Saturday, March 3, 2007

Troubling Questions about Identity, Safety, and Blogging

Bruce Schauble uses an incident at his school to raise important questions about blogging. Sure, sharing work and getting wider feedback can be a motivator for student writers but at what cost? Do they reveal so much that people can identify and then target them for illicit or illegal purposes? How do we determine what the problems are and what role blogs might play in them? And, finally (or maybe just the last question for now), how can we best achieve all of our goals in education of providing a safe environment in which students can become critical thinkers and independent learners?


C. Watson said...

Hi, I work with Bruce and have had my students blogging in English class for a few months. Have you had a chance to take a look at the 1001 Flat World Writing Project Wiki? I'm not sure if this comment will link you to my class page. If not: There's a link in my sidebar.

A.M. Strzyz said...

This is a highly charged issue for many schools. While I'm interested in bringing in more online communication to the classroom, I do worry about the potential fall-out. Many parents at my school are very involved in what is occuring in the classroom. Because I know this, I would inform parents about any online assignments and provide my rationale for using this outlet for communication (which I find valuable). I would also feel responsible for instructing students on the boundaries of what they post and for monitoring what students and others post. Since about 75% of my students have Myspace sites, I would see this instruction as an authentic lesson that they could transfer to their personal online activity.

This is a conversation that needs to occur, and, after looking at Bruce's post and the comments, I was happy to see that there are some great concerns being brought up from both sides. It would be nice to take the emotional charge out of the conversation, but that is not realistic because this topic revolves around children and teens who are loved by parents and their teachers. So, keeping the conversation going, and being honest in the conversation might help increase understanding on both sides, even if emotions flare up.