Has anyone in the states successfully convinced their admins to allow blogging?

I am up against "that" wall. I have provided the facts on blogging and the benefits. I have gone over the security measures involved(no material gets published without my OK, confidentiality, etc...), the cost(free). But still my admin says "NO, It opens us up to too many liabilities and lawsuit possibilities". Are there solutions, arguments, flyers, propaganda,? HELP!

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You might try a blogging environment meant only for schools such as one found at Gaggle.net (This is the one I'm most familiar with, so I mention it, not for any other reason) which features many tools that make it a "safer" environment for blogging experiments. Of course, it is a sheltered environment so some might not view it as "authentic" blogging, but if you're hitting block walls at every other attempt it might be suitable as a means to showing what learning gains can be achieved by using blogs in general as a motivation for writing. Once the administration sees those types of results an argument for opening up the blogging experience to more real world environments (with the safeguards you mention in place) might have more of a chance of succeeding.
Thanks for the tip... Did you have to do this yourself?
Actually, no. I started using gaggle.net simply because I work with adult immigrant students and it's the only free email provider that isn't blocked by our district because of its built-in filtering and other safety features. Blogging sites don't seem to be blocked as yet so it that hasn't been an issue, however I'm not really interested in having my students blog anymore. You might consider another alternative completely. Unless you feel that the "post" and "respond" format of a blog is the most appropriate means to accomplish your goals for your students, a Wiki might be a much easier way to get your students' publishing directly to the web. You can find a lot of information about them here on this site and they are much less likely to be blocked. They lend themselves by their very nature to collaborative work. Anyone with the password can add or change a page, yet mistakes or unwanted changes can be easily undone. Look for the wiki discussion on the list to the right. You can see a new collaborative effort my students have started with students in Vermont at http://coasttocoast.pbwiki.com/ It's still at the beginning stages but it might give you an idea of what's possible. Knowing what I know about blogs and my goals for my students, I've bypassed them and moved to wikis.

I do blog for myself about my experiences working with technology in the classroom. Please take a look at http://www.tech4esl.blogspot.com/
Scott,
I am a rural school superintendent and also teach a junior high class on 21st Century Skills. We use ePals school blog in my class. My suggestion to you is to take a little different approach with your administration. Writing is an exceptionally powerful tool for improving overall literacy. Start by sharing some of the writing research with your administration and talk about the powerful literacy gains that student writing, through blogs, could accomplish. A good piece of research to start with is the 90/90/90 study by Douglas Reeves. Good Luck!
We use www.classblogmeister.com to integrate blogging into our curriculum. Many of our teachers utilize this tool with our students. Visit class blogmeister and go to Texas (there are two Texas' in the list but the first one is the only one with anything), then visit Dave Johnston (math teacher using blogging), .Angela (period then Angela)I blog about our digital lockers we utilize. There are very specific security measures in place here. Students use teacher created usernames to identify themselves or don't have to use any names at all. We've been blogging with this site successfully for two years now. Good Luck!
Thanks for the great feedback so far, especially Randy. Wow, a Superintendent that's all about the blogging. If you're ever looking for an Arts and Humanities teacher, let me know! I think I am having some breakthroughs so far. My principal is supporting me, which is good. I emailed our state department's technology consultant and bounced a few ideas off of her. She is very supportive of blogging which is contradictory to my District Tech Coordinator who said that the state department wouldn't allow it. I think this is just going to take time going up each individual step(school improvement documentation and so on..) If anyone is interested I also found what appears to be a great AUP at this school's website www.fpsb.us/AUP-0708.doc. They have a fairly well planned section on web 2.0 tools. Let's keep the comments rolling though, I am sure there are more people like me running into roadblocks just like this.
Good points about the research... I'm currently looking so that I can put together a packet and presentation for my board. If anyone has specifics, let them rip!
I also question the wisdom of someone saying that the state doesn't allow blogging--never heard that one before.

Someone recently posted a research study on how blogging helps improve writing skills, I'll see if I can find that!

One thing we did in our district was first get permission to have one blog domain unblocked-we chose edublogs, since it's an educational blogging community.

One thing you can also do is investigate the laws regarding filtering, which require blocking images, and don't really say anything regarding web 2.0 tools.

Blog posts can be moderated by whoever establishes the blog, so the teacher or you would also be able to exclude posts that aren't appropriate. Consequently, what is the concern about students?

Some districts also have published policies regarding blogging--such as students using initials rather than their names at the elementary level, etc. You might investigate some of those policies.

I've been posting a lot on my blog about filtering issues, as have Miguel Guhlin, Wes Fryer, Scott McLeod, Doug Johnson, and others. You may want to check out their posts for more ideas. My blog is www.futura.edublogs.org (and I have linked to some of their comments about filtering.)

Good luck, and I applaud your professionalism and persistence!
By the way, another bit of data--the National School Board Association has a new very positive policy on social networking that you might want to take a look at.
Great, Ive added these things into my packet of materials for my presentation to the board.. If you can find that study I would love to see it.
The NSBA report is at
And some interesting things it contains!
  • Almost 60 percent of students who use social networking talk about education topics online and, surprisingly, more than 50 percent talk specifically about schoolwork.
  • One in 10 (10 percent) start or contribute to online collaborative projects weekly or more frequently
  • More than six in 10 districts (62 percent) have rules against participating in bulletin boards or blogs
  • More than half of all districts (52 percent) specifically prohibit any use of social networking sites in school.
Note that the report is purely based on polling data, and offers no data to back up the learning utility. But it also shows that the negative consequences are about in line with all other feared consequences.
Hi Scott - ISTE's new web 2.0: new tools, new schools book maybe worth looking at or sharing. I've just had it a couple of days but so far its making a good case for web 2.0 tools in some subtle and not so subtle ways. It's even beginning to convince me...just kidding. Seriously, it's a great resource with some great information. Good luck. Edwin

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