Monday, 5 December 2011

Publishing on the Web

Having a class blog allows us access to added benefits to enhance student learning.

Some of them include:
  • Being able to share student learning with extended families/friends around the world. As an International school, our students come from many different places, and being able to share what's going on in (and out of) the classroom with others, enables us to stay more connected.
  • The ability to connect with other students/classrooms around the world. We would like to begin conversing with students in other countries and learn from/with them. 
  • Interactivity - being able to add comments to our blog posts turns communication with parents into a conversation, rather than purely information. The students (and teachers) love knowing you have commented on their blog. 
  • Learning gets extended beyond the classroom. Teachers may choose to highlight interesting websites for example, which parents can share with their children at home. Alternatively, a comment from a parent may spark an inquiry in class.
  • For teachers, the blog is a window into their classroom. This allows them to develop professional relationships with other teachers around the world, which in turn, improves their own practice.
  • The class blog is (for some) the beginning of a positive digital footprint for the children.
You might be interested in these 10 Reasons Students Should Blog written by 12 year olds in Australia.

Myth vs Reality

We would like to reassure parents that having a class blog is not a security risk or unsafe for their children.

 In setting up the blogs, teachers have taken a number of precautions to ensure this is a positive experience for all concerned.

Firstly, teachers selected the option that meant their blogs would not appear in a Google Search. This means, that although 'publicly viewable,' it would be very difficult to stumble across them accidentally.

Secondly, teachers have turned comment moderation on. This means that before a comment appears on the blog, teachers need to approve it. They may decide not to publish a comment if they deem it unsuitable.

We will only refer to students by their first names, as a security precaution.

It is important to know that many perceived 'fears' about being online are largely unfounded. There are a number of articles that address these concerns (some are linked below), and we invite parents to have a read through and hopefully allay some of their worries.

Six Myths about keeping kids safe online
The Myth of Online Predators
Online sexual predators, Myths and Facts
Online Safety 3.0: Empowering an Protecting Youth

Best Practices:

We welcome parents' feedback and encourage comments on the class blogs. Below is the information we share with students when they comment on blog posts.

Good comments:
  • are constructive, but not hurtful; 
  • consider the author and the purpose of the post; 
  • are always related to the content of the post; 
  • include personal connections to what the author wrote; 
  • answer a question, or add meaningful information to the content topic; 
  • follow the writing process. Comments are a published piece of writing.

To subscribe via email, simply put your email address in the 'follow by email' box, and you will be alerted to new posts.
We hope you enjoy your child's class blog, and look forward to participating in the conversation.

Good Question ( BY ND ) flickr photo shared by e-magic
Boris ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by ianus

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