Before beginning our grade 3 blogging project each year, we go through a list of blogging expectations with our students. With any online tool, it is important to discuss guidelines with students so they may participate in a safe, secure and caring online environment. Whether students are in elementary school or secondary school, they should understand appropriate netiquette that is involved with this form of digital communication. The guidelines I set with my students have been inspired from samples seen online and from a reading on digital citizenship norms created by Ribble, Bailey, & Ross (2004). They wrote an article discussing the notion of Digital Citizenship and how to address appropriate technology behavior. They go through nine different norms that need to be addressed when working with Web 2.0 tools. If you are not familiar with these norms, I encourage you to read through their article as they are applicable to all online users.
I have included our blogging expectations as an example of how you could set guidelines with your students or children who wish to blog privately or publicly. Our students are blogging privately, meaning that only their classmates, teacher and parents can view their posts.This is why we allow a little more freedom in our blogging environment as their identify and personal information is better protected. As this is my second year blogging with students, I feel more comfortable working in a private blogging site than opening it to the public. As I get more comfortable with blogging, I will consider opening it up to the public based on administrator input and comfort level.* In the blogging website section, I have removed the rest of the hyperlink for privacy reasons, but students have the direct link to click on to access their classroom account
If you are blogging publicly, you may want to consider adding different expectations as their posts can be viewed by anyone and will have less privacy restrictions on names and images. The age of your students will also determine whether you want to review posts or comments before they are published for the class. I find that with first time bloggers, students need a guidance in how to write appropriate responses to their peers.
Ribble, M., Bailey, G., & Ross, T. (2004). Digital citizenship: Addressing appropriate technology behavior. Learning & Leading with Technology, 32(1), 6-12. Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/EJ695788.pdf