Blogs and the Classroom

After a conversation with S last night, I’ve been thinking about public/private distinctions within the blogosphere, and it turns out that Adrian Miles and Jenny Weight have been blogging about this topic recently. Jenny Weight comments that she is concerned about using blogs in the classroom because of students’ right to privacy. This is certainly a major concern for me, and in the past, I’ve been hesitant to use blogs or other online discussion forums because I was concerned about a student’s comfort level with posting his or her work in public space.

I’m more inclined to share Adrian’s perception that “what constitutes private is up to individual definition.” I’m certainly intrigued by the idea of using blogs in helping my students to develop their argument skills, specifically their ability to negotiate the various audiences within the blogosphere. I also like the idea that a blog community can be defined as “an emergent semantic or epistemological community.” This notion of emergent community summarzies well the main benefit of blogging that I was trying to describe to S last night.

I’ve used bulletin boards and listservs, such as Web Crossing, in the past, but this is definitely a much more public forum. George offers some useful advice about how to deploy blogs in the classroom, specifically in terms of a Slashdot discussion. Any suggestions on how to negotiate some of these difficulties would be much appreciated.

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