Supporting Al and the MiniLegends


I’m still thinking about Al and his MiniLegends and the shut-down of their blogging project. Now, Steve Hargadon has interviewed Al Upton via his Classroom 2.0 podcasting series, and it allows us a chance to hear Al give voice to his project in person.

Just now, I notice there are 207 comments on Al’s blog showing support and offering ideas for Al and others who are using blogging in education.

Thanks Steve! (And check out all the other cool podcasts and projects that Steve has been undertaking)

Take a listen to Steve’s interview with Al.

Peace (in support),


The MiniLegends Speak Out with a Blog Shout

Some of you may know that there has been blogging trouble brewing on southern part of Australia, as the government there shut down a potentially innovative and certainly exciting blogging adventure called The MiniLegends. The teacher, Al Upton, had his students create blogs and then asked for other educators in the world to server as “virtual mentors” to his students, following their progress in school via the blogs.

The government shut down the project on fears that the blogging mentoring concept exposed students to possible dangers, although Al had a pretty comprehensive document for parents to read and sign off on beforehand.

This morning, I was reading through the many (more than 100) comments at Al’s blog and I was pleased to see the students voicing their own sadness, frustration and outrage over the situation as it now stands (Al is trying to reverse the decision). I think it is vital that we hear the voices of the students in any of these matters.

I looked for my (former) mentee, Sam, but many of the students did not sign their names. I will assume he is there in the mix, somewhere. (Although Sam’s blog is closed, I am hoping by linking with a trackback, he will at least know that I am supporting him and hoping him the best. It’s a silent blogging protest in support of the kids)

Here are some of the thoughts of the MiniLegends (in the interest of not wanting to embarrass any students, I did a little editing cleanup here and there):

I was almost in tears when I heard my blog was shut-down. I was so sad and disappointed. I really enjoyed blogging. I absolutely loved my cluster-map. I sometimes might say all that work was for nothing. The vokis are cool. I start thinking that we wouldn’t be able to talk to our mentors. It used to be fun. Cheers. — Mini17

When I first heard my blog was shut down I felt sad,upset and worried about my blog and what would happen to my blog. How I can’t look at my comment’s and how I can’t look at other people’s blog’s. And how I can’t see my cluster map.The best is the communicating with people I don’t know. I get friend’s. You can put on pictures and posters. I learn faster on the computer’s and blogs. Our new form is called Article 13. I love blogging. — Mini14

When I found out that our blogs were closing down, I felt confused, sad and angry. I felt really sad because I felt that all Al had taught us had gone to waste. We had a vote on a name for our new forum. The new name for our forum is Article 13. It means Rights for the Child.I felt better with my blog in many ways. — Mini22

When I heard that the blog was closed, I was sad because the blog was like everything in my life . But now it is closed so we just have to do something that is like the blog . The blog was great and fun. I loved my blog. It was like my home. — Mini2

Perhaps the days ahead will bring some progress.
Peace (in action),

The end of the MiniLegends?

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

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),