Sunday, March 25, 2007

Blogs as Just Another Assignment

I have played with using student blogs for two years now, and I just haven't felt like students feel any ownership. The goal was to get away from doing it for the teacher, but based on the effort required to get students to write, I don't feel like my students ever felt blogging was anything more than just another assignment.

Part of the disconnect, I feel, is the tool I am using. I love classblogmeister for its ease of use and security settings. The teacher has control over what goes live, leaving plenty of opportunity for catching student mistakes or inappropriate comments before they cause problems. But how is my role as moderator of student blogs any different from my role as moderator of the hallway bulletin board? If everything a student writes needs to go through me, isn't the student reduced to writing for me?

This has become part of the larger discussion in my district regarding the use of blogs in the classroom. Do we, as teachers, need to moderate all posts and comments? At what point--grade level, age, experience blogging--might teachers move to monitoring instead? Is monitoring ever "enough", or is our professional obligation to student safety so great that moderating is the only option?