Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Blogging Voices Quieted

A classroom blog of 8 & 9 year olds is closed, and the blogosphere responds by the hundreds.

Mini 16 tells part of the story: "When I new that my blog got blocked I thort that all my work was gone! But al said that it was’ant gone. good because it is fun."

If you haven't heard the story yet, you can head over to Al Upton's Minilegends update page to read an overview of the story so far. The short story is that the primary school blogging project in South Australia has been taken offline, but in text, Al seems pretty upbeat suggesting that we should learn what we can from the experience and acknowledging that the story is not yet over. When you consider the 166 comments as of present, There is much to read, and Al is promising at least one more update on the blog.

Even though this story makes it easy to imagine the sad faces of primary students, there are countless thousands of students (and teachers) out there, who have yet to discover the blogosphere.

When a teacher is willing to take a risk with blogging, I guess we have to be prepared for even unimagined consequences. So how do we ensure that ventures of this sort can be safely undertaken? I'm thinking that we should harness the collective wisdom of the blogoshpere in supporting Al Upton and other teachers who are willing to take the leap into using the read/write web as learners.

To facilitate the gathering of blogging policy/guideline resources, I've created a wiki page where educators can share known resources and ideas that might be used by teachers or school boards as as scaffolding to develop and refine policy frameworks related to classroom blogging. On this page, you can share your expertise or ideas for how a teachers and students can safely explore blogging. If we can harness even a fraction of the many who responded to the 'minilegends', I'm sure we can help ensure that student voices can be safely heard.

If you have suggestions for what a good policy might include, or if you know of policies that can be shared, your contributions are most welcome!

Blog Sketch Credit: Frances Copozzi


pc said...

I have begun a teacher moderated blog at our high school at Students are invited to post their impressions about the ten teen novels of the White Pine series. Several other schools have established a site as well.
There are settings where the moderator of the site may peruse student comments first and then post.
I think there needs to be quite a bit of teacher control with blog etiquette made clear to students.
I have bookmarked your site. Keep up the interesting and informative posts.

Rodd Lucier said...

PC, Having students engage in thoughtful public discussion about literature seems like a great way to engage students in blogging. Such a community site is a nice way to introduce blogging without students having to feel self-conscious about individual blogs.

Making use of the moderator settings would likely make such public writing feel 'safer' for teachers and administrators. If you'd care to add this suggestion to the blog policy/guidelines wiki, the link below is open for public contributions: