Saturday, May 13, 2006

Why Blog?-Classroom Blogging -PART TWO-the serious stuff

A friend has challenged me with his questions to think about the implications of blogging on the net in the classroom.
What he is suggesting ( I think) is that if we are going to allow or encourage or even require our students at school to BLOG. are we facilitating the possibility of our kids to be:
  • vulnerable to predators and other dangerous people ?
  • flippant and careless about the standard of work or writing that they publish?
  • more vulnerable to being cyber bullied ?
  • more likely to participate in cyber bullying themselves?
  • a participant in unsavoury, dangerous, inappropriate discussions ?
after a long and spirited discussion- my initial response is- I DON"T KNOW- the jury is still out for me .
There are a couple of things that we could consider immediately to ensure that our students are safer.
  1. we could ensure that their blogs are not public (a setting that is available on
    but then an important part of the whole reason behind blogs is gone-that is the opportunity for other students to see their work
  2. we could make sure that we regularly check their blogs-a fairly big job but not impossible as the scheduled time for blogging is in class time
  3. we could link all the blogs to one blog so that we can all easily access everyone's blog and simply - we are doing that already-see
  4. we could house all the blogs on our internal server so that the blogs can be shared across our school community but no-one else will access them- this is available to us and is something that we may do very shortly after some more discussion and debate
  5. we could simply say that blogs are not appropriate because of all these issues and that students will do their reflections on other online journals within our intranet- certainly possible but currently the software we have doesn't allow the flexibility of expression that does
  6. we could create a class blog-one blog rather than many and students contribute posts to that - but again, these students are Years 7&8. I think part of the beauty of blogs is the individuality and ease of use for each individual student

and I haven't even considered the other issue of quality of posting-how do we get kids to write for their audience and to write high quality work-after all this is being published. That is another blog and I will think about it some more.

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