The Big Blog Rollout

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The hoopla over edu-blogs has reached the school where I teach — particularly the Upper School. A team of us has convinced the administration to give each ninth grader their own blog next year (about 70 kids).

Among other things, we hope that these blogs will serve as a kind of student portfolio-cum-journal that can be built up over the course of a full four-year academic career at our school.

Mark Franek, the dean of students in the Upper School as well as an English teacher, has already started a pilot program where he’s asked each of the students in his 11th grade class to start their own blog. A staunch advocate of the educational possibilities of blogs, he’s even written an editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer espousing their use in the classroom.

We’re leaning strongly towards using WordPress MU, but beyond that we really need to hash out the issues and implications of this initiative.

So in a naked attempt to generate some comments, I ask you, O Blogosphere, what pitfalls and dangers do you see ahead of us? Do you have any suggestions, war stories, sage advice?

Further posts will work through some of your comments in more detail.

blog, penn charter, wordpress mu, education, portfolio, edublog

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4 thoughts on “The Big Blog Rollout

  1. I suppose the first question I’d have is, how constrictive to you want to be of the material that gets posted to these blogs? Creating the system is not the hard part. Controlling it is, if you want to try to control it at all.

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  2. Are we talking security, privacy, or censorship here? Or all three?

    An idea I’ve floated around is setting up an intranet for the school which allows everyone to post freely and freely surf the rest of the Internet (“freely” being a relative term here) but that there would be some protection from outside access to Penn Charter content.

    Mark pretty vehemently disagrees with this notion; he feels the power of blogging can only truly be expressed when all the barriers are down and we become true citizens of the Internet. I guess I worry that not everyone abides by this Jeffersonian sense of responsibility, and ultimate accountability falls at the feet of the adults (us).

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