I’ve been finding some of the other discussions on the Web about the blog banning in VT to be pretty interesting. Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing actually pointed to the story and from there a host of other bloggers chimed in. I like Cory’s reaction:
In 1988, I was the writer-in-electronic-residence for a class of grade 2/3 students in Toronto, reading and helping them with their writing via 14.4K modems using ZModem transfers. Getting them to use to computer to write, revise, and critique one another was an amazingly powerful tool for unleashing their creativity and improving their communications skills. If this principal thinks blogging isn’t educational, he needs his head examined: he should be seeking out every student blogger in the school and giving them special time to blog more — and giving them extra credit besides.
At another site, a self described high school student chimes in with this:
As a “young adult” who spends most of his time in high school, it’s totally unnderstandable where this guy’s coming from. A school does not have computers for the students’ personal lives, but to be used as an “educational tool.” And yet, when I go to the library during my study hall, more than half of the computers are either on myspace or lj. Let’s not kid ourselves: this is not for “enrichment,” it’s just how high schoolers gossip/socialize/interact now. When faced with this, does he really have a choice? Sure, blogs like this one might turn out to be more informative, but schools cannot run on a subjective basis, saying “this blog is okay; that one isn’t.” and so they are ALL banned.
I guess it’s the “let’s not kid ourselves” part that really unsettles me. I want principals and teachers and even students to see Weblogs as enrichment, as a tool for deep learning. If the concept of a blog is now being boiled down to its lowest common denominator, that of a place to “gossip/socialize/interact” instead of “read/think/write” then I think we have to redouble our efforts to make the case and to evangelize the potential.