Reader Recommendations On Web Logging

Schools that allow students to create Web logs (blogs) need tips like these to ensure safe blogging. Also, access a Web-only article on distance learning.

Monitor and Edit

Gordon Blune, a fifth-grade teacher at Mamaroneck Avenue School in Mamaroneck, N. Y., suggests monitoring everything that students post and any comments that come from the outside. He uses Blogmeister by David Warlick, a 30-year educator, of the Landmark Project in Raleigh, N.C.

Everything that “the students post and any comments that come into the posts first go to my e-mail account for approval and publication or editing,” Blune says. “Some blogging software is now adding this level of moderation, but Warlick had it from the get-go. This simple option in Blogmeister lets me steer clear of 98 percent of what’s bad about blogging these days. I would never have my students use blogs without this option.” — Jeanne Kimball

Blogger's Contract

Mark Ahlness, a third-grade teacher at Arbor Heights Elementary School in Seattle, recommends having students sign a blogger’s contract, an idea that originated with David Warlick.

A blogger’s contract is “a promise that kids sign with the teacher,” says Ahlness. “There are issues that will come up when blogging, and you want them to be aware of the safety concerns and promise to do certain things to the best of their abilities.”

Ahlness asks his students not to use inappropriate language; not to share their identities online; and to treat others with respect.

Whenever questions come up, Ahlness refers to the signed contract. “The idea of a contract is new for third-graders,” he explains, “but it helps hold the students accountable and brings up security concerns in a positive way.” — Lee Copeland

For more on blogging in schools, read “To Blog or Not to Blog ” on page 48.

READER QUICK POLL

When we asked Ed Tech readers if their school or district allowed teachers to create blogs with students, here’s what they told us:

Yes, with no restrictions 2%
We're considering it now 7%
Yes, but with restrictions 17%
No, student safety concerns are too great 20%
The topic hasn't come up 54%

Source: December 2005 Poll of 56 EdTech readers by CDW Corp.

LEARNING AND TECHNOLOGY

The second annual online student survey on learning and technology, NetDay’s 2004 Speak Up Day for Students, posed the following question: “In the future, you will be the inventors of new technologies. What would you like to see invented that you think will help kids learn in the future?” Four underlying themes emerged out of responses from more than 55,000 K-12 students:

Digital Devices Small voice-activated devices, with multifunction capabilities such as phone, music, camera and organizers

Internet Access Fast, wireless 24 x 7 Internet access, with safeguards that don’t block sites, and easier-to-use search engines

Intelligent Tutor/Helper Online tutoring over the Internet or through a robot homework helper, as well as access to a single all-knowing information resource

Ways to Learn With Technology Playing games, exploring virtual reality, taking online classes and using other digital technologies including e-books, virtual teachers and personalized learning environments — Una Daly

 

CORRECTION

Axis Communications should have been included as a source in the Winter 2005 Ed Tech Tech Trends article on Internet-based security. We regret the omission.

Oct 31 2006

Sponsors