I didn't have my camera but several of the authors have already blogged about the session--check out Laure Anderson, Barbara O'Connor, Lisa Yee and Justine Larbalestier's blog posts.
During the question/answer phase of the presentation, the authors discussed and raise very important issues that I think all teachers should consider. One of the questions I asked was about receiving posts that contained personal information. Children and young adults become very connected to these authors through their books and the authors' blogs allow them a way to have direct communication. I wondered if children/young adults were posting very personal information in the comments sections of the authors' blogs. Most of the authors indicated that some students have posted personal information, but not too many. This lead to several more comments from the authors.
Laurie Anderson addressed the need to teach students how to compose appropriate email communication in addition to or instead of traditional letter writing (which is, after all, dead, right?). I not only agree with Laurie, but I believe it is essential. Email and other forms of Internet communication is and will continue to be the major form of writing students will do in the work place. School is quickly becoming the only place were students are required to use handwriting (especially cursive).
The authors also talked about the overwhelming amount of email they receive from students that is obviously part of a classroom assignment in which students "demand" a response from the author quickly because the response is required as part of their grade on an assignment. Authors, like everyone else, want genuine responses to their books. Justine Larbalestier talked about receiving a letter from a young adult in response to her book Liar that brought tears to her eyes. It is easy to see why tons of email asking, "Where do you get your ideas" and "why do you like to write," are not on the top of their list of questions to receive from students; especially when often, the answers to many of those questions can be found on their website or other Internet resources. This should definitely be a part of teaching students how to effectively use email communication.
What are your thoughts?