Teens and Blogs

My students were hesitant writers when they started out with me during the first days of the school year. They could not even start writing a poem or a story with a given topic. It was a struggle for them to write.

I also noticed that their vocabulary is very limited to simple words. They lack imagination which could be the reason why they were having difficulty with writing.

But technology opens new opportunities for helping children to learn the rudiments of grammar and composition, while encouraging them to share their work to each other and to the whole world. It is apparent that many of today’s students raised at keyboards and eager to exchange messages with their friends, are comfortable with these new technologies and eager to use them. Then an idea integrating this into my curriculum dawned to me. The publishing of my students’ works through our class website and our school website positively motivate them to write better each time (see: http://digitalanthology.blogspot.com ).

The readers (who are not only the teachers and students in the school but a national and international audience) give good feedbacks that make each of them smile and anticipate for more comments about their works.

The National Commission on writing asks for the time writing deserves in the curriculum. It explores how technology can be used to advance writing and examines the dimensions of a responsible and effective assessment system. I believe I have a principled idea for advancing writing in compliance with the district and state requirements.

With the advantages this blogging technology gives the students I wouldn’t be surprised with this news:

MySpace soars to nearly 50M members in two years

MySpace, a social-networking Web site, has become the hottest spot for teens to instant message current pals and forge new friendships by checking out the posted pages of others. The ad-supported site, which outstripped eBay and Google in terms of number of pages viewed in November, has been attracting 5 million new members a month. USA TODAY (1/8)

ON THE CONTRARY…

Schools warn teens about social networks

Several Washington, D.C., area high schools are warning students against posting salacious material on social networks like MySpace.com and Xanga.com. Many students have been disciplined for posting sexually explicit material or including references to alcohol and drug usage. The Washington Post (free registration) (1/17)

With proper guidance from teachers and parents on using this technology, I still think that the benefits that we get from blogging outweighs the disadvantages. What do you think?

***Teacher Sol is now blogging at: http://teachersol.blogspot.com