I have had a number of educators have asked me in the past about my privacy guidelines for my class blog. Recently, an educator contacted me for advice when their principal would not allow their class blog to be public. That is, the principal would not allow blogging unless the blog was completely password protected.
I disagree with this for a number of reasons.
Cyber safety is an extremely important issue and one that I have blogged about in the past. There are many ways to teach about cyber safety and in my own experience, blogging has been the ideal avenue to teach my young students about this topic and appropriate online behaviours.
Through blogging, all my students know not to publish their surnames or reveal other personal information about themselves including passwords. They also know that what they publish on the internet is forever and cannot be taken back. My students are becoming aware of correct netiquette.
If my blog was password protected, these sorts of guidelines would not be as relevant and would be more difficult to teach.
It is important that we give our students experience using online technologies in a supervised environment. Technology is not going away. If we do not teach the children how to use technologies like blogs safely and appropriately then we are doing them a disservice.
It my opinion, it is more harmful to “protect” students through a closed blog than it is to open their eyes to the real world of online technologies through open blogs.
To me, having a closed blog feels like “pretending to use technology” and the full benefits of blogging cannot experienced.
One of the most rewarding experiences my class has had through blogging has been making connections with classes all around the world. The learning that has taken place through these experiences has been priceless and a closed blog would not have allowed for this. Read about just some of these collaborative experiences here , here and here.