Anne twists the “what shouldn’t we do in blogs” discussion into one about what should we do to promote good blogging. And to me, it comes down to the fact that telling students what not to do isn’t as effective as modeling the possibilities. She echoes a lot of what I’ve been trying to say when I talk about the new ways we can get our students to write using Weblogs:
I really think blogs could be a platform to redefine education. I want that redefining to include the voices of students. Students really need to be engaging in this type of thinking. I’ve found that many of them don’t know how to reflect and talk about their learning experiences.
The thing about blogs is that they make that learning transparent and open for others to learn from as well and to contribute back even more learning. That’s what the ability to connect ideas and experiences does for student learning. Anne offers up a great list of “new and improved guidelines for blogging,” and all of them are worth considering. Here are a few that really resonate with me:
making connections to their learning by exploring what others have written about it on the web striving for writing that matters learning to collaborate asking questions that will make a reader think and want to comment
In that same vein, Doug Johnson has been writing about how to steer young bloggers in productive directions. (Can anyone tell me, by the way, why Doug has only 13 subscribers at Bloglines?) Cyberbullying expert Nancy Willard goes over a schools legal responsibilities in reference to student blogging, and they’re definitely worth a look. (This is getting pretty complex from a legal standpoint, it seems.) But she also goes beyond the what not to do and provides a great list of what schools might consider “reasonable standard care” when implementing blogs. There are a couple there I need to get to work on, I think.
Miguel Guhlin says
While blogs offer a fascinating tool for conversations, for connecting others, places like MySpace.com, Odeo, that provide children in grades K-12 access to inappropriate blogging spaces…will be blocked by most school districts. What we’re seeing is the inappropriate use of these places/spaces by students.
Sure, we could teach them how to use adult web sites appropriately, but wouldn’t it be easier–and better–to just create age-appropriate spaces that are supervised WITHIN the control of school districts?
That way, conversations would be appropriate and relevant to school discussions…and students wouldn’t have to wade through inappropriate content, sexually suggestive photos of their peers, as they set themselves up as targets for predators to do what Annie suggests.
This is especially true in light of recent events at MySpace.com that impacted a high school in the largest school district in San Antonio, Texas. I’ve linked relevant items from this first post at:
While fostering good blogging habits isn’t easy–whether because schools lack technology access, teachers don’t see the relevance, or parents and administrators see the negative blog-hype as reality–it’s even harder at the District level to protect students and teachers from bad situations.
As a district technologist and administrator, I recommend we block places like MySpace.com, Blogger, and other commercial sites that MAY be used by students outside the control of School Districts. And, that we block those sites as one of the solutions–albeit, a band-aid approach as one of my blog posters pointed out–and instead set up our own blogging sites. I do not include David Warlick’s Blogmeister in this, nor other sites specifically designed for teachers.
To set up our own blogosphere–severing the connections to the “real blogosphere”–may be the ONLY way to ensure that districts are doing all they can to protect students. Failure to do so means we willfully expose our children to dangers we very well knew existed, but chose to overlook.
Douglas Johnson says
Thanks for the mention and interesting entry. My wife, (the LWW – Luckiest Woman in the World) says it’s 20 minutes until supper, so this will be quick. (Oh, it’s her night to cook – we do take turns.)
I really like what Anne has to say to say about blogs being a tool that encourages reflection. Certainly true in my case, and if you read some the recommendations (Educating the Net Generation by Educause, for example) we do need to slow this quick-twitch generation down a little with reflective activities. Also fits into the best practices outlined by many organizations. <http://doug-johnson.squarespace.com/blue-skunk-blog/2005/11/9/when-the-gods-wish-to-punish-us.html>
Here’s my thought. We really ought to be starting with teachers blogging FIRST. I know that as an educator, I have a tough time teaching with something that I myself have not experienced the power of. (I got excited about using word processing with kids only after I discovered the power of it with my own writing back in the Apple II days.)
Given the drive for Professional Learning Communities right now as the silver bullet of staff development activities, the time may be ripe for making blogging a professional development tool that encourages teachers themselves to be reflective. I’m in the process writing a short class in blogging (using our newly installed Moodle) to help get teachers acquainted with the joys of both blogging and Moodle itself.
Oh, the Blue Skunk is up to a grand total of 27 subscribers on Bloglines which is probably 25 more people (not counting my mother) who read my print professional articles and columns. The Blue Skunk is pretty much my exercise to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s anyway. Or at least a way for others to detect the onset. And writing it amuses me. What the heck?
All the best,