Looks like I am late here with my blog regarding teachers blogging...nevertheless, here it is.
Blogging is a useful tool for educators, especially those actively teaching. A blog can be used to provide up-to-date information on the current activities of the class. Here, projects, assignments and study topics can be shown to the blog viewer. Parents, students, even grandparents, could view the blog and see what activities the class is undertaking, how the class, as a whole, did on these activities and what activities are coming soon. I think a blog is a great way to keep the parents, and other concerned family members, involved in class activities. Moreover, parents could leave comments on past activities and those to come. This could be a way to ensure parents have their say in the on-goings of the class.
However, I am not really answering the question proposed by the Maxlow/Nielsen blog. They ask, "Is blogging worth the risk?" This question has an obvious answer, NO. If blogging presents a risk to the students, their families, the teacher or the school, district, etc., then blogging should not be done. This does not mean blogging should be done, it just means the blogging must not be risky.
Care should be taken by the blogging teacher to avoid risk. Personal information of individual students should never be released on the blog site. Information which should not be included in the blog would include, such things as student names, individual student grades or nay other personal information. However, information on the whole class, not specifically about any one student, is valid blogging material. For instance, an example of information that could be used in the blog is overall class average on a particular assignment. Here, no individual student information is provided, only the results of the whole class. Moreover, use of student images should be used with caution. A blogging teacher should get permission from the student and their parents before their images are used on the blog.
It seems to me that Lisa Nielsen, the author of the blog who said blogging is not worth the risk, took too many risks in her blog and those risks tainted her opinion of teacher blog use. Her school and fellow teachers raised warning flags about her blog and she became obstinate and went ahead anyway. If her school and fellow teachers felt she was doing the wrong thing with her blog, she should have first listened, spoke to the concerned parents, teachers and administrators and adjusted accordingly before going ahead with the blog. I think a teacher's blog should be non-controversial, if it is something is wrong.
See you on Tuesday,