PDA

View Full Version : Kids and Blogs



eliza1903
10-12-2008, 01:59 AM
Hey -- me again.

This one goes out to parents, educators, or childhood / adolescent professionals:

What do you think of blogging and kids? What are your rules, what are the safest sites -- anything you can come up with.

Thanks, all!

Eliza

mommyjo2
10-12-2008, 07:16 AM
I'm planning to help my 9 and 10 yo boys start blogs next week. My 10 yo has probs writing, but I think a blog will allow him to get his thoughts out without worrying about handwriting.

Our rules will be - private blog only (readers by invite only)
Mom has the password and moderates.

Then again, I'm pretty experienced on Blogger and Wordpress and fully intend to "moderate".

eliza1903
10-12-2008, 04:51 PM
Absolutely wonderful idea! That's excellent stuff. Is this supplemental to school, or do you homeschool?

Stacia Kane
10-12-2008, 05:25 PM
If I were to set up a blog for one of my kids I'd use livejournal, because you can set the entire thing to "friends only" (including hiding the friendslist on your profile). Then I would be able to set myself up as a Friend and automatically see all of their posts (assuming they haven't created custom groups which exclude me, which they wouldn't, because I would have their login info and be able to monitor that)--also, no friending someone they don't know in person, and I'll double-check that as well. I believe Blogger also has "invite-only", but the issue for me would be having to check their blogger blog as a separate place rather than simply getting the posts automatically (yes, I know what RSS feeds are, but no, I don't know how to receive them.)

As they get older it might change, but frankly, I don't believe kids and young teens need to be online. I wouldn't allow my kids to have MySpace or Facebook pages, for example. I don't appreciate that my daughter's school regularly sends them online and teaches them how to use the internet; I don't think my seven-year-old needs to have anything to do with the internet. If she needs to do some research she can use the library, as that is what it is for, and if there's something she absolutely needs but can't find at the library she can ask me and I will do the online research with her.

JMO, of course. :)

eliza1903
10-12-2008, 07:39 PM
Again, great stuff. Thank you, December, for this opinion. I know my sister, who has two high schoolers, is very frustrated that her kids have to come home and log on to the 'net for schoolwork, and is forced to monitor them constantly while they're doing their work, to ensure they're not on YouTube or some other non-curricular site.

Thanks!
Eliza

Williebee
10-12-2008, 07:57 PM
Eliza there are some tools and relatively quick fixes to help your sister.

It does take a little educating up front, though.

Windows Steady State, for example is a free tool to help you lock down a computer user's rights -- where they can/can't go on the 'net, what programs they can/can't open, etc.

There are a number of "not for free" parental tools out there, too.

As to kids and blogs, one thing it is important to teach, not just kids, is that the internet is a part of the world, and you should actively effect your reputation on the web, just as you do at home.

Own your own name on the web, if at all possible. Manage your identity. Their future bosses are watching, and will be looking at it later.

Remember that what you post today is there FOREVER.

Remember that social networking tools ARE tools. A hammer can do good or ill. Same with myspace/facebook/AW/the class wiki.

Show them how easy it is to lie about who they are on the web. (age/sex/location)
-- I'm not saying teach them to lie. Whether they are honest or not has already been ingrained by the time they are on the 'net. But, if they see how easy it is, it WILL BE something they bear in mind when they get into an exchange with someone on the web.

(Yeah, I work in K-12 education.)

ETA: TeacherTube (http://www.TeacherTube.com) has some great educational stuff, including internet/computer safety clips.

Stacia Kane
10-12-2008, 08:12 PM
Again, great stuff. Thank you, December, for this opinion. I know my sister, who has two high schoolers, is very frustrated that her kids have to come home and log on to the 'net for schoolwork, and is forced to monitor them constantly while they're doing their work, to ensure they're not on YouTube or some other non-curricular site.

Thanks!
Eliza

Exactly. It's like the schools are actively working against us in this regard. While internet research is fine, there is no reason in the world why logging on should be required for homework. There is plenty of time for my kids to play online when they are adults, with their self-images and social circles firmly in place, rather than simply being bored teenagers wandering around.

Not to mention how many websites have incorrect facts and information. :rolleyes

Thanks for the tips, Williebee. :)

ManyAk
10-12-2008, 11:33 PM
I am a late teenager now, and I have never ever felt the need to have any sort of blog. I hate them I think it's a waste of time.

My POV may not correspond to what you seek, but who knows. GL.

kuwisdelu
10-12-2008, 11:52 PM
Exactly. It's like the schools are actively working against us in this regard. While internet research is fine, there is no reason in the world why logging on should be required for homework. There is plenty of time for my kids to play online when they are adults, with their self-images and social circles firmly in place, rather than simply being bored teenagers wandering around.

Not to mention how many websites have incorrect facts and information. :rolleyes:

I don't know, when I was in high school, we had homework online through WebAssign. Personally, I really liked it, and found it a lot more helpful and useful than "traditional" homework. You got immediate feedback on whether your answer was right or wrong, and you got a certain number of "tries" to get the question right (how many attempts you got was set by the teacher). That way, you'd know quickly if you were doing something wrong, and got the chance to go back and figure out the right way. I'm not sure I would have learned nearly as much in my AP Physics class if our homework hadn't been online.

Also, while there are a lot of sites with incorrect facts and info, there are many, many reputable journals, articles, papers, etc. online that are first-rate sources. There are plenty of print sources that are made available on the web that would be difficult to track down in hard copy, and lots of schools subscribe to services that make them available. My high school had subscriptions to services like JSTOR, which provides free scans of hundreds of academic print journals that were far more priceless for research than generic books I might have found at the library.

Of course, I have no idea if your school is using the internet wisely in this regard, but there are tons of good reasons and ways for students to use the web.


As for blogs?

In my experience, most kids who have them, their parents never knew about it. And very often, nothing's ever written in a kid's blog that the kid would be very comfortable with the parent reading. I've never managed to keep one for the same reason I've never managed to keep a journal--I just can't keep it up; but I can't imagine what I'd write if I knew my parents were reading it... :Shrug:

comradebunny
10-13-2008, 02:40 AM
I'm a teacher. There are a vast amount of resources on the internet that are extremely useful for teaching. Personally, I never assign online work for homework (I teach in a high poverty area and a majority of my students have no access to computers outside of the school). I realize, however, that I have to teach my students how to use the internet correctly. It is the future. More and more of our lives are revolving around the internet (for good or evil).

Responsible schools will show the students how to use both the internet and the library. Also, having online assignments free up classtime to do more hands on projects. I can check that night if my students understood the concepts presented in class the day before and prepare for the next day. There is no lag.

My favorite site is http://www.4teachers.org/. It provides wonderful tools to help use the internet in a managable way (so the students are not just wandering here and there). I espcially like NoteStar. It take writing note cards to a whole new level. Also, it forces the students to read the material immediately and take notes (instead of have piles of books and printout sitting around them as they try to write a paper). It allows the students to create an outline and place their notes into the appropriate area or their paper. Also, when filling out the note card, the student is directed to input all the information he/she will need for the works cited page. It is programs like this that make the internet such a blessing for teaching some skills.

What bothers me more than showing elementary students how to use the internet (becasue I find it frustrating when a ninth grader has no idea where to type in a web address) is the use of calculators in elementary school. That is something that has absolutely no place at that stage of the education process. I have many students who can not do simple addition without a calculator. That is sad.

I have never advicated blogs to my students or taught them a thing about them. Essentially, though, blogs are journals. They are just journals that other people can see. For me, my thoughts move so rapidly that typing is just a much better way to go if I'm in my writing fevor (as I like to call it). At other times, I use my hand written journals (I have about eight different ones). I see blogs as a way for students to learn to express themselves through writing. This is a good thing, but, as mentioned above, it needs to be strictly monitored. With some of the issues in my community, I worry about the students be monitored as they should, so I don't advacate it here.

I apologize for rambling. I'm in one of my thoughts are moving too fast to keep up phases. Thanks for listening.

frimble3
10-13-2008, 09:40 AM
[quote=kuwisdelu;2843740]
"Also, while there are a lot of sites with incorrect facts and info, there are many, many reputable journals, articles, papers, etc. online that are first-rate sources. There are plenty of print sources that are made available on the web that would be difficult to track down in hard copy, and lots of schools subscribe to services that make them available. My high school had subscriptions to services like JSTOR, which provides free scans of hundreds of academic print journals that were far more priceless for research than generic books I might have found at the library."


Yes, but how many students will use all those resources? If you are in AP or in post-secondary, perhaps, but as I recall from my schooldays back in the dark ages (pre-computer :)) most times we only did enough 'research' to answer the bare-bones question as quickly as possible to the minimum required by that particular teacher.. We certainly didn't go looking for trouble in the form of additional information. "Get in, get it done, get out" was our battle-cry.
As for blogging, (I have no kids, so this is pure theory) I'd take a hard look at your child, is he the kind of kid who blurts things out to strangers in 'real life'? Chats cheerfully with strangers? Trusts? Then I'd watch everything he does on-line. What are your objectives for this blogging? Will random blogging help his writing, or just teach him to key faster? Writing stories will probably help structure and word choice more than blurting out his passing thoughts.

Stacia Kane
10-13-2008, 05:05 PM
I don't know, when I was in high school, we had homework online through WebAssign. Personally, I really liked it, and found it a lot more helpful and useful than "traditional" homework. You got immediate feedback on whether your answer was right or wrong, and you got a certain number of "tries" to get the question right (how many attempts you got was set by the teacher). That way, you'd know quickly if you were doing something wrong, and got the chance to go back and figure out the right way. I'm not sure I would have learned nearly as much in my AP Physics class if our homework hadn't been online.

Yes, when I was in school there were ways to get immediate feedback on whether you were right or wrong, too. They were called "quizzing oneself" or "being quizzed by parents/friends/my manager at work who helped me study sometimes". The benefit of these systems were that, in addition to immediate feedback and as many tries as I needed, I also learned how to think for myself, gained self-sufficiency, and got to interact with people.




Also, while there are a lot of sites with incorrect facts and info, there are many, many reputable journals, articles, papers, etc. online that are first-rate sources. There are plenty of print sources that are made available on the web that would be difficult to track down in hard copy, and lots of schools subscribe to services that make them available. My high school had subscriptions to services like JSTOR, which provides free scans of hundreds of academic print journals that were far more priceless for research than generic books I might have found at the library.

Yes, but if you're using JSTOR through your high school, you're on your high school's computer, not wandering the wide internet at home. Of course there are some great resources online, which is why I think it's fine to use the internet for research with a parent involved. But you know as well as I do that there are a lot of websites full of misinformation, sites which look as legitimate and scholarly as the actual scholarly sites.

And really, what are you researching that you need obscure scholarly journals which aren't carried at either your school or local library or any local bookstore, and which that library cannot get? Just as elementary school children shouldn't be using calculators (and they should NOT, I absolutely agree), they shouldn't be taught that the go-to place for research is the internet first and foremost. They should be taught to value libraries and books.




Of course, I have no idea if your school is using the internet wisely in this regard, but there are tons of good reasons and ways for students to use the web.

Well, I know in the last few days of last year, someone managed--either through hacking or turning them off, or perhaps it was a virus--to subvert the supposed safety of my daughter's school's computers, so my seven-year-old came home to tell me all about the naked lady with the very big boobies she saw on the computer in the IT lab.



It's not that I don't think teenagers should know how to type in a web address or use the internet at all. It's that I don't appreciate schools telling me when it's time for my children to be exposed to the internet, and forcing me to allow them to spend hours online. That's my decision to make.

kuwisdelu
10-14-2008, 01:00 AM
Yes, when I was in school there were ways to get immediate feedback on whether you were right or wrong, too. They were called "quizzing oneself" or "being quizzed by parents/friends/my manager at work who helped me study sometimes". The benefit of these systems were that, in addition to immediate feedback and as many tries as I needed, I also learned how to think for myself, gained self-sufficiency, and got to interact with people.

Well that works fine and dandy in middle school or simple high school classes. But I'm not talking about something like "What is the capital of Iceland?" or "What is the derivative of x^2." What about when problems get too difficult, take too many steps, require work to solve? Of course, a simple book-solution to this would be to use textbooks with answers in the back and grade on showing work. Honestly I'm not sure how good online homework doesn't teach one to think for oneself or gain self-sufficiency...maybe you can explain that to me?



Yes, but if you're using JSTOR through your high school, you're on your high school's computer, not wandering the wide internet at home. Of course there are some great resources online, which is why I think it's fine to use the internet for research with a parent involved. But you know as well as I do that there are a lot of websites full of misinformation, sites which look as legitimate and scholarly as the actual scholarly sites.

Nope, students got the login and password for the school's account. You could access it from home. And eventually, students are going to be doing research on the internet; due to the wealth of information on it, it's almost impossible to avoid. Of course, one could go to the library all one's life, but if you have a computer and the internet, that's pretty silly. Part of teaching students how to use the internet means teaching them how to parse useful, reputable sites from ones with misinformation and bias.


And really, what are you researching that you need obscure scholarly journals which aren't carried at either your school or local library or any local bookstore, and which that library cannot get? Just as elementary school children shouldn't be using calculators (and they should NOT, I absolutely agree), they shouldn't be taught that the go-to place for research is the internet first and foremost. They should be taught to value libraries and books.

Personally I found it most useful for literary criticism. Not all libraries have the best sections for literary criticism and analysis, and it can be difficult finding essays focusing the particular aspects of a novel you're interested in. Useful if you're writing a paper for English and need to cite outside sources in addition to the book.

And by the way, I completely agree that students should be taught to value libraries and books. Don't get me wrong on that; nor do I think students should be taught the internet should be the first and foremost "go-to" place for research. I'm just saying that--while only being on resource--it is a valuable one.



Well, I know in the last few days of last year, someone managed--either through hacking or turning them off, or perhaps it was a virus--to subvert the supposed safety of my daughter's school's computers, so my seven-year-old came home to tell me all about the naked lady with the very big boobies she saw on the computer in the IT lab.

Ah. Well the school just has crap for IT people and doesn't know how to use the internet effectively. I'd be mad, too.


It's not that I don't think teenagers should know how to type in a web address or use the internet at all.

I respect your opinion, but what if the parent of one of those same teenagers replied:


I don't appreciate schools telling me when it's time for my children to be exposed to the internet, and forcing me to allow them to spend hours online. That's my decision to make.

?

comradebunny
10-14-2008, 03:38 AM
It's not that I don't think teenagers should know how to type in a web address or use the internet at all. It's that I don't appreciate schools telling me when it's time for my children to be exposed to the internet, and forcing me to allow them to spend hours online. That's my decision to make.

Unfortunately, it's the state's decision. The state mandates what must be taught to the students. Technology is one of those things. Teacher's are not just pulling these things out of the air. We are required to teach a variety of skills to our students and yes internet skills are included. I don't know about elementary standard, though. I teach at the high school level.