Monday, April 26, 2010

Blogs Should Promote...Not Stunt- Conversation

While I wanted to give kudos to the Digital Literacy blog for sharing my post about Why Social Media Curriculum is Critical in Schools and give a thumbs up to those below who commented...I couldn't. Instead, I give a thumbs down to blogs like this who close off the conversation to those about who they talk…and the rest of the world. Blog comments can be moderated if necessary, but telling the world that you want to talk about them, but you don't want to hear what they say makes no sense, is in poor taste, and just doesn't seem like the American way. Controlling the sharing of thoughts and ideas and not allowing other powerful voices to come in, contribute, and be shared is no good! So, while I tried to draft a response to the authors and readers of this blog, this is not possible. This blog is deaf to outsiders.

Instead I share here in an admittedly awkward platform, my only possible spot to contribute my response. If you're interested, first read my post about Why Social Media Curriculum is Critical in Schools then the responses from the members of my blog followed by my reaction.

Alison said...

This is a very interesting idea. I can see from the point of view that says that social networking sites can be beneficial in an educational environment, but I'm not sure if I would include Twitter. You can't give a full and complete answer in such a limited amount of characters. Also, I wonder if this would eliminate the human element in classrooms if students and teachers were communicating through computers.

April 24, 2010 9:56 AM

Shannon said...

I strongly agree with incoporating technology in the classroom, but, I do not think social network sites are the way to go. There is too much potential for student misuse while working in school. I believe students can work and communicate with their friends face to face in the classroom by working in groups.

Jacki Goy said...

While I agree with both Alison and Shannon, I also think that the use of social network-type sites by students and teachers (together) could let them understand each other on a different level. For example, I am "friends" with a few of my professors at Oneonta on Facebook. Many people claim that they have inappropriate pictures and posts on sites like Facebook and Myspace, but when is something considered "inappropriate"? If students do not feel comfortable with someone seeing any kind of information about him or her on the internet, it simply should not be on the internet. I think that the way certain forms of technology are used is more important than the idea of using them at all.

April 25, 2010 1:56 PM

First, I want to thank Digital Literacy for sharing my post and I do hope to connect with your members in the future on my blog

@Alison, you should include Twitter. It is one of the most powerful tools out there for learning. Twitter isn’t about a Tweet. It’s about a conversation. See this smart comic strip from my blog contributor Jeff Branzburg for insight into this concept . I have learned an enormous amount from my Twitter network. There are many brilliant people on Twitter because of this. Don’t dismiss the tool and its power without investigating it fully. As far as your question about eliminating the human element-absolutely not. First…the people on Twitter are humans. It doesn’t eliminate the human element, instead it increases it and connects you to a whole global world of humans who connect, make ideas, and have conversations. When these humans have the opportunities to connect f-2-f or via telephony services, our conversations are rich and tools like Twitter allow the conversations and ideas to keep going even when we are not in the same physical space.

@Shannon, please don’t eliminate social networks because of misuse. These are the tools that allow us to connect globally with others who share our passions, talents, and ideas. If we were to ban potential tools because of misuse we’d need to tape everyone’s mouths and cover their ears and ban paper and pens. Social (or as I call them learning) networks are communication tools that allow us to share ideas, thoughts, and have conversations. Yes, the sharing of ideas can be misused, but in America, we do believe in freedom of speech. In schools we can work with students to discuss acceptable and appropriate use.

@JackiGoy, yes! Right on target. We should live the life online and offline that we are comfortable with. Whether virtual or physical what we do becomes a part of the digital or mental footprint of others and we need to think about and be deliberate in our actions. Let’s help instill the idea that the physical or mental footprint we leave behind should be one we are proud of. That surely will contribute to a responsible and respectable populous.


  1. You're absolutely right - blogs should promote conversation and keeping commenting features open is critical in doing that. For teachers concerned about students posting inappropriate comments, I can accept moderating those comments before they are posted (which I realize some might disagree with) but closing that conversation off removes an element that, quite often, the writer had in mind when creating the blog post.

    In fact, I like the blogs that have enhanced commenting features such as receiving email when others have commented on a post you've commented on, or even having threaded discussion-type commenting. Great post and thanks for allowing comments ;)

  2. Then there is the sad tale of a few teachers I know of using their respective blogs as public relations adjuncts for their schools. They post topical items they think may boost their school's public profile and do not post responses that offer a dissenting or challenging view point. That, to me, is a waste of bandwidth.