Educational Blogs, do they belong in school?

This is a two part blog written by myself and Mackenzie Thomson. We are discussing the pros and cons of educational blogs in the classroom. We have a scenario of a concerned parent who isn’t comofortable with her child using a blog and has some reservations. The teacher responds to the parents concerns and explains how it’s beneficial in the classroom.

Dear Teacher,

My son came home from school today and mentioned that you would be introducing the students to blogging. As a parent I am not sure how comfortable I am with my son being exposed so freely to the internet.

These are just a few of my concerns. While obviously my main concern is for the safety of my son and the other students I feel that these other points should be addressed as well.

The internet is a dangerous place. There are a lot of people out there whose intentions are to harm. Anything and everything my son posts could land in the hands of someone dangerous. Any information posted could pose a possible threat to him. What measure are you going to take to ensure his safety and ensure that what he is posting online is of appropriate content? At this age children are very vulnerable and don’t fully understand what’s acceptable and what isn’t.

Technology can be a distraction. While I realize that technology is all around us and it’s important that children learn how to use it, I also know how much of a distraction it can be. How do you plan to monitor that they are just writing on their blogs rather than being distracted by something else on the internet?

Is this something that we as parents will be expected to encourage our children to be doing at home as homework? If so please keep in mind that not all children have access to technology devices in which they can do this. We have a computer at our home, however my son is limited to the time he spends on there and doesn’t have free reign on the computer. Also will we have access to his blog?

When it comes to grading their blogs how do you plan to do so? What criteria will you be following? What tools do you have in place to prevent cheating?

Sorry for all the questions. I would like to be fully on board with this, but obviously have my reservations. Thank you for taking the time to read this and I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Concerned Parent

RESPONSE:

Dear Concerned Parents,

While I understand that many of you are concerned with the introduction of technology and blogging into your child’s classroom, I assure you that educational blogging has many benefits.

To protect your child’s safety, the blog of your child will contain only first names. This way no one who does not already know the students of our class will not know who each child is. Each child is only encouraged to blog what they want, I will provide prompts but each blog is the child’s own free writing. That being said, I plan to read each child’s blog before publishing to ensure what they are posting is appropriate.

The children will have a set amount of time to blog, and our internet is protected to prevent the use of any inappropriate site use. The blogging is for your child’s benefit, it encourages them to reflect on what they have learned and practice their writing skills. Possessing a skill like being able to blog is very transferrable, and can help them with many different future plans.

Having a classroom blog is also a great way for your children to discuss and collaborate on projects, all while being monitored by myself. This prevents any cheating, but is a way for your child to get any help they might need.

Finally, all parents will have access to the blog, via their own username and password. This way you too can see what your child is learning and writing, as well as visit the weekly schedule page I will be posting. This is a great way for you to stay connected to what we are doing in our class.

If you have any more concerns, please visit the classroom blog of Kathy Cassidy. It is a great example of classroom blogging, and our’s will run similar to hers. The link to her blog is here: http://mscassidysclass.edublogs.org/. For further concerns, feel free to email me.

Sincerely,

Your child’s teacher

Have you integrated blogging into your classroom? If so what were the pros and cons? Were parents and students receptive of it?                                                                             If you have done classroom blogging please post the link to your blog in the comments!

 

 

 

 

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