Question, "Where does your homework go after the teacher returns it to you?"
Answer, "The Garbage."
This is just one of the many questions asked to students in order to demonstrate the need to get students more involved in the discussion, both in the classroom, and the larger global community. How does writing a paper and turning it into the teacher give students an audience? Simple. It doesn't.
By encouraging students to post online and share their thoughts and Ideas, it exposes them to a much wider audience. Depending on your individual school districts privacy regulations, you can control the audience. Posting on a blog or other content sharing mechanism forces students to try harder to impress their peers and the strangers who would be reading their work. They want positive attention from their peers, so they work more diligently for as close to perfection as possible.
Some of my former colleagues put together a presentation for the North Carolina Technology in Education society conference. Their presentation called, Achieving Audience: Digitizing Student Voices in the 21st Century, explores the avenues and pedagogical processes for giving students a voice.
Students are social creatures. This is not new. When I was in High School my desk was Grand Central Station for note passing. I had the wonderful ability to pass a note without the teacher catching me, so most found their way to my desk. From my observations students now send text messages instead of writing notes, but the basic elements are the same. They want to communicate with a wide audience. If we provide a safe mechanism and guidance, then step back, I believe we will see our students communicating in an authentic capacity.
(2012). Achieving Audience - Sites - Google. Retrieved June 15, 2015, from https://sites.google.com/a/ucps.k12.nc.us/achieving-audience/.
Transforming Teaching and Learning with an authentic audience. - YouTube. Retrieved June 15, 2015, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kq9_Z8crD-4.