It was with great dismay that I read another disappointing comment on my “Oz teachers mailing list” in Australia. A request had been made re the use of blogs in primary school education, and one of the replies is as follows:-
I teach Early Childhood ( are there any other ECEs out there?) and have
just been advised that my blog will need to cease, as schools are being
advised to withdraw photographic content from online communication. I have
photo permission from all families. I found this quite sad. It was a very
valuable, interactive ‘document’ for many. Shirley
Only educators who have tried and are using blogging with students and have experienced first hand the wonderful benefits and outcomes that blogging brings can even start to understand the absolute devastation that these Al and Shirley must feel.
This comes almost just over a week after Al Upton was asked to cease his blogging with the Mini Legends. An interesting article on online predators can be found at http://www.pbs.org/teachers/learning.now/2008/02/questioning_the_notion_of_onli.html would not support the overreaction to blogging, especially to the danger that strangers may represent. (I have already written posts on the wonderful, positive reasons for allowing students to blog.)
However, I wonder, will we continue to ‘see the world through the eyes of predators and other minority unsavoury characters’ and force our students to learn independently the traps that may be out there waiting for them, or will we stand up and fight for our children and students, and teach them how to live in a rich and rewarding global world giving, them the knowlegde and ‘know-how’ for avoiding, protection from and dealing with such ill-characters, should the need arise. Many of our students are already using these web2.0 tools at home and we must prepare and instruct them for this world that they live in and for future digital citizenship that they will all experience in the future.
I would urge the ‘powers that be’the various departments of education, to discuss with those of us who have trialled and are using blogging to ensure that drastic requests for closure are not made, but rather procedures put in place, to protect this wonderful educational tool that we are experiencing. Collaboration is part of our technology now.
“Let’s embrace this as an opportunity to promote the value of blogs and online learning generally. …… there is enormous value and potential in celebrating our voices.” Al Upton
Australia is the lucky country, and I am still lucky to be in Victoria as so far, our department continues to be interested and supportive of the new emerging technologies.