Friday, September 11, 2009

When Our Students Go Public

I've been following the conversation going on at Wes Fryer's blog, Moving at the Speed of Creativity, for a few days now, ever since his daughter's video response to President Obama's education speech was posted on YouTube. It has created quite a stir, and as it approaches 100,000 views, it makes me think that as I keep encouraging my students to publicize their work, one day soon we'll be facing the same kinds of issues and questions.

One of the most important is managing comments. Many of us understand that inviting comments is a necessary part of the writing process -- that simply publishing work is not the end of the process, but only a step. And, most of us understand that it is important to moderate those comments is necessary to filter out the spam, the vulgarity, and those that seek to vandalize. However, as Wes is finding out, that when a video or a blog post goes "viral," moderating the comments and protecting the younger students from obscenity and disparaging remarks can easily become a full time job.

I'm suddenly thinking about my students and their Edublog accounts that we'll be setting up in the next few days. As the class administrator, I'll take on the responsibility of moderating the comments for everyone -- one, to help teach them all how to comment effectively, and two, to protect them from things that maybe they aren't ready to deal with yet. At four full classes of students, it's a lot of comment moderating, and I'm not sure how I'll even begin to manage.

However, the point is that I'm going to try. Like Wes and Sarah have done, we need to put the work out there and learn from what comes next. Sitting back and wondering "what if" will not help us or our students. If things don't work out, I'll go back and rethink my goals. But, if things go well, then...I don't know. It'll be great, I'm sure.

1 comment:

  1. I posted a similar question to this on twitter over the summer, and received a number of responses to the effect of "you're crazy!" There is so much responsibility to be shared when trying to teach students about online responsibility, risks, and safety. Our students are likely already seeing everything from degenerative insults to spam on their facebook and myspace walls, yet we are expected to filter this because what they publish is posted under the veil of "schoolwork." I think we are better served teaching students how to best approach inappropriate comments and to learn how to best moderate their own blogs. Some might look at this as irresponsible or "passing the buck" on our part, but I see this as just one of the many pieces to the web-education puzzle that must be learned! Perhaps it starts with us and there is a transition of power over time?