Common Concerns With Student Blogging Answered

8/8/2014 12:00:00 AM

You teach a child to blog and the whole world opens up to them.  And yet, with that whole wide world comes a whole lot of responsibility.  Some of the more frequent questions I receive is how I keep my students safe when they blog, how do I prevent cyber bullying, and how do I convince parents/districts that this is worthwhile.  While I may not have all of the answers or any quick fix solutions, I do have a lot of passion for this.

First things first; student safety is paramount.  I use Kidblog for this reason.  It allows me to control who sees our posts, who comments, and also how open I want our account to be.  But I don’t just give students their account information…there is a lot of preparation before then:

  • We talk at length about blogging, why it is important to us, why it is a privilege.
  • We visit other student blogs and we discuss whether we agree with their posts, with their etiquette and we decide how we want to represent ourselves.
  • We discuss what constitutes an actual blog post and what we share with the world.  We discuss the difference between Edmodo and Kidblog, and there are many.
  • I show them scary videos of giving out information on the internet to strangers, we discuss how the Internet is like the mall. 
  • We talk, reflect and then have further discussions before we even do our first mouse click.  we create a paper blog to get a feel for commenting and I show my own blog to show them the power of blogging.
  • And this isn’t an only at the beginning of the year conversation, it is an always conversation. We always discuss safety, we always practice it, and we remind each other whenever need be.

Then there is the ugly reality of cyber bullying, and yes we face it head on and battle it.  I have never had another child bully a classmate through blogging.  They revere it too much.  That is not to say that all of my students love each other, they don’t, they are 10 years olds, but they do respect each other.  And I think that is the most important ingredient to prevent cyber-bullying; respect.  We respect each other, and the differences we may have.  We respect the privilege that it is to have a blog, to have a voice to the world.  We discuss how this is a big deal and how we would never want to hurt someone purposely or even shine ourselves in that light.  There is no anonymity on our blog, I make sure of that, and the students would have to sign their name to any comment that they leave.  While they may not always get along we still have a sense of community that we work hard on achieving and maintaining from the very first moment we are together.  I love my students as if they were my own kids and I think they feel that we are a family.  That feeling takes us far.

But what about bullies from outside the classroom?  I have our blog open for worldwide viewing, see this post on my optimal settings for global collaboration, so surely there must be nasty comments from strangers?  The power of Kidblog is that it allows me to moderate every single comment and post that gets put up, so not only do the students have a spam filter, they also have me protecting them.  In the four years I have been blogging with students, about 5 nasty comments have been left.  No student ever saw them because I deleted them first.

Finally, the apprehension of parents.  I have been incredibly lucky with my parent support but I have also worked hard for that.  I have been completely transparent with the purpose and scope of our blogging.  I have shown them examples and the direction in which I want to take the students.  The communication is paramount to the success.  I am not trying to exploit the works or thoughts of their children, and I am not bringing them into danger.  They know I work hard to keep them safe and I think many of them appreciate the inherent internet safety message that these students embrace.  But there is an opt out; blogging is not mandatory, nor is it part of their trimester report card grades.  I have never had anyone take the option, they hear about it before they come to my room, and it is highlight for many.  Parents understand that and I think they love seeing their child’s thoughts on so many times, their growth as a writer, and  how their child is handling the responsibility.

Student blogging has changed the way I view my students and their voice.  It is now an essential part of our classroom, our community, and of our curriculum.  We revere, we tame it, and we use it properly; sometimes for fun and sometimes for serious study.  There is no one solution to everything but there are several ingredients that have to be present if student blogging should be successful; respect, communication, transparency, and expectations.  With those in place you will go far.

cross-posted at pernillesripp.com.

Pernille Ripp is the the author of Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classroom Back to Our Students, creator of Global Read Aloud Project, and co-founder of EdCamp MadWI. She teaches fifth grade in Verona, Wisconsin, and blogs at http://pernillesripp.com.

comments powered by Disqus
Tweets
Photo GalleriesView All Galleries >
Acer C720-2844 Chromebook

(www.acer.com) The Acer C720-2844 Chromebook model delivers speedy performance, a quick boot time of seven seconds, and a matte anti-glare display tha...

Britannica ImageQuest

(www.britannica.com) Britannica Digital Learning has upgraded ImageQuest, a resource for schools and libraries that provides nearly three million rig...

ClassFlow

(www.classflow.com) Promethean has released ClassFlow, a free, all-in-one, cloud-based teaching tool that lets teachers create and deliver interactive...

Adobe Voice

(www.adobe.com) Adobe has released Adobe Voice, an animated video app for the iPad that lets users create and share video stories. The app incorporate...

DeskBoard

(www.boxlight.com) The BOXLIGHT DeskBoard mobile cart adjusts both height and tilt for the P8 ultra short throw interactive projector on a white surfa...

Core 36M

(www.bretford.com) Bretford has introduced Core 36M, a 36-unit charging cart that is optimized for Chromebooks but which also supports most tablets, l...

Edmentum Sensei

(www.edmentum.com) Edmentum Sensei is a mobile optimized solution that helps administrators visualize and track overall school, teacher, and student p...

HMH Player

(www.hmhco.com) HMH has released HMH Player, a new native app for iOS and Google Chrome that streamlines the learning experience for improved digital ...

Juice Power System

(www.bretford.com) Bretford has unveiled an easy-to-use modular power system with exchangeable power components. The Juice Power System uses unique &#...

LightSail

(www.lightsailed.com) LightSail Education has announced a literacy accelerator that combines books with in-text embedded assessments and real-time dat...

myON

(www.myon.com) myON has expanded its digital library to include a set of literacy tools to further personalize the reading experience for students whi...

Nervanix Clarity

(www.nervanix.com) Nervanix has released Clarity, an application that monitors student attention levels as they study and guides them to revisit conce...

MathBall

(www.robotslab.com) RobotsLAB has introduced MathBall, a smart sensor basketball and tablet system that offers curricula in algebra, pre-calculus, phy...

MobileAsset.EDU

(www.waspbarcode.com) Wasp Barcode’s MobileAsset.EDU solutions include everything administrators need to account for their assets, from software...

OpenEd Assessment Creation Tool

(www.opened.io) OpenEd has announced a free tool that lets teachers easily create assessments with the question types required by Common Core standard...

Panasonic TH-80LFB70U

(www.panasonic.com) Panasonic’s TH-80LFB70U interactive LED display features high-speed, multi-touch, interactive capabilities to promote partic...

penveu interactive display system

(www.penveu.com) The penveu interactive display system is a handheld device that turns projectors and large screen displays into interactive whiteboar...

PresentationPro

(www.califone.com) Califone has updated its PresentationPro speaker. The PA310 readily connects with computers, LCD projectors, mobile devices, intera...

PowerSync+ Mobile Companion App

(www.bretford.com) Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has announced the availability of the companion app for its PowerSync+ enabled charge and sync produc...

PureCharge Carts and Stations for iPad

(www.bretford.com) Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has debuted the PureCharge family of iPad and iPad mini charging carts and stations. By offering pre-i...

ProQuest Research Companion

(www.proquest.com) ProQuest’s new information literacy product, Research Companion, offers videos that guide users through the research process,...

Sphere2 & Class Send Student Engagement Software Platform

(www.averusa.com) AVer Information has developed a Student Engagement platform, providing teachers and students with the tools to transmit document ca...

TabChargeCT2

(www.averusa.com) AVer has released the TabChargeCT2 charge cart solution, which can hold up to 40 Chromebooks, iPads, Android or Windows tablets, lap...

VoiceLift with Instant Alert and Emergency Video Monitoring

(www.extron.com) The Instant Alert function of the Extron VoiceLift Microphone, combined with a PoleVault, WallVault, or PlenumVault classroom AV sys...

SMART Board 6065

(www.smarttech.com) The SMART Board 6065 is an ultra HD, 4K interactive flat panel that offers collaborative capabilities while ensuring lessons run s...

Gaggle Unity Partner Program

(www.gaggle.net) The new Gaggle Unity Partner Program provides free data integration services for all educational technology vendors. Through the Gagg...

Waterford Early Learning, Reading, Math & Science

(www.waterford.org) Waterford Early Learning Cloud can be used at home or to supplement lessons in classrooms. It can also be used for individual adap...

NetSupport School

(www.netsupportschool.com) The latest version of NetSupport School allows teachers to monitor and collaborate with any mix of technology. An enhanced ...

Camtasia

(www.techsmith.com/camtasia) TechSmith’s Camtasia gives teachers the tools to record lessons, create videos, and engage their audiences. Educato...

Panasonic 3E

(www.panasonic.com) Intel has teamed up with Panasonic to announce the Panasonic 3E, which uses the Intel Education 2-in-1 reference design. Designed ...