Blogging is a great tool for teachers to connect with their students and the parents, but it is also important to keep in mind what you are posting, if it follows the privacy that the students require and what the parents have requested. We have found some great blogs but we have been slightly skeptical of some due to the use of the actual students’ pictures being posted onto a public blog of which anyone can access as well as giving information (nothing personal, more-so on what activities they have been doing) on the child’s progress and active participation.
It will be important for us to remember students’ privacy and to make sure that the blog is set to an adequate privacy setting (ie. Dayforce has manageable settings in order to allow the students’ privacy and will require permission from the parents). Screening who views the site will also be helpful to make sure only those who should be looking at the site can. Sites such as ePal are very interesting and, luckily, only allows verified teachers to use the site and can only be used via permission from both parties. Sites that allow sharing are best if there is a mutual agreement as to who can view and add to blogs and discuss teaching strategies.
I am not meaning to negatively portray anyone’s blog as they clearly put a lot of effort and time into making sure that people can view and navigate the site in order to access the information that they are searching for, but there are some aspects of blogs (such as the use of children’s’ pictures on an open website) of which may endanger the children or overlook the parents’ wishes. The blogs that did have information about the kids may have had permission from the families, I don’t know, but that is just something we noticed could become a problem if the proper steps have not been taken. This tech class as well as many others have emphasized the importance of confidentiality so that is why we quickly became aware of the blogs where the teachers posted information about their students and we have all become greatly aware of what we should do to make sure that the parents and the students are okay with their educational experience being shared on the digital world and in which way.
I still believe that blogs are a great way to connect to your class and will be using them in my own teaching practice, but the negatives and the cautions of blogging need to be discussed in order to avoid making the mistakes.