Yesterday, while on Twitter, word filtered through the networks that Al Upton has been forced by his South Australian government to shut down his MiniLegend mentor blog project. Although it appears that Al received proper permission from parents and followed all sorts of acceptable rules of practice with blogging, the government determined otherwise and issued a sort of cease-and-desist order to the project (known as an Order of Closure). As of this morning, there were almost 40 comments of support for Al and his kids, and many were testimonials to Al, personally. (see http://alupton.edublogs.org/)
Many, many teachers have gone to Al’s defense and written up a variety of comments for a variety of blogs to give Al some support, should he decide to fight the decision and try to sway the authorities to step back, take a breath and examine the issues. I also posted my thoughts on the short-sightedness of the action. In this world of more and more connections, where students need to develop critical thinking skills and move onto a platform of collaboration, the use of a mentor through blogging seemed appropriate to me.
Anne M. (host of this week’s Day in a Sentence, by the way) provided a list of 20 Reasons Why Students Should Blog that is worth a look.
I had signed up as a mentor to a blogger named Sam, and I had been looking forward to following his progress as a blogger this year. He had written that he was beginning to research the brain and I thought that topic would offer some rich conversations between me, as his faraway mentor, and him.
I had heard of the mentor project, as many of us did, through Sue Waters, and folks are also leaving comments on her blog. I know she was in Skype with Al yesterday and I wonder how we might find ways to show further support?
Meanwhile, I want to wish my mentee, Sam, the best. Sam, the brain works in magical ways but we often get caught up in emotion when reason and intellect would better serve our needs. Perhaps we can relay that lesson to the South Australian government?
Peace (in opening up the world),
We are all hoping that Al is able to discuss the issues with his Department and that the program will be able to continue ahead. He is in the process at the moment of gathering information together to discuss with them. So if you have anything that will help e.g. policies on blogging used by your district and anything that discusses how much is too much information for students to use online.
I posted a few documents on both your blog and Al’s blog.
Hope it bolsters his argument