Sunday, October 30, 2005

Blogging and IM in the Classroom

A recent study says that nearly 75% of all teenages in this country use Instant Messaging. In addition, a growing phenomenon among teens is the use of blogs. Both of these internet-based tools mandate that kids read and write. Yet, most of the press is about the negative aspects of these technologies (when used inappropriately). On Thursday, Oct. 27th, the Star Ledger reported that Sparta's Pope John XXIII High School is banning blogs on certain websites such as and, even if the kids were accessing them from home! If a blog is found, the kids face suspension (who in the world is patrolling the web from that school?)
I can understand that they want their kids protected (online pedaphiles can gather information about kids from their blogs), but wouldn't it be smarter to teach kids online safety than to ban certain sites? The school will never be able to keep up with the list of banned sites nor the students' work-around.

This brings me to the next step... Rather than look at ways to ban these tools, why not incorporate them in healthy ways into the curriculum? If kids are drawn to reading and writing using blogs and IM, educators should harness that enthusiasm and use it in meaningful ways. Some have done it successfully!

I'm going to keep fighting the good fight. If we looked at cars as killing machines rather than modes of transporation, we'd still be on horseback.

Now that the World Bank has started blogging, will blogs become important?


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