This is an update on the blogging experience with my students.
First the frustrations. A large number of my students have no experience remember usernames and passwords. Some students still haven’t logged into the computer after the first 10 minutes of class because I have to spend so much time retrieving network logins. Of those that get on the network successfully approximately 1/3 have forgotten the username and password for blogger.com. Some of those students created an account using a fake email address because they don’t have a real one, and hence cannot retrieve their account information. These issues, however, only reinforce the notion that the students need to blog. Lacking the ability to fill out simple registration forms and to remember login information proves that most of these students are passive recipients of information and rarely create or publicize their own work.
(Interestingly, a number of students have stored their passwords on their phones. Security issues aside, this would seem to be a perfectly acceptable use of a mobile phone in school.)
Ineptness in filling out the forms has even caused the blogger.com spam detection software to erringly label some of my students as spambots. Apparently, impatience with site forced some them to repeatedly click the “CREATE” button. Some of them also had problems reading the cryptic letters meant to block spamming. Like a computer the students have a hard time recognizing non-standard fonts.
Not all has been bad. I am excited that some of the students have already accessed the blog from places other than school. The next step is to get some quality posts and to make the blog URLs available to parents and other staff members.