Thursday, April 17, 2008

Why Stay "On Site" For Blogging?

For our sixth grade reading blogs, I've chosen to limit them to our website using First Class's blogging feature.  Their audience is limited to their teachers and classmates, and only those people can respond.  I've thought about this quite a bit lately.  Should we move over to David Warlick's fantastic blogmeister and let the students write for a larger audience, but anonymously?  I don't think so, and here's why.  Daniel Pink talks about the importance of empathy in his book A Whole New Mind:  Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future.  It seems to me that, before we take on the anonymity of the web, we need to teach students that behind each blog, each opinion, each thought, is a living, breathing person.  Later on, we can explore the idea of a persona as opposed to a person.  There are 72 sixth graders, and several faculty in our blog group.  That's a pretty big audience for an 11-year old.  Probably big enough for something as personal as your thoughts and ideas about what you read.  I've seen such growth in their writing and reflection in the last few months.  I'm convinced this is the way to go.  BTW--First Class is a wonderful program, so much more than email if anyone is interested.

Does this mean I don't think they should publish to a broader audience ever?  No, and I really need to work on that.  There are some awesome mp3's that the students have made about our blood drive that I'd like to publish (I don't think I'll call them podcasts, although I guess that is technically what they are).  So there's my next goal--getting a few works published to a larger audience and discussing to the students the differences.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

1 comment:

Greg Smith said...

Good points here Sarah! As a teacher, parent and tech nut; I do think we need to be more aware of what our children are doing online and off. As a former Youth Pastor this is close to my heart. One thing I’ve learned is that, you never know the one thing that could send a kid over the edge. One mean post by a “friend” or a crude comment about clothes. It could be the last straw on that kids back that makes them crack.
Our best job as parents is to teach our kids to love and respect others while also loving and respecting themselves. Much of what our kids do is a direct reflection of how we treat them.
I take the time daily to let my kids know that I love them. I let them talk about the things they did at school and how they felt about it. Often they will tell me that so and so did this to me or he/she was mean because they ……. I then talk to them about forgiveness and how important it is to try and help that person become better so they don’t keep doing those things. It has given them a mission to be-friend the un-friendly. Of course I believe it helps raising them in a Christian home with live it out Christian principals, not just talk it.
Good Post!