Sunday, April 24, 2005

Benefits of Xanga

Bud makes an excellent point over on his blog. He says that maybe there is a certain type of educational value to Xanga. He says
But I think that there's something more important that these journals can be useful for in schools. But not all schools -- only those schools that are interested in students as human beings instead of products to be completed or vessels to be filled.
Can you imagine the power of a school counselor getting an update or status check on a hundred students via a single mouse click? For those counselors willing to pay attention, and those students willing to share, online journals can be a valuable tool for assessing the well-being of students.
That really struck me. First of all, I thought it was a very sad commentary that not all schools would be interested in students as human beings. I agree with Bud, of course, that not all schools really have that as a priority, but it hurt to actually read it in print. Secondly, I think this is an absolutely wonderful, easy-to-use tool that I as a teacher or someone else as a counselor would be crazy not to take advantage of.

I hope that some of the teachers and counselors in Vermont and Iowa and other places where Xanga and other such sites are blocked from school computers will find a way to read their students' personal blogs and get to see another side of these young people. It seems especially important in the Iowa school where the IT person thought the Xanga posts were so frightening (Her word, not mine!).

But first of all, I guess you have to care.


todd said...

My school has blocked Xanga and MySpace. I'm thinking that Blogger is next, but I hope not since that's what I use for my student blogs!

It's a real shame that schools cannot be trusted with the responsibility of teaching kids how to use resources responsibly. The district office is the one responsible for blocking sites in our entire district; it's not a school-site decision. It's such a shame to miss out on using technology for our benefit.

Heaven forbid that students actually write about things important to them on Xanga! You're right: first, you have to care.

Anonymous said...

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