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Educating Boys, Can Blogs Be the Hook?

Today Dr. Earl Holliday, right in photo, and Kerry Bass are presenting at our Blog2Learn workshop for Language Arts teachers.

Holliday is talking about how boys, especially minority boys, are being left behind educationally. Today in Cobb County, Georgia schools only 74 percent of the boys are graduating. Hispanic boys are about 50 percent, African American in the 60 percent range. He had a 44 percent transience rate, when he was a principal.

In Georgia only 51 percent of the males graduate from high school.

In this project, we are trying to figure out how blogging might make a difference. With blogging, Holliday tells the teachers, you don’t have to do it alone. You can be part of a network. In the classroom, we can use blogs as a hook. The boys just need some academic affirmation to get them started.

Holliday talks of the radical changes that in the last 25-30 years in medicine, automobiles, computer technology, manufacturing, global economy, family composition, churches, and even the world’s map, and then asks: What about schools?

You take a teacher from 1975 and put her in a classroom today and she could pick up where she left off, schools have not changed, but our kids have.

“We have to try things a little differently.”

Blogging might be it. No one is listening to these kids, now they have an audience. It is not just in their class, they have a whole network. “These are talented kids, they just have not had a vehicle to release these talents.”

Holliday says try taking the toughest boys in the school. Volunteer to take 12 of them. Just boys in the class and then introduce blogging to them. Holliday believes they will do well. Get your pre-scores first. Then after a semester your scores are going to go up. Gender separated classes tend to do well.

Not all of them will be interested, but even so the drop out numbers among boys are so large that even if the blogging attracts only a partial percentage of the students, it can have a big effect in the real numbers.

Kerry Bass says the digital divide has not gone away, but there is growing access. However, the new way of defining the divide is the speed of access. For African Americans, about 40 percent of those families don’t have computers at home. Fewer have broadband.

Broadband access at the home will be a big challenge especially when sophisticated assignments are given within the schools.

Bass says the two big issues that our kids will face will be access and risk.

Holliday suggests starting a blogging club with a targeted at risk group for after school where the students get the access needed. .

To see more of the Holliday and Bass work click here.

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