by Mike Masnick

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.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  • identicon
    Tim, 30 Mar 2005 @ 3:42am


    Right-wing non-thinkers fail to educate kids in the ways of the future. Bah.

    As if we didn't see enough people with "grounded personality type" (by any other name) in _Bowling for Columbine_...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Danno, 30 Mar 2005 @ 6:10am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dorpus, 30 Mar 2005 @ 6:22am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Mar 2005 @ 11:14am

      Re: The Nagasaki Precedent

      Dorpus, EVERYTHING is a conduit for bullying, including language. You want to ban that too?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Mar 2005 @ 12:40pm

      Re: The Nagasaki Precedent

      Lets be clear:

      The crime that was committed was the slitting of the throat, not the blogging.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Beck, 30 Mar 2005 @ 9:47am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.