Monday, May 14, 2007

First days of student blogging

The first few days of blogging have had their ups and downs. The biggest problem I've encountered are the technical issues, and ideally I wish I had more time to help students learn the ins and outs of the blogger interface. That just takes time. I've already made a note for next year.

Another big surprise came when several students found comments on their postings from some of the edubloggers who are readers here. It prompted valuable discussion in class. Honestly, there was some concern by students who did not know who was responding to their ideas and for what purpose. It was also intriguing to many of them that there are actually people out there who read these things. Again, I am forced to consider all this brand new stuff from the eyes of my students (that's a good thing, by the way). For many students, discovering comments from strangers makes them leery. And maybe it should. Most of what they've heard about blogging and the Internet comes from news reports warning of online predators or detailing various dangers. There is a learning curve here, and the students are not as familiar with the etiquette and rules of blogging that I am. And why should they? That's my job: to teach them and to help them be responsible in how they do it.

That was also today's lesson, which resulted in a draft of blogging guidelines. Thank you to Stephen, by the way, for the lesson idea. A big part of the lesson was reviewing the importance of keeping personal information off their blogs. And finally, I suggested to them that when (maybe even if, considering timing at the end of the year) we leave comments on other blogs, that it would be important to provide more information about how they came across the site and for what purpose they are posting. As I've said, it's a learning curve, and for right now I think they would feel more comfortable if any comments left on their blogs explained who was posting and for what purpose. They have a right to know that.

Although we must focus on the positives and potential of this technology, we must not discount the potential pitfalls. I'm right there with my students, learning too.

No comments: