Essential things to teach my students about blogging:
- To insure the safety of yourself and your classmates, don't use any personal identifiers (last names, specific locations, birth dates, or phone numbers) about yourself or others.
- Connecting with Others: Blogging is a great way to connect with others that share your common interests. When communicating with other bloggers, be sure to keep in mind that they are independent individuals with the ability to say or share what they see fit. If any language or content that another blogger shares with you on your blog makes you uncomfortable, know the process for reporting inappropriate behavior and make sure the teacher is aware of any problems or issues. Never meet in person with anyone you don't know.
- Responsibility and Accountability: What you say and do online is part of your digital identity, and you should share that identity with your parents and friends. Our blog is a classroom site: do not include any language, material, or links to material that you wouldn't use in a formal class presentation. Comments and blog material should be constructive, appropriate, and useful for the classroom. While reflecting on personal experiences is essential to second language learning, be aware that you are displaying this information about your private life in a public forum. Do not include information or details that might offend or distress myself, your parents, your classmates, or your classmates' families. Take ownership of what you express.
No matter which type of networking (blogging or otherwise) we would use in the classroom, I'd make sure all of my students were well-educated on the issue of cyber bullying, because it is an increasingly important issue today, especially because of the amount of young suicides related to cyber bullying. This article is a great place to start learning about what it is and how to prevent it.