Virtual School Meanderings

July 26, 2016

EDTECH537 – Potential Hazards Of Blogging

Earlier this summer, as you were preparing your blogging disclosure, we discussed some of the cautions about blogging. You read through such entries as:

Now that you have been blogging for a few weeks, have you encountered any situations that have made you feel uncomfortable in your blogging? Are there any potential issues that you could foresee occurring in the future (particularly when school is back in session and you have students, colleagues and an administrator to consider)? How have you or will you deal with these delicate situations?

As I described in the Week 5 overview, please post your response as a comment to this blog entry. For those reading this who are not a part of my EDTECH537 course, feel free to leave examples you have experienced.


  1. Personally, I have not felt uncomfortable in any of my blogging, unlike Twitter which is basically learning a new language. That being said, I do see some potential hazards with blogging in the classroom. I will have 7th graders next year. Everyone I talk to describes 7th graders (and all middle schoolers, for that matter) as a breed of their own. How can I ensure that my students are posting what they should be? By approving posts and/or comments first? By threatening them with the wrath of Mrs. Hughes? My new school is very protective of its image, and I worry that getting a blogging project approved will take some serious convincing on my part. I’m thinking that the best way to avoid potential mishaps is through a very structured approach in the beginning. Give students very specific topics and very specific guidelines to follow. It may stifle some of the “blogging freedom” but it will set a precedent. Any other ideas?

    Comment by michellehughessite — July 26, 2016 @ 11:30 am | Reply

    • Well, with Blogger when you add them as contributors to a class blog you can always control or edit things that need it before they really get “out there”. I am also considering using Edublogs to create a a class. I think there are things you can do – and that specific guidelines and instructions – especially with 7th graders – is always a good idea!

      Comment by Kimmy L. Davis — July 26, 2016 @ 1:20 pm | Reply

      • Kim, this is true. But given that this week you are having the opportunity to contribute to a class blog (i.e., the Russell Street School entry), comment on a class blog (i.e., what you are doing here), and responding on individual student blogs (i.e., what you posted to your own blog this week). While the contribute to a class blog gives you the most control, are there things about the other two models that make them more appealing?

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 27, 2016 @ 11:18 pm

      • I don’t know if there are elements that make them more appealing, but I can see different uses for each type. I think it depends on your school environment. In my private school I am under some pretty tight supervision and in that sense, the control seems pretty important.

        Comment by Kimmy L. Davis — July 28, 2016 @ 9:52 am

      • If you use this format (i.e., comment on a class blog – what you are doing here), you have complete control as well. And as I’m sure you’ll see as the week progresses, it is a much cleaner discussion (not sure if you’ve tried to comment on folks entries about Russell Street School yet). Just something to consider.

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 28, 2016 @ 12:32 pm

      • I haven’t. That’s on my list for the weekend. I do see your point, though.

        Comment by Kimmy L. Davis — July 29, 2016 @ 10:19 am

      • Kim, now that the weekend is upon us, as you’ve been commenting on this on the class blog, I’m wondering if you’ve formed any opinions on the two models?

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 31, 2016 @ 12:40 pm

      • I’m not sure this is going to post in the right spot for some reason but in reply to whether I have formed an opinion, I would say that, yes, this is cleaner and easier to control that the Russel Street class blog. For my personal class I think I would use this if I wanted responses and questions on a topic. I think there is definitely value in having them post to a class blog though.

        Comment by Kimmy L. Davis — July 31, 2016 @ 1:03 pm

      • Thanks for the additional impression.

        Yes, for some reason WordPress only allows the comments in three levels. So after that it just continues to put all of the messages at that third level. But you did get it in the right place.

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 31, 2016 @ 1:12 pm

    • Michelle, first, sorry for the delay in responding. I’m wondering if you’ve had a chance to review the Russell Street School example from the class blog. If so, has that changed your thinking about blogging with your seventh graders at all?

      Comment by Michael Barbour — July 27, 2016 @ 9:51 am | Reply

  2. I know that as I have been blogging for my upcoming Personal Finance classes, I have been really conscious of the fact that I don’t want anyone taking the things I say as actual financial advice, especially people who just stumble across it and might not realize it’s purpose. I put that in my disclosure section but have also chosen to make sure I note it within the actual blogs where the line between how I discuss content and advice might seem blurred. I also made sure I put this at the top of the blog of my guest blogger who works in banking because I would hate for her to encounter issues just for helping me out.

    Comment by Kimmy L. Davis — July 26, 2016 @ 1:17 pm | Reply

    • Kim, first of all I apologize for the delay in responding. I think what you are talking about is managing your digital footprint for this class blog. It is important to remember that while the disclosure page is useful, by law it doesn’t provide blanket coverage for each and every entry. If still is something that you are really concerned about, you might want to add a little note to the end of each blog (maybe in a different colour or font) that provides this disclaimer that you are concerned about. I have provided an example of how it might look at VLN Primary School – July Update.

      Comment by Michael Barbour — July 27, 2016 @ 9:55 am | Reply

  3. I have felt a little frustrated with a comment on one of my blog posts. It didn’t make me feel any less comfortable, but it was frustrating. Basically, for my guest blog, I asked my guest blogger to give an example of what is expected on one of the first assignments. The assignment is focused on transformative learning theory. It asks students to write an opinion on one of the topics that will be taught in the course. At the end of the course, students will do a reflective analysis and examine how their original opinions changed or stayed the same and why. It was supposed to be an opinion with no “right” or “wrong” answers. However, someone highly criticized my guest blogger’s opinion in the comments because it was “not educational”. Obviously, the instructions for the assignment were not read. So, I am concerned that when I assign my students to blog, they will not read the complete blog and not follow directions. They might just glance at it and read what they are interested in. I’m not particularly interested in starting conflicts on political opinions and I feel like my guest blogger might have felt uncomfortable. I did not tell him that his opinion was up criticism, but that he simply should write it. I was being questioned as a teacher because my guest blogger’s opinion wasn’t scholarly. To handle this problem, I simply responded to the comment to emphasize that it was an example of an assignment for my students and was not meant to be scholarly. Do you have any other suggestions?

    Comment by Belle — July 26, 2016 @ 4:27 pm | Reply

    • Belle, first let me apologize for the delay in responding. There are folks that troll blogs for the sole purpose of picking a fight or just arguing for the sake of arguing. While our classmates haven’t really done that, it is something for you to consider how to manage. For example, look at the comments at School of Tomorrow – in particular my interaction with Patti (starts around comment 98).

      Comment by Michael Barbour — July 27, 2016 @ 9:58 am | Reply

    • I’m sorry to hear that happened to you. One suggestion may be to choose to moderate comments before they are published. Even though we want to open up our blogs to others thoughts, we certainly don’t want anyone to be offended, especially a guest blogger.

      Comment by Joanna Lieberman — July 27, 2016 @ 9:34 pm | Reply

      • Comment moderation is an interesting model, as you can do it in many different ways. You can have it set so that the first comment someone posts to the blog has to be moderated, but after that folks have free reign (what I have set on my blog). You can have every, single comment moderated – more control, but also more work (particularly if you have an actively commented on blog). The third option is no moderation at all.

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 27, 2016 @ 11:20 pm

  4. I have found myself checking what I am blogging about to ensure that I am not “stepping on any toes”. I think you need to consider any ramifications to what you are saying, especially if you are blogging about things happening in your district. The last thing I want to deal with is an administrator or coworker who is upset over something that I said. What I am putting out there on my blog is me, it’s my brand and as such, I need to treat it carefully. I will be using this blog to highlight what my students and I are doing in the classroom. Since my students are all identified as special education, something that I clearly talk about on my blog, I have to be very careful that I am not breaking confidentiality. That means no real names and no identifying pictures. I also need to check that any student shown on my blog has the appropriate releases signed and on file with the district office. Luckily my district compiles that list in a Google Sheet, making it easy to see what is allowed for each child.

    Comment by lisakmcleod — July 26, 2016 @ 4:55 pm | Reply

    • Lisa, first I am sorry for the delay in responding. While you might plan to change names and those kinds of precautions, let’s face it in the microcosm of a school or a district, anyone who is a part of the context will likely be able to guess who you are talking about. If you get push back, have you thought about what you might do?

      Comment by Michael Barbour — July 27, 2016 @ 10:01 am | Reply

      • The focus of my blog is more about what we do in the classroom, rather than who is doing it. With that in mind, my plan is to not include faces, identifying features, etc. I’m not at all sure that I would get push back per se. More like shut down. Because of who I am and what I do, coupled with the fact that sped is an obvious focus, my options student-wise are much more limited. Making sure I have a parent release isn’t enough. I think my students would probably push back as well.

        Comment by lisakmcleod — July 28, 2016 @ 5:32 pm

      • Lisa, how or why do you think you might get student push back?

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 28, 2016 @ 7:57 pm

      • They find the fact that they are labeled special education very stigmatizing. My students are in self-contained classes with only other special education students for their core classes. While a few of them won’t care if they are on my site which clearly identifies who I am and the population I teach, most of them will not want that label announced to the world.

        Comment by lisakmcleod — July 28, 2016 @ 9:29 pm

      • Interesting… I hadn’t considered the potential stigma that your students might want to avoid.

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 29, 2016 @ 12:46 am

      • Sped is too often all about the label. Students must be labeled just to receive services, whether they are ED, MRR, OHI, LD, ODD, ADHD, etc. It goes on and on. But the stigma of just being “special ed” is often more traumatizing for students as it is a label that isolates, proving that they are “different” or “not as good”. The dropout rate and failure rates for these students are much higher, and a portion of this can be traced directly to the bullying and mindsets that come from being viewed this way. The ramifications of these labels are huge and we, as educators, need to be cognizant of that. Because of this, student faces/names will not be on my blog. I need to find a different way to make their work public, without “outing” them.

        Comment by lisakmcleod — July 30, 2016 @ 4:43 pm

      • Given them pseudonyms is one way. Or assigning each student a three or four digit code that only they know.

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 30, 2016 @ 5:20 pm

      • I like the idea of pseudonyms. I bet they would enjoy choosing a new name!

        Comment by lisakmcleod — August 2, 2016 @ 4:36 pm

      • Actually, I do this for my research participants as well, and they love picking their own pseudonyms!

        Comment by Michael Barbour — August 2, 2016 @ 4:55 pm

  5. When I post a blog, I am often nervous about how readers may feel about my piece. Although, I do know collaborating and allowing for differences of opinion will help me grow as an educator and a blogger.

    As for any potential issues in the future, I am always wondering if a student may post something that is not acceptable or is too provocative. It’s a delicate balance between allowing students to express themselves while teaching them how much of an impact words can have, so they should be aware of how their writing may be perceived. Another issue is if a student is not courteous with a comment on a classmate’s (or anyone’s) blog. I encourage discussion and differences of opinion, but students are learning how to disagree without attacking someone personally. That being said, the growth students can achieve by reading other’s blogs and conversing through comments is far greater than any issues that may arise.

    If a delicate situation were to arise with student’s blogs, the student(s) would first be told to take the post down. If it were severe, I’d have to get administration and/or the counselors involved as well as talking to the parents. If it were not a severe issue, then I would use it as a teaching moment. Any situation with my own blog, well, I just better be prepared to support my opinions – or prepared to listen and possibly concede.

    Comment by Megan Turner — July 26, 2016 @ 5:26 pm | Reply

    • Megan, I apologize for the delay in responding. I used this example above, but let me once again point to my entry on the School of Tomorrow. In the actual entry, I mentioned that a colleague (who was working for a foreign Government at the time) had been contacted by Accelerated Christian Education about adding the “School of Tomorrow” to their list of recognized state-sponsored K-12 distance education programs. She was specifically asking me what I might know about the program’s program quality, reputation, and evidence of student success. In the entry itself I mentioned that I wasn’t familiar with the program personally, but the only evidence I could find to assist after searching my university’s academic databases, Google Scholar, and Google itself was some of the research cited on their Wikipedia page. Then I asked if others had any leads.

      Now I think you’d agree that this entry was “well researched, balanced or at least shaped in such a way as to try and engage rather than confront;” yet look through the comments at what happened. When your audience grows beyond the “tiny and made up of like-minded people who care” or once you have enough blogging activity that your blog starts appearing near the top of searches on specific topics, what will you do when something like this occurs?

      Comment by Michael Barbour — July 27, 2016 @ 10:04 am | Reply

      • Wow – that post (School of Tomorrow) became quite the hotbed of opinions that were totally irrelevant to the post itself. Well, I think just by reading through the comments and your responses, I have learned a lot about how to deal with comments that are challenging. I’d have to be “on top of” checking the commenting so that I could respond in a timely manner. I like the options for moderating comments on my own blog, as that will help dodge some issues. From what I’ve seen through your blogging experience, remaining calm and responding with logic – not emotion – will be the best bet :)

        Comment by Megan Turner — July 31, 2016 @ 9:27 pm

      • As I have mentioned to a few others, one of the main issues with this post in particular was that the School of Tomorrow is a religious program – and a more fundamentalist, evangelical one at that. So much of that passion that you saw there, was largely based on blind, unquestioning faith.

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 31, 2016 @ 10:27 pm

  6. Even though I have had little experience with blogging thus far, the posts that I have submitted, I feel fairly comfortable with. But, I do have a reputation at my school as being the troll under the bridge that wont let you pass unless you give the correct answers. Yes, I may be a bit tough but one thing I will say is I am “blunt,” and that is something that worries me as I go further with posts that I may feel passionate about. At times I have said to myself, “choose your words wisely” but that is a warning that I don’t always heed, I think the greatest issue with that mindset is that I figure I’m speaking to “adults” and they should be able to not only “take it,” but understand what I am saying. As we all know this is not always the case, so this can be a barrier that needs to be honed, but at the same time, I could only improve on my communication skills in the long run (upshot ☺).

    Comment by fredricreyes — July 26, 2016 @ 8:28 pm | Reply

    • Frederick, first I apologize for the delay in responding. Have you given any thought to what happens when you push back with students – probably in a way to get them to extend their thinking or to challenge them – but they do take it the wrong way, what then?

      Comment by Michael Barbour — July 27, 2016 @ 10:08 am | Reply

      • Usually at that time I backtrack to where I think I lost them. I will say that I can gauge when I’m getting to that point, but have not always been successful. I have been reading more on communication with adult learners and the staff is attending a seminar in October where a course on relating to the adult learner.

        Comment by fredricreyes — July 27, 2016 @ 8:57 pm

      • You can gauge it in the classroom, but when you are blogging it may be more difficult to figure that out. Often times people take written communication in a way that wasn’t intended.

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 27, 2016 @ 11:23 pm

  7. I have not encountered any difficult or uncomfortable situations with my blog thus far. My peers have been very receptive to my ideas and willing to put their own ideas out there. As the school year begins in a few week for me I will be interested to see how receptive my administration and my students’ parents are to using blogs in the classroom. While my administration tend to be open to new ideas, many of the parents in my district are hesitant to change and new ideas. I can see there being some push back from some parents who don’t want their student’s work published online with others having the ability to make comments on it. I can also see a small percentage of my students abusing the blog especially the comments section. I will make sure to have clear ground rules to help curb this as well as an action plan to deal with those who do not follow these rules.

    Comment by benjaminkillam — July 26, 2016 @ 10:54 pm | Reply

    • Ben, what would you do if you do get resistance from the administration? How would you address parents’ concerns?

      Comment by Michael Barbour — July 27, 2016 @ 10:09 am | Reply

  8. As of now, I have not come across any situations that have made my feel uncomfortable in my personal blogging experience. All of my interactions have been great! There is one potential issue that I have thought about for the future. As much as my blog should be a place for my own thoughts, reflections and opinions, I feel like I still need to keep other people into consideration. There is bound to come a time when I will write something that a reader may disagree with or even get offended by. I would never purposely do that, but it could happen. My plans for my blog, at this point, are to use it for parent communication as well as a portfolio of things that my students create in our classroom. I don’t plan on writing too many opinion pieces, but it is still something I think about. If there comes a time that someone gets offended or disagrees with something I post, I will have to deal with it the best way that I can. I think a solution to this potential problem would have to happen when the time comes. Every situation is unique and I don’t feel that there is a one size fits all solution. I’m just hoping it doesn’t happen. :)

    Comment by trsells — July 27, 2016 @ 2:16 am | Reply

    • Tara, you mention having to be careful about what you are saying… How do you normally feel when you have to be careful about what you say and watch your words? For me, I have to say that I feel confined when I have to second guess what I write based on who might read it or be upset by it.

      Comment by Michael Barbour — July 27, 2016 @ 10:10 am | Reply

      • I definitely feel that way too. It’s almost like walking on eggshells in a sense. However, as I think about the future of my blogging, I just don’t anticipate this being a huge problem for me. Parent communication and showing off what my students have created seems to be somewhat nonthreatening and maybe even safe. I’m okay with nonthreatening and safe, especially being so new to blogging.

        Comment by trsells — July 28, 2016 @ 12:29 am

      • Tara, what would you do if you have one of more parents that object to this kind of communication?

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 28, 2016 @ 12:35 am

      • I would still maintain my other communication options. I have used notes, email, Remind and I am going to look into trying Bloomz this year. I have had success with offering a combination of options so that everyone finds something that they are comfortable with.

        Comment by trsells — July 28, 2016 @ 12:45 am

      • Tara, tell me about Bloomz. I’m not familiar with that tool.

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 28, 2016 @ 12:35 pm

      • I’m not too familiar with it either, but came across it just recently. It seems to be similar to Remind, just with more options. A quote directly from the website, “With Bloomz, teachers can safely communicate with parents, share class photos & updates, and coordinate through volunteer and conference signups.” I am very excited to try it out this year!

        Comment by trsells — July 28, 2016 @ 2:07 pm

      • Interesting, I had left the K-12 classroom before tools like Remind were developed.

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 28, 2016 @ 7:58 pm

      • Remind is a great tool for parent communication and I am hoping Bloomz will be even better!

        Comment by trsells — July 31, 2016 @ 9:59 pm

      • Interesting… I’ll have to do some investigating on my own.

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 31, 2016 @ 10:26 pm

      • I love Remind. I use it for all my classes and the club I advise. Thanks for pointing out Bloomz. It looks interesting!

        Comment by lisakmcleod — August 2, 2016 @ 4:38 pm

      • I am going to just go ahead and use Bloomz this year. I love Remind and used it last year, but I want to see how Bloomz compares.

        Comment by trsells — August 2, 2016 @ 5:53 pm

      • I have heard good things about Remind. I have not used it on my own. I am interested to look into that and Bloomz.

        On a slight tangent, do you worry about using services like this (app alerts) or online blogs and calendars for students to see homework assignments and due dates as taking away a responsibility? I want to teach my students to be independent and responsible for their own actions. I worry that giving them so many “back-ups” undermines the fact that their boss will not constantly remind when the client is coming to visit to have the presentation ready.

        Comment by Amy Spencer — August 8, 2016 @ 9:40 pm

      • Amy, maybe work on having them set alarms, etc. in their phones to make them more responsible and independent? I put everything in my phone so it will alert me when I need to do something.

        Comment by lisakmcleod — August 8, 2016 @ 11:09 pm

    • I teach First Grade, so they still are working on responsibility. I too want to teach my students to be responsible. I don’t use Remind (or Bloomz) to remind them about everything that is due or every time there is an event that is coming up. Also, a reminder doesn’t make them do their homework or bring their field trip note back. We are still teaching responsibility, but even as an adult, I need reminders myself. :)

      Comment by trsells — August 9, 2016 @ 12:38 am | Reply

      • I certainly need reminders. I have lots of deadlines in my phone calendar, and I have a to-do list on paper next to my desk at all times. I just do not want students to be dependent on me to provide the reminder. I want them to develop habits for creating their own system for reminders that works for them. For example, the teacher across the hall from me lives by a to-do list. .She starts a new to-do list every morning by rewriting what was not accomplished yesterday and what else has been added today. On the other hand, on of my good friends absolutely CANNOT use a to-do list. She looks at the list and has a panic attack that the list will never be finished; she gets so worked up that she cannot figure out the best spot to begin to cross anything off the list. She has made some adjustments about how to keep her planner over the years so that she knows what is going on and can make progress.

        Comment by Amy Spencer — August 9, 2016 @ 10:45 am

      • I think if apps like Remind are used in the right way, we can actually use them to teach our students responsibility. We use the calendar feature in Edmodo (this year we are going to Google classroom). I open it up at the beginning of class each day and go over both immediate due dates and long term projects. We talk about time management and planning. I think it is a valuable life skill to teach our students how to organize and plan their time. I know for myself, reminders, calendars and to-do lists are the only way I remember to get everything done!

        Comment by Joanna Lieberman — August 9, 2016 @ 6:02 pm

  9. I have definitely become mindful of what I post, giving credit where due, and posting original thoughts. I would not say I have not encountered any uncomfortable situations while blogging. As I continue to blog through the course of the school year I will keep my audience in mind (mainly my students and their parents). Because I will be using my blog in the workplace, my personal brand will need to remain professional. Also, the fact that students could be commenting is cool, but also a bit frightening. What if they post inappropriately? I’m still thinking about how I will ask my students to interact with my blog. Although blogging potentially adds another layer of classroom management, it is manageable, and we’ll see how things go.

    Comment by Lindsay Husted — July 27, 2016 @ 9:18 pm | Reply

    • Lindsay, given that you’ve brought it up, what have you thought you might do if the students participate inappropriately?

      Comment by Michael Barbour — July 27, 2016 @ 11:26 pm | Reply

    • Lindsay- I love your comment about “my personal brand will need to remain professional.” I have thought about this a great deal over the past couple years as more and more parents ask to “friend” me on Facebook. My Twitter handle and blog are strictly professional, but my Facebook profile is very personal. I do not ever post anything I would see as offensive, but I struggle with how much to share about other issues regarding religion, politics, etc. knowing that parents will be seeing my posts. I wonder how others have handled this issue. Do you not connect with parents/students/etc. on personal accounts, do you create separate profiles for these connections, or do you just monitor what you say?

      Comment by tammyrodrig — July 28, 2016 @ 9:50 am | Reply

      • Tammy, on the Facebook thing… What I see a lot of people doing is creating a personal (i.e., very private profile), but creating a public (i.e., professional) page. Something you might consider…

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 28, 2016 @ 12:44 pm

      • My son’s second-grade teacher did that this past year. My biggest issue with that is permission. Tammy my advice is to make sure that parents are okay with having images of their students on social media. When I did a web page last year, I made sure to double check with parents to make sure they were still okay with taking photos of their child. Just something to consider.

        Comment by matthewwisniewski2015 — August 1, 2016 @ 1:37 am

      • Matt, when you double checked with the parents, was that in a formal way (i.e., permission slip)?

        Comment by Michael Barbour — August 1, 2016 @ 10:12 am

  10. So far I have not come across any uncomfortable situations on my blog. At this point, the nature of my blog has been about best practices in education and most of the people that have read and commented on my blog are either my classmates or members of my PLN on social media. All of the comments have been encouraging and respectful. The most “controversial” post so far was a commentary I wrote on an article about students being bored in school. I appreciated the fact that some readers disagreed with my point of view as I felt that was the point of a commentary style article. Again, everyone was polite and respectful in their comments.

    One possible issue I see in the future is when my students begin blogging. In the past when I have allowed my students to comment on our class LMS, many of them get carried away and will post endless “hi” and “what’s up” to the rest of the class. I am going to have to spend time explaining to my students the purpose of the class blog and be very specific about blog etiquette and what is appropriate to post on a class blog. I like the post criteria that one of the teachers from the Russell Street School had on the side bar of their class blog. It made clear the expectations of any posts to the class blog that the students made. My only other concern is time management (mine) on keeping up with my students’ blogging.

    Comment by Joanna Lieberman — July 27, 2016 @ 9:52 pm | Reply

    • Joanna, I mentioned this above to another student, but there are folks that troll blogs for the sole purpose of picking a fight or just arguing for the sake of arguing. While our classmates haven’t really done that, it is something for you to consider how to manage. For example, look at the comments at School of Tomorrow – in particular my interaction with Patti (starts around comment 98). What would you do if you did write a commentary entry that generated this kind of interaction?

      Comment by Michael Barbour — July 27, 2016 @ 11:28 pm | Reply

      • It seems as if you and “Patti” had completely different views on the subject and based on the length of the conversation, it does not appear that either of you was going to convince the other differently. I think at that point, since my blog is not meant to be scientific research or data, I would have to agree to disagree with the other person and leave it at that. I think that good dialogue between people who see things differently is needed if it is done in a respectful manner. I also know that personal experience has a lot to do with our belief systems, and this definitely seems to be the case with Patti.

        Comment by Joanna Lieberman — July 29, 2016 @ 3:33 pm

      • One of the problems with Patti and I was that I was looking for research-based information, and she was providing a personal opinion (that wasn’t based on any empirical data at all). Then it escalated into a discussion that boiled down to logic and reason (i.e., me) and blind, unquestioning faith (i.e., Patti). As a scholar, my goal was not to change Patti’s mind, but to illustrate to everyone else the folly of her argument.

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 29, 2016 @ 10:58 pm

  11. So far, I have felt fairly comfortable with my blogging and the content that I have been posting. I am only discussing GAFE and feel like that is a pretty safe topic. I don’t think anyone outside of our class looks at the blog, which makes it a little easier for me to post things on it. I think if I had a lot more viewers, I would be a little more cautions and nervous about posting. I do feel a little awkward about blogging, though. I am not to the stage where I am ready to post every day. I still feel like I need prompts in order to post something. Otherwise, I feel like I am just talking to myself. I hope that I will get to the point where I can just blog away freely!
    An issue that I could see happening in the future is opening up blogging to kids. I have allowed them to comment on posts and assignments through Google Classroom and various apps and sometimes it can get off topic very quickly. I know that I need to structure and teach how to comment and post, I just got overwhelmed easily with how fast kids are at posting and how out of hand it can get quickly.

    Comment by Katelyn Griffin — July 27, 2016 @ 11:13 pm | Reply

    • Katelyn, you’d be surprised how much traction your blog may be getting. I’ve had students that have mentioned some author by name or a particular school, and because that individual or organization had a Google alert set up for themselves, they got a notice of the mention and actually visited the student’s blog. For example, I have an alert for iNACOL (as the main US-based practitioner advocacy group for K-12 online learning). I often get alerts that include BSU students – particularly those who are in the online teaching endorsement.

      Comment by Michael Barbour — July 27, 2016 @ 11:31 pm | Reply

      • I suppose that is accurate. I think I might continue to tell myself that I don’t have many viewers to keep my posting anxiety to a minimum! The power of the internet though.. I wasn’t even aware that Google alerts could be set up for people or things! Cool.

        Comment by Katelyn Griffin — July 27, 2016 @ 11:42 pm

      • Definitely… Check out

        for how to create one. I have a lot set up: Michael Barbour, virtual school, “virtual school,” cyber school, “cyber school,” CANeLearn, iNACOL, etc..

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 27, 2016 @ 11:48 pm

  12. While I have not personally felt uncomfortable over the past few weeks as I entered the “blogging world,” I do see situations where problems could occur. Just as I have always told my own daughters, anything you post to the cloud will live forever. This used to be something that we had little concern about in the past, but now we must carefully monitor what we are putting out for others to see. I have to make sure that my remarks do not in any way disparage my co-workers, district, parents, students, or myself. Each word must be thoughtfully considered and I need to be able to defend any statement I make. Free speech does not protect oneself from repercussions. In regards to students, if a teacher opens the door to the blogging world, he/she not only needs to explicitly teach blogging netiquette expectations but must also carefully monitor the blog to ensure the safety of the students.

    Comment by tammyrodrig — July 28, 2016 @ 9:45 am | Reply

    • Tammy, what are some things that you would include in your teaching of blogging netiquette?

      Comment by Michael Barbour — July 28, 2016 @ 12:49 pm | Reply

  13. I have enjoyed blogging through this course over the past few weeks. I am looking forward to setting up a blogging plan for the future in the coming weeks. This course has really kept me fairly consistent, whereas in the past I only blogged as a necessity for an upcoming training. I enjoy the blog platform as a place that attendees can use before, during and after a training session. I have felt fairly comfortable blogging. Although I did have to turn on the comments section and this made me a bit nervous. However with moderation turned on it shouldn’t worry me at all. I just especially don’t like troll comments if I am trying to teach teachers the benefits of blogging or possible technology integrations into their own practice.

    My blog may now have a wider audience, as before I used it more as an in-house training platform. I will have to rethink where I keep certain items. For example the Google Doc for computer lab sign-up, as it may not make sense to keep this on the “need assistance” portion of my site if I continue to tweet about blog posts. My blog may be more public as I become more proficient and I need to be aware that it may not only be used by my school’s teachers alone. This isn’t something to be uncomfortable with, but rather something to keep in mind.

    Comment by C. Davenport — July 28, 2016 @ 3:46 pm | Reply

    • I have only looked through a small portion of your blog while the summer is flying by. I think that you have some great resources and updates posted there. It can definitely benefit all teachers, not just those in your school. You may need to reorganize slightly as you mentioned to have a section for the public and a section just for your building, but you have a fabulous foundation to keep building on.

      Comment by Amy Spencer — July 28, 2016 @ 6:42 pm | Reply

      • Many of the blogging platforms provide the option to have a public section and a password-protected section. Something to consider…

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 28, 2016 @ 8:37 pm

      • Yeah, I definitely have to keep thinking about my organization going into a new school year. I do like the idea of a password-protected section. I will have to look into that more carefully. This may be a great way to go about navigating shared resources for the building and blogging publically.

        Comment by C. Davenport — July 30, 2016 @ 4:42 pm

      • Cassandra, if you are using WordPress or Edublogs check out and if you are using Blogger check out (although this is dated, so there may now be an easier way – but I couldn’t find anything more recent than 2012 in my quick search).

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 30, 2016 @ 5:29 pm

      • I password protected a blog post for Edtech 501, and it was a very easy thing to do. We were asked to do a school evaluation summary, and I was uncomfortable sharing my thoughts regarding my district on a public forum. I didn’t want my analysis available publicly on the web, though I had to post it to my blog. I password protected it and shared the password with my classmates, and that seemed to work well.

        Comment by lisakmcleod — August 2, 2016 @ 4:45 pm

      • Lisa, I do believe it is easier to do in WordPress-based platforms.

        Comment by Michael Barbour — August 2, 2016 @ 4:56 pm

    • Cassandra, it is interesting you mention about using blogs as a way to begin early and extend the conversation around the PD. A number of year back, the Association for Education Communications and Technology (AECT) experimented with this – I was involved in both streams for their blog trek sessions. Neither took off. The idea that they used was that the conference presenters would post weekly entries in the four to six weeks leading up to the conference, then present at the conference (and post a conference entry), and finally post a post-conference entry. The idea was to drum up interest and excitement about the session, as well as to allow conference goers to interact with the presenter before hand; and then extend the conversation beyond the actual 45 minutes of the conference session. It didn’t go that well. There was little to no interaction or involvement beyond the presenters. Granted, that was nine or ten years ago, so I wonder how it would go over now.

      Comment by Michael Barbour — July 28, 2016 @ 8:11 pm | Reply

      • That is interesting, I also wonder how that would work now ten years later. I am not sure how much my teacher interact with my blog content beforehand, but they are definitely accessing during and after PD sessions. I haven’t really used my blog as a way for commenters to interact in the past. I was leery about that before, but I am happy it is turned on now. I can see this being valuable, however, I am not sure how many teachers at my building will interact through this feature. Perhaps if usage increases they will feel more comfortable and benefit from the potential conversations that could occur there.

        Comment by C. Davenport — July 30, 2016 @ 4:46 pm

      • I can tell you that if you were to try it with you staff, you might set-up formal opportunities to do it. For example, you might set aside time in a staff meeting one week to post questions/concerns to the blog that teachers have about X. Then the following week you do PD on X. The week after that you again set aside time for folks to post follow-up comments, questions, concerns, etc. to the blog. Setting up the formal time may seem like it defeats the purpose at first, but it is a way to build habits (kind of like me requiring you to post X number of entries of different styles and things each week. While it does help learn the different ways you can blog, its most important facility is simply getting folks to post to their blog regularly to build up habits over the seven week course.

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 30, 2016 @ 5:33 pm

  14. I suppose like with all new things there has to be guidelines and expectations. We just don’t give children or new drivers a license and a key to a vehicle and expect it to go well. The same thing has to be applied to blogging and technology. Maybe this should have occurred with the release of the Internet and access to the WWW? Maybe it should have occurred with the introduction of the Smartphone? I think we are trying to catch up to these technologies and their use and how to establish the guidelines and expectations for users and learners.

    I suppose I have thought about posting comments about things related to my district? How much information is to much information to share? Incidents, situations, work conditions?, etc. As I write this comment I begin to think about how everything you do in a community forum (digital, or real) leaves a resume to be evaluated. I think about people who I have seen who have done something they think is silly on national television, the Internet, Youtube and then are fired by their employer as it does not represent the employer’s values. I suppose blogging has this potential as your ideas, thoughts, and posts represent your values and your beliefs and becomes who you are. Netiquette and digital footprint become a very big part of the teaching before using.

    I think the blogging has been great for professional development and for discussing issues and getting feedback on educational issues such as the value of home work?. I would like to see students be able to discuss and share ideas, reflections, and comments on topics they are exploring. Saying this I also see that setting up expectations and guidelines regarding blog discussions would be critical. Having participated in our university courses through online learning and having our instructors role model or set up the guidelines for feedback and commenting I may be taking for granted how thoughtful and considerate people’s comments have been. There is the potential for the commenting to go awry. I like how edublog has the ability to preview posts before publishing. This is a nice safeguard for comments the may be disrespectful and inappropriate. Teaching children ways to express a difference of opinion will be important as sometimes when they disagree with something their arguments become disrespectful and inappropriate. I’m not sure how to address a parent (adult) who may post something that is inappropriate. I also think about images and media that are posted, making sure it follows the creative commons licensing.

    Reading the previous comments I would like to become more aware of interactive strategies to deal with these delicate situations like google alerts. Any other suggestions please share. Thanks.

    Comment by Derek Gecse — July 28, 2016 @ 4:01 pm | Reply

    • Derek, you mention “I would like to become more aware of interactive strategies to deal with these delicate situations.” This implies that you have some awareness, so I’m wondering what strategies you might have thought of thus far?

      Comment by Michael Barbour — July 28, 2016 @ 8:40 pm | Reply

  15. So far, I haven’t had any issues with any comments that have made me feel uncomfortable. However, I do find myself being careful with what I post as to not offend with my thoughts and opinions. Although it is a place that I am able to express my thoughts and feelings, I also realize that it is representing myself as a teacher, my school, and district that I teach at, especially since I am posting the link on teacher Twitter account whenever it is updated. Even though I have had no problems yet with blogging, there have been some times that I have felt uncomfortable with Twitter. In May, I tweeted a picture of my homeroom class having a pizza party after they won a contest for raising the most money for a charity. Months after the tweet, I continue to receive likes from multiple (15+) inappropriate female accounts. Any time I receive a notification, I end up blocking the user, but continue to receive more to this day. This is worrisome since multiple staff members and students follow this account and I would hate for them to stumble across one of these accounts. Besides the measures that I have taken, what ways do you suggest preventing this, while still keeping a public account?

    Comment by Ally — July 28, 2016 @ 4:55 pm | Reply

    • Ally, you can block users on Twitter. But you have to block (and I always report too) each account as it happens. Beyond that, the only real option is to make your account non-public.

      Comment by Michael Barbour — July 28, 2016 @ 8:47 pm | Reply

      • Yes, that is what I have been doing. Just didn’t know if there was a better way. Thanks!

        Comment by agilin — July 29, 2016 @ 11:06 am

      • Post a tweet asking if there is a better way. We’ll see if the Twitter-verse can suggest something more.

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 29, 2016 @ 11:12 am

      • I set up a separate Twitter account for posting assignments and information for parents. It is protected in that I must approve someone before they can join and see my posts. That seems to work well for me. Here is some info about it.

        Comment by lisakmcleod — August 2, 2016 @ 4:49 pm

      • Yes, I know a lot of educators that have public and private accounts. Usually it is the other way around though – their public accounts are their professional ones and their private ones are their personal ones.

        Comment by Michael Barbour — August 2, 2016 @ 4:59 pm

      • I can see why they would do that. No one I have a personal relationship with is on Twitter so I would be tweeting to myself. I guess being backwards works for me in this case. =)

        Comment by lisakmcleod — August 2, 2016 @ 5:01 pm

  16. I sometimes find myself to be uncomfortable writing on my blog about personal issues or experiences. I have tried to have a very small digital footprint. I am the type of parent that does not put my child’s photos or life-happenings on Facebook; I rarely even type my own happenings or opinions on Facebook. I hesitate to publish a statement or picture now on my blog or someone else’s blog that may come back with negative repercussions in a few years because they took a statement out of context or used a photo against my wishes.

    As far as student use, I worry about them keeping their interactions appropriate. Some students may try to use the blog entries to bully or others may use them as a way of flirting. I know that you can have the settings to approve comments before publishing, but I think the delay in posting would cause an unnatural break in the conversations.

    Comment by Amy Spencer — July 28, 2016 @ 6:38 pm | Reply

    • Amy, you mention about your discomfort at times thus far this semester. Can you provide a specific example?

      Comment by Michael Barbour — July 29, 2016 @ 12:35 am | Reply

      • I think that writing my disclosure statement on my blog was the biggest worry for me. I started out using the example that you had posted and followed and felt like there were too many questions. Even though my answers to many of those items was “N/A”, I still did not want that out there floating in cyberspace.

        Comment by Amy Spencer — August 8, 2016 @ 9:44 pm

  17. Blogging is definitely opening up a can of worms, both personally and professionally. As with all things on the internet, I always worry about how I am presenting my opinions and thoughts without presenting myself in a negative light. With the topics I am dealing with in my own blog, I have kept it pretty neutral when it comes to opinions and try to keep any opinions positive, to keep myself out “sticky” situations. Within the realm of using blogging in my own classroom, there are many potential issues – especially safety of my students personal information and opinions. My school has comments blocked, so no one can comment. If the commenting ever opened up, I would think about changing to a class blog where I am in control of moderating ALL comments and posts. My middle schoolers are still trying to learn to be appropriate internet users and the moderation would be there to help any posts that show them in a negative light or when outsiders post inappopriately! I wonder how to address the issue of using blogs and twitter in the classroom with my parents and community and get them on board. My district usually just presents some lecture about new things in education, but I feel they are tired of being talked AT. What does anyone recommend to introduce Twitter in my class next year?

    Comment by Katie Lauritsen — July 28, 2016 @ 7:24 pm | Reply

    • Katie, I wonder how you might approach something when the research and what you know about the topic isn’t necessarily positive in nature? I ask because I blog about K-12 online learning. While I am a supporter of the use of online learning to address many issues within the K-12 environment, the research has consistently shown that the way K-12 online learning has been operationalized in the United States it has not been effective. It has actually led me to actually become known as the curmudgeon within the field – not because I’m against it, but because the research tells me what people are doing is generally bad.

      Comment by Michael Barbour — July 29, 2016 @ 12:39 am | Reply

      • I was actually thinking about this as I wrote my comment – what would I do is a very good question. If there is research, I feel that I could stand my ground effectively and use it to show the negative aspects of a topic (such as science standards or teaching, as I use in my own blog). I think if my opinions had backing I could present negative thoughts or opinions. I don’t often want to say something I think, especially in a field like education, without research or other professionals with the same view backing me up. I wonder if this is something I could work with my students on as well – always having evidence or additional resources to support their own comments and thoughts on their blogs?

        Comment by Katie Lauritsen — July 29, 2016 @ 4:21 pm

      • I asked because I have seen it first hand. I’ve used this example several times above, but take a look at what I present in the entry entitled School of Tomorrow and then the type of comments (and, in some instances, extended interactions) that happened.

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 29, 2016 @ 11:01 pm

      • I am sadly not surprised by people sticking to their opinions and beliefs so strongly that they cannot have a conversation about facts. I notice how you continuously discuss your purpose and were specific in your goals of posting the information you did. I am saddened by the realization that some people (like those commenting on your post) can be closed-minded. It is definitely territory I am not yet comfortable with, but I guess if you open yourself up to the internet, you are opening up chances for people to argue your points and information. However, if one tries to stick to the facts, i see it tends to keep you from sounding like you are rambling and just arguing for the sake of arguing. Facts always help!

        Comment by Katie Lauritsen — July 31, 2016 @ 5:01 pm

      • Katie, another layer in this case was that the School of Tomorrow is a Christian, evangelic curriculum. So many of those that were expressing their opinions, were doing so based upon a blind faith in their religious convictions. And you can only imagine what it is like trying to argue religion with some folks.

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 31, 2016 @ 7:09 pm

      • Religion and politics. My rule of thumb is to not discuss either one. Nothing good ever seems to come out of those conversations.

        Comment by lisakmcleod — August 2, 2016 @ 4:51 pm

      • I don’t mind talking either. I’m a former professional political organizer (as well as being a poli-sci major), and my hobby reading is critical Biblical literature. So I don’t mind talking about either, as I feel I can continue to use logic and reason and data for both.

        Comment by Michael Barbour — August 2, 2016 @ 5:00 pm

      • Yes, you have the knowledge and background to be able to speak rationally and I would assume you do. I am not knowledgable about either and the topics are both so polarizing that I stay away.

        Comment by lisakmcleod — August 2, 2016 @ 5:04 pm

  18. I really enjoyed reading these articles written from different perspectives. Like so much else in life, blogging has both a positive and a negative nature. I love reading blogs–both of the personal and professional variety–and in the past considered starting a blog of my own. After all, reading others’ words gave me so much pleasure and food for thought, why should not I (a word lover by nature) do the same for others? I toyed with the idea for some time but eventually dismissed it because, like Tribble, I recognized that “blogging is forever”, and I did not want to become another cautionary tale. I doubted my ability to maintain a neutral, professional-yet-friendly, balanced tone indefinitely, and I worried that my words would eventually become albatrosses around my neck. I still do.

    Having said that, I appreciate the positives of blogging so much. The ability to formulate ideas into words and distribute them to an audience–once reserved for a very few–is so rewarding, as is the feedback and debate the words often engender. Blogs provide us with the opportunity to meet people we otherwise wouldn’t, to play with ideas, and to stretch our thinking. All good things, as long as we keep in mind that our words carry weight and that others may define and judge us by them.

    So, will I continue to blog after this class ends? Probably, but only as a professional tool to benefit me and my students. In this controlled context, I believe the benefits of blogging outweigh any negatives.

    Comment by Julie — July 29, 2016 @ 1:09 pm | Reply

    • Julie, given the rationale you have outlined, have you ever consider blogging anonymously? Not necessarily with your students, but for your own blog.

      Comment by Michael Barbour — July 29, 2016 @ 11:02 pm | Reply

  19. I am feeling fairly comfortable with my blogging so far this semester. I wish I could find more time to blog, but I don’t want to make posts that are not well thought through. I am struggling with coming up with new/fresh ideas to blog about. Instead I spend a long time thinking about ideas I might have to share or responses to questions I noticed on Twitter. But instead of posting my thoughts, I worry that I am not sharing “valid” points. I think I need to learn that it is okay to share my thoughts and gain feedback from followers.
    On another front, I am excited to incorporate more blogging in the fall with my students. But I worry about ensuring my students’ safety. I am wondering if I should send a letter home to parents at the beginning of the year. Any advice from teachers who have used blogs in the past, particularly in middle school?

    Comment by danielleleone4 — July 29, 2016 @ 9:54 pm | Reply

    • Danielle, on the first item, I think it depends on what you are trying to do with your blog. Most of the entries that I post on my blog do not take much time (in fact, most are simply copied and pasted from my inbox).

      On the second item, I always advice folks in the K-12 environment to get permission from their administration, and then inform parents. In fact, when BSU had eight week summer semesters, the first assignment – around week three – was to create a request for permission letter, with a rationale and general blogging plan, that could be sent to your administration.

      What about other folks? Any advice for Danielle?

      Comment by Michael Barbour — July 29, 2016 @ 11:05 pm | Reply

      • I think a permission letter is a superb idea. This way parents understand what the intent of the blog is all about and how it’s going to be used. I just may have to create a blogging permission slip for my students, as I am planning on doing a learning log that lasts the whole year.

        Comment by matthewwisniewski2015 — July 29, 2016 @ 11:15 pm

      • Thanks for the contribution Matthew.

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 30, 2016 @ 2:23 pm

  20. Thus far in the semester, I haven’t had any issues with blogging or the comments that have been posted. I have come to a new found respect for how blogging can actually be quite useful in my classroom. In a post that I posted, I tried blogging before and it was an epic fail, for reasons that were my own fault. Through these last few weeks, I’ve enjoyed having the opportunity to see insights from others. As I’ve continued to keep close tabs on my own blog, I’ve always thought to myself that I hope someone finds this blog useful. With hindsight in mind, blogging has given me a chance to articulate my thoughts and feeling in a way I couldn’t imagine. It has allowed me to surpass my digital footprint,which terrifies me, and become part of something much larger, allowing me to reach people on a global level.

    One thing that concerns me is how blogging can cover such a large digital footprint. I”m one to be very cautious in today’s world as you never know who might be looking at the blog. However, because of this, it’s not going to stop me from setting up a blog plan for this coming hear as a way for my students formulate their thoughts and ideas and distribute feedback to others.

    With that being said, that is where I have reservations with my students in blogging. In today’s world, there are people who are flat out mean and I don’t want my students to be subjected to ridicule for something they posted that was their own thoughts or be made fun of for what they think and feel. Now I know we can combat this by using blogging tools such as Edu blogs and kid blogs, and that I would have the power to approve or disapprove comments, but even with the perimeters, some students may find blogging as a way to bully others. Regardless the situation, and just like with everything else, I would have to closely monitor the interactions.

    Comment by matthewwisniewski2015 — July 29, 2016 @ 11:13 pm | Reply

    • Matthew, one of BSU’s full-time faculty – Patrick Lowenthal – recently published an article entitled “Creating An Intentional Web Presence,” which you might find quite useful. It is basically a guide for teachers on how to create a meaningful, and managed, digital footprint.

      Comment by Michael Barbour — July 30, 2016 @ 2:25 pm | Reply

      • I will definitely have to check it out. It just amazes me how parents and administration overlook such an opportunity for students. I’ve loved how blogging has given students freedom to have their thoughts be written down, even having a lasting affect on somebody.

        Comment by matthewwisniewski2015 — July 30, 2016 @ 8:56 pm

      • Keep in mind that blogging is just one tool. It is a great tool – in my opinion – but there are others to consider (which might sound odd coming from the guy teaching the blogging course). For example, if you are a Google school the Google+ tool might be just as useful. Something to consider…

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 31, 2016 @ 12:46 pm

      • We are a google school, and there have been countless times that I’ve wanted to venture out of the box and use G+, more importantly using google hangouts. I’ve just never pulled the trigger, so to speak, and did it. What I like about blogging is that it gives me some protection with the students. I like that I can monitor student interaction so that I can address any issues, but with that comes trust.

        Comment by matthewwisniewski2015 — August 1, 2016 @ 1:34 am

      • Blogging would give you a higher level of control (or protection) than Google+ would.

        Comment by Michael Barbour — August 1, 2016 @ 10:14 am

  21. I found that the article from Washington Monthly really resonated with me because I have similar fears. I have always been hesitant with social media because of the possibility of what could happen. I think a lot of that is why I haven’t created a twitter account until now and why I’m still struggling with using twitter this semester. It really is something that I conscientiously have to think about it and you should see me when I’m trying to rack my brain thinking of something to post about. It isn’t pretty friends! Even though I have issues using Twitter, I really don’t struggle with Blogging. You would like I would have similar issues, but I don’t. Doesn’t make sense, I know! When I blog I do try to take into account my audience that it is directed towards. I try not to offend and say anything negative.

    Comment by rebeccabeecher — July 30, 2016 @ 4:23 pm | Reply

    • Rebecca, on the Twitter front. Consider participating in a Twitter chat about a topic that interests you, or within a geographic community of educators that resonate with you. That way you are using the tool more for your own professional growth, and not really putting yourself out there as much with this that might cause you some concern.

      Comment by Michael Barbour — July 30, 2016 @ 5:35 pm | Reply

      • I have only starting using Twitter for this class as well. I have a serious problem with the 140 character limit. I try not to be lengthy or wordy, but I want to get out or read a complete idea all at one time.

        Comment by Amy Spencer — August 2, 2016 @ 8:26 pm

      • Amy, I’d give the same advice. Do a Google search on Twitter chat and a topic that interests you or a community that you associate with, and see what that might have to offer one week.

        Comment by Michael Barbour — August 2, 2016 @ 8:32 pm

  22. I tend to lean toward the more “private” than “open” in terms of personal sharing. I am an introvert. I am slow to open up and keep a smaller number of close friends rather than making quick friends with a long list of “bffs.” I value community and connection, I just tend to be very cautious or slow to create that around me. I find that this carries over to my digital footprint as well, including blogging. I tend to want to limit my use and am generally worried of “over-sharing.” Blogging with a purpose (for a classroom to communicate with students and parents) feels more comfortable to me than maintaining a platform to post about my thoughts, opinions, practices, etc…. I also recognize the weight and reality that any content I produce on the internet will never go away. That only serves to add to my natural tendencies of being cautious to share.

    Future classroom blogging will be influenced by this feeling. I will probably keep a classroom blog, but have me be the only contributor and keep it pretty “nuts and bolts” oriented. Of course, I also recognize there can be huge value and opportunity in classroom blogging and including students in the process. I am sure my view will change in the next couple of years and because my reality is I won’t be back in a classroom for a couple of more years, I have some time to think about it. I do see middle school students struggling with appropriate use of blogs but to deal with that, I will approach it how I would any other device usage; there will be a lot of pre-teaching expectations, modeling, monitoring usage, and following school policies with use and misuse.

    Comment by Katy Cooper — July 30, 2016 @ 10:47 pm | Reply

    • Katy, you have summed up my thoughts preciously. I usually do not think of myself as an introvert because I like to get involved and participate, but I do not talk to many people while I am there. I can see the use of a blog for reminders of homework assignments and test dates, but I really think that I would stay away from using a blog for personal opinions.

      Comment by Amy Spencer — July 31, 2016 @ 8:30 am | Reply

      • Interestingly, as a complete introvert, I love the fact that blogging lets me interact and gives me a voice without making me actually leave my house. For me, blogging is the perfect platform and I will definitely keep doing it.

        Comment by lisakmcleod — July 31, 2016 @ 11:13 am

      • Amy, given what you are thinking, at least in terms of the use of your blog, I’m wondering if a Google Page with an accompanying Google Calendar might not be a better (and more streamlined) option for you.

        Lisa, I have to agree. Most of my friends would tell you that I’m relatively quiet, and don’t really enjoy small talk. but if you were to only know me from my blog (or other social networks), it would portray a very different type of person.

        Comment by Michael Barbour — July 31, 2016 @ 12:52 pm

      • Michael, that is so true! I am much more outgoing on my blog than I am in person. Texting does the same thing for me. I can have a conversation without being very wordy. I hate talking on the phone and don’t like small talk either.

        Comment by lisakmcleod — August 2, 2016 @ 4:53 pm

      • I find the same thing with several of my colleagues. If I have questions, I’ll e-mail direct questions. Many of my colleagues would rather spend significant amounts of time on the phone (when there is a greater chance for a misunderstanding of the answer or for the answer not to be understood by both parties the same way or for the answer to not be documented).

        Comment by Michael Barbour — August 2, 2016 @ 5:04 pm

      • That’s a good point. It can be very easy to misunderstand the written word without hearing the author’s inflections and tone. I know there are several instances I have emailed a question to an administrator in my district, only to have that person show up in my classroom or call me to have the conversation to prevent emails being requested via FOIL.

        Comment by lisakmcleod — August 2, 2016 @ 5:24 pm

      • Actually, I was thinking the other way around. When it is in writing, I know exactly what needs to be done or what the response was – and I have it documented.

        Comment by Michael Barbour — August 2, 2016 @ 5:28 pm

    • Katy, as someone who isn’t in the classroom right now, but does plan to go back, I’m wondering how you feel blogging might impact that? I ask because as I read through your comment, I was immediately reminded of the “Bloggers Need Not Apply” article above.

      Comment by Michael Barbour — July 31, 2016 @ 12:50 pm | Reply

  23. My blog is in the very early stages of its inception, therefore I have yet to experience much in the way of blowback. However, it is something on my mind I as I consider how to use it as a tool in my classroom. There have been countless cautionary tales about putting too much of yourself out there as an educator, and our course readings highlight some of the reasons why a blogger should choose their words very carefully.

    I personally intend to use my blog as a communication tool to give students, parents and community members a glimpse at what happens in the classroom. I envision it being a combination of my own writing and well-curated sources that focus on ceramics and art education. Even with a blog that stays away from issues of politics, religion and other hot-button issues, there is always a chance for controversy when you add public commenting into the mix. That is the biggest variable in this equation and something I have decided has put me off of using more social media with my class for too long.

    It’s hard to predict what issues I may encounter with this format. I think properly representing a cross-section of students can be challenging although I intend to focus more on the work than the student who created it. I think if I had parents question why their child’s work was not showcased I would inform them that my blog is only one of many channels in which work is showcased including displays at school, classroom demonstrations, my website and more.

    Discussions like this are extremely important to prepare bloggers for how to interact with their audience and many of the comments of my fellow students and other blog visitors have really opened my eyes to what a two-way street blogging can be, for better and for worse.

    Comment by Damien Husen — July 31, 2016 @ 9:56 pm | Reply

    • Damien, from the sounds of it, your blog will very much be like a public version of the bulletin board that may already exist in your classroom. When you think of it in those terms, what kinds of issues do you think could occur?

      Comment by Michael Barbour — July 31, 2016 @ 10:23 pm | Reply

      • There are two main concerns that I need to consider when conducting a blog of this kind. The first is that I really need to ensure that I impress upon students the importance of original work. Publicly posting artwork for the world to see does require me to be confident that students have not directly copied another artist or student’s work. While I do spend instructional time discussing the issue, I usually only focus on competitions that we enter. The ease of Google image search and Pinterest have given rise to more and more awareness of some great artists and I think it’s a powerful thing, but it can lead to copyright issues. Secondly, I am concerned about oversharing project ideas and techniques. It may seem selfish, but I have never liked the idea of putting it all out there for others to gobble up! There needs to be a bit of mystique. I don’t want my blog to be a daily tutorial of what happens in my class and I’ll definitely try to be open while not plotting every step in the journey.

        Comment by Damien Husen — August 2, 2016 @ 2:23 pm

      • Damien, I have to say that I find it interesting when I read about teachers who express a concern about “oversharing project ideas and techniques,” as it basically means that what you do in the classroom doesn’t mean anything. If I or any random teaching could implement your idea and do it just as good or better than you, than what value do you have as a teacher? I ask that honestly. For example, six to eight years ago, MIT put all of their course content online for free in one of the largest open courseware projects still to this day.

        MIT did this because they felt that the value of am MIT education wasn’t the course content, it was the ability to interact with and be taught by MIT faculty. It was the people and what they did when they had the students in the room that made it an MIT education, not the projects those instructors had them complete or the readings they made them do. It was the people that were value-added.

        Another way to ask that earlier question, are your ideas the value-added part of your classroom or are you the value-added feature in your room?

        Comment by Michael Barbour — August 2, 2016 @ 2:54 pm

  24. […] Interesting to note that only four of the ten most visited entries were posted in the month of July.  Several of them are years old (including the entry on the Questions About the School of Tomorrow entry that came up a fair amount during our discussions about the Potential Hazards of Blogging). […]

    Pingback by EDTECH537 – Image Entry: Statistics for July 2016 | Virtual School Meanderings — August 1, 2016 @ 1:01 pm | Reply

  25. […] Potential Hazards Of Blogging […]

    Pingback by EDTECH537 – End Of Course | Virtual School Meanderings — August 15, 2016 @ 10:02 am | Reply

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