If A High School Fears Blogging, What Lesson Is It Teaching Students?

from the how-dare-you-communicate! dept

Isn’t it great that our high schools are teaching students to fear new things? It’s nothing new, of course. When I was in high school, there was a minor controversy over the fact that Walkmans were banned from the school. The principal declared that it was the biggest threat facing our education — despite the very real drug problem and disturbing weapons problem (this was before metal detectors were common on school grounds) students faced. So, the talk last week about schools banning iPods didn’t seem all that new. It’s just the same thing, updated for a new technology. Ignore the real problem (drugs and weapons are still making their way into schools) and focus on something that’s easy to spot: white headphones. However, sometimes this fear of the “new” goes to bizarre extremes. While it’s not quite as bad as the various headlines and coverage suggest, there is a school in New Jersey that seems to fear blogging. The headline claims that the school has “banned blogging,” but it’s really just blocking a particular blogging site (not named). The problem is the reasoning: “blogging is not an educational use of school computers.” While the importance of “blogging” specifically is overhyped, teaching students how to better use technology to communicate is an important skill — and one that blogging does provide. The fact that a blogging site is banned from the school won’t stop the kids from blogging — but it does make the whole activity that much more enticing for them, without any supervision. If the school were smart, it would be encouraging blogging, while teaching kids to understand both the risks and the benefits of communicating online. Instead, the lesson the kids are learning is that pretending something doesn’t exist or isn’t “educational” is the proper way to react to something you don’t understand.

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Comments on “If A High School Fears Blogging, What Lesson Is It Teaching Students?”

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Danno (user link) says:

Not as bad as it sounds

My little sister uses MySpace (which, although not mentioned as the site that was banned, seems to be implied) and it’s pretty disturbing the sort of information she puts on there. MySpace isn’t what WE think of as blogging. It amounts to telling everyone who wants to look for you what you’re schedule is, where you live, who your friends are and what your habits are.

I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong to say, “No, you can’t do this from school, it’s not safe,” because of the specific idiom of the site itself. If this were kids putting thoughts up or nonspecific journal entries, it would be overkill.

What the school should have done is organize a lesson on personal security on the internet too, but this may be a stopgap solution and that may be something they’re going to do soon.

dorpus says:

The Nagasaki Precedent

We have the case of the 11-year-old girl whose classmate insulted her on the blog, so she invited the classmate to another room during lunch hour, slit her throat open, and came back to the classroom covered in blood.

You may understand why schools would want to distance themselves from blogs, when they become conduits for bullying.

Beck says:

Brownsville Station

Sitting in the classroom

thinking it’s a drag.

Listening to the teacher

well just aint my bag.

The noon bells ring

you know that’s my cue.

I’m gonna meet the boys

on floor number two

Bloggin’ in the Boys Room, Yes indeed, I was

Bloggin’ in the Boys Room

Now teacher don’t you fill me up with your rules.

Everybody knows that

Blogging ain’t allowed in school.

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