A â€œmessy learningâ€ opportunity reared it’s head this week that bears mentioning. Those of us that use Class Blogmeister as our classroom blogging tool love it for many reasons, but the safety features David Warlick built in give teachers confidence that students are in a safe environment. Student blog posts don’t appear on their blog until the teacher approves them, and comments coming to students are filtered the same way so that students don’t receive inappropriate comments.
Long before I started using Blogmeister David set-up a discussion board in Yahoo Groups so that users could discuss issues and ask questions. This was a nice feature, but technically it is not actually part of Classblogmeister, just a group you can subscribe to IF you choose. Students don’t see what is on the Yahoo Group and so anything that appears there has nothing to do with the actual blog.
Recently the Blogmeister Yahoo Group has been receiving a fair amount of SPAM comments with very sexually explicit material. Teachers that have received these comments have been frustrated by them as a whole, but a few have over-reacted and stated that they will now drop their blogs on Blogmeister. I’m wondering if some don’t understand that they could just unsubscribe from the Yahoo Group and never receive an email from it again … problem solved, but believe that somehow this is going to get to their students … no it won’t … this is a totally separate entity. This would be like deciding not to use the internet anymore because you received an email that had inappropriate content. Or canceling your cable or satellite TV because you got an inappropriate email … one doesn’t have much to do with the other.
We have all had students write inappropriate notes and pictures on paper in class … do we stop having students write on paper? Years ago I had a student poke another student with their pencil and the lead broke off under the skin and they bled some … do we stop using pencils? We had a student hit by a car while crossing the street in front of our school a few years back … did we stop having students cross the street or stop cars from driving on it? No. AND remember this email issue didn’t effect even one student.
Technology is new to many of us and TV shows get great ratings scaring people with images and stories of kids being contacted inappropriately on the internet. My brother was approached by a pervert on a city bus when we were kids … we rode the same bus the next day … and yes my parents reviewed safe behavior (and my brother did all the right thingsÂ BECAUSE my parents taught us to be safe) and admonished us to be vigilant.
Let’s not over-react here.
Learning is messy!