Elizabeth Fullerton is a pretty avid high school English teacher/blogger who has been using Weblogs in her classroom to teach British Lit and other subjects. But this fall, she may be bounced by the fact that the filter her school uses sees Typepad sites as “indecent.” Bizarre.
I had planned this year to have my students be guest bloggers on our class blog. That’s fine for the kids that internet access at home. But for the kids that don’t have it, well I guess they are just out of luck. I suppose I will have to try to go through the chain of command to get this problem fixed. I know how difficult it was just to get my classes into blogging. I’m very frustrated right now.
I can imagine. But yet, I’m not surprised. Most people still don’t know what to make of all this. I did the intro to our Weblogs in the classroom workshop this morning for about 15 of our teachers and, as always, there were quite a few that hadn’t seen a Weblog much less used one. And we blog it up pretty heavily here. But while doing the classroom portal thing seemed pretty palatable to all, I’d venture to guess that none of them will actually start blogging themselves like Elizabeth and Rebekah (who has been through a little skirmish herself.) And it’s too bad, for all of the reasons discussed here before. While I think Weblogs have been a positive influence on my students learning, I know blogging has been a postitive influence on my teaching and thinking. I wish other teachers here would embrace it too.
On a side note, one of the teachers shook her head when I told her that I read all of my students’ work online in their Weblogs. She said she just couldn’t do that, and I totally understand. But what I also understand is that our kids are going to be doing more and more of their reading and writing and responding online, no matter what we want. They are doing it right now in fact. I keep thinking about that principal a few months ago who talked about “preparing kids for their futures, not our past.” So true. And so difficult when we seem so unenthusiastic about doing what we need to keep up with the technology. Teachers, especially, need to be lifelong learners and be willing to adapt to changes that can make teaching better, no matter how uncomfortable they are. Otherwise we do a disservice to our kids.
I don’t want this to sound like a rant against teachers. It’s not. By and large, the people I work with are conscientious, creative, compassionate teachers who do well by their students. And the deck is stacked against them in many, many ways as we all know, even at my school which would be paradise for most. But maybe Alan hit a nerve the other day when he started me thinking about this stuff. I guess I’m pretty frustrated right now, too…
There will always be those teachers that are reluctant to change. Eventhough the technology might be available, they are not willing to take the risk. We are spending a week at Teach the Teachers Collaborative in Ojai California. We are looking at ways to engage those teachers, so they inturn engage their students. Good luck.