Whether you agree with classroom blogs or not we have our reasons for doing them at our school and we have had great success and fantastic interactions with families, extended families abroad, teachers, and other classes around the world.
A parent recently asked us (actually perhaps 0.1% of our parents each year ask the same question) why aren’t the blogs password protected. I wrote up the following list in response that I presented to our teachers so we could all be on the same page and think for a bit about our journey together in blogging.
What we are doing for our students is very important. We are providing them with a platform to present themselves in public online with our guidance. We are providing them with a set of skills (and dare I say it morals) to use when they are online and using whatever website is the rage these days within their age group. Are we sure they have that same sort of guidance outside of school and on websites we don’t monitor?
Case in point, last year a Grade 4 student commented with a few swear words last year on his classroom blog. Due to us having every student commenting from home throughout the year we could easily trace the IP address and nab the culprit.
Did he know about IP addresses?
Did he know how easy it was to be tracked online?
Did he know that not putting your real name down online does not mean you can say anything?
Did he know how inappropriate his actions were in that environment?
Did he know the consequences of his choices online can have very serious implications in the real world too?
He does now.