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Many Teachable Moments

Continuing with the think-before-you-blog theme, Will Richardson comments on an article at MSNBC that discusses the pitfalls of blogging, especially by young people. The article really doesn’t cover any new ground but it’s still interesting to see this in a mainstream publication.

In ancient times when I was in school, we published a few issues of an underground paper, duplicated on a copy machine in the office of a co-conspirator’s father. It took a few days for the administration to notice and the publication disappeared a few days after that. Now we’ve given everyone a copy machine with unlimited, instant distribution.

The lesson that we as teachers need to impart to our students is that the bullhorn they’re using to communicate is much louder and much more persistent than they’ve ever had before. As part of the normal curriculum, we teach kids to shape and present their ideas and feelings. They also need to understand the possible consequences of offering those ideas in a very public medium.

But Will makes an even better point about how easy access to web interactivity tools also means big changes to the way teachers (and parents) have controlled student communication in the past.

Frame it any way you like, kids now have a voice, moreso than most schools. We are losing a lot of the traditional control over content that we had. We need to recognize that education is becoming something much different from what it used to be. It’s not a monologue any longer. It’s dialogue, conversation, collaboration. Let’s celebrate it instead of fight it because if journalism, politics and business are any indication, resistance is futile.

But that leads to the question, how do we help teachers, administrators, and parents understand and celebrate – and not fear – this new collaborative education? That will be the difficult part of this equation.

1 Comment

  1. shari

    Not just with students but with their parents as well.

    Our school grapples with just how much info can get posted online, and the standard answer is ‘nada’.

    I think it’s just too easy to publish sensitive material: addresses, phone numbers, emails.

    (sorry about any typos, for some reason this window doesn’t let me see the right side of the comments).

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