I was dismayed to read yesterday on Miguel’s blog that the State of Alabama is actively banning all blogging in schools and blocking network access to all blogs. 🙁 Sounds like the chilling effect of DOPA is moving forward, even without the legislation becoming law. According to Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, interviewed by Miguel, the Alabama Supercomputer Authority is currently blocking blog access in the state of Alabama for all schools. Educators are being told they would “violate a state mandate” if they access a blog from school. Ridiculous!
Something similar is going on here in Oklahoma, but in our case it appears people are spreading inaccurate information with regard to the legality of school blogging. At our state Encyclo-Media conference last week in Oklahoma City, Howard Hobbs (Technology Director of Checotah Public Schools) shared a session on Friday titled, “The Blog: Is it Consuming Our Students?” In the session, Howard told participants that new Oklahoma Department of Education technology plan guidelines “require schools to block different types of blogging.” Some participants of the session left with the perception that their school’s E-Rate funding would be jeopardized if their students were involved in a classroom blogging project. After a phone call to Howard to clarify what he said and a phone call to the Oklahoma State Dept of Education’s Instructional Technology division, I confirmed THESE STATEMENTS ABOUT BLOGGING BEING ILLEGAL IN OKLAHOMA SCHOOLS ARE NOT TRUE. Technology plan guidelines for schools in Oklahoma have been updated so district tech plans can be eligible for Federal Title IID grant funding, but NO WHERE in these guidelines is anything mentioned about changes to CIPA, blog filtering, or E-Rate funding being in jeopardy for schools whose students are blogging.
Is this metaphorical classroom blogging “glass” half-full or half-empty? The answer depends on our responses. I think it is half-full. These situations provide opportunities for us to engage in important dialogs with others about the value of safe school blogging environments for our students. Just as the hoopla over MySpace provides opportunities to talk about both the dangers as well as the opportunities of digital social networking, so also do these situations provide new opportunities to talk about educational blogging with people who many not be “informed” on the facts and the positive potential of educational blogging.
In many cases, the answer to “irrational fears” can be more information. This also highlights the importance of showcasing positive results from classroom blogging initiatives in local and national press circles, however. Parents and other community members need to hear regularly about the positive impact blogging is making and can make in our classrooms, when our students are invited to safely write for a global audience.
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On this day..
- Copy Podcast RSS Link From iTunes - 2014
- Learn About Your Teacher Through Her QR Code - 2012
- iPad Productivity Apps Workshop: Fri September 14th (Oklahoma City) - 2012
- Keys to PBL and Student Centered Learning - 2011
- iPads in Education: What important apps am I missing? - 2010
- Track your baby's every move with Baby Connect - 2010
- Converting a document to ePub (eBook) format with Calibre - 2010
- President Obama's Speech to Students: A Great Opportunity for Synchronous, Live Discussions - 2009
- Highlights from Septemberfest 2008 - 2008
- Interaction is insufficient, creation and construction are key - 2007