s not just an experience or fact that happens to them. They can make meaning out of it.”
Journaling online through discussion boards allows students to see there is more than one way to think about a piece of literary work, says Erinn Harris, English teacher at Robert E. Lee High School in Springfield. She attended the Northern Virginia Writing Project in July.
Students can post their questions and thoughts in the discussion board, and other students can respond, Miss Harris says.
“It helps them if they’re quiet in class or if they’re not confident in what they’re saying or thinking,” she says. “It’s a way to express themselves and to get their thoughts into words.”
Tim Yorke, an English teacher at Heritage High School in Leesburg, Va., uses journaling as a warmup exercise in his advanced composition classes.View Entire Story
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