The Continuing Saga

This post was last updated on November 19th, 2013 at 07:36 am

I had one of the strangest events of my professional career on Tuesday night. Coming back from 10 days in Europe I checked my calender to see I was schedule to speak at a Parent night at a high school in a neigbouring district.  I remember being asked a few months early about speaking as part of a 3 person lineup on Internet Safety. I was very up front with the organizer stating that I don’t spend a great deal of time on the dangers and lures of the internet but rather how to leverage online spaces for positive purposes. I acknowledge dangers but also utilize many research studies that debunk common beliefs about internet safety.

So spend part of Tuesday revamping and cleaning up a few previous presentations to fit into the 20 minute time slot I was given. I was called that afternoon to confirm my appearance with the school counselor and a local police officer. About 30 parents showed up which is pretty typical. While I recall being told about the scheme set up to test kids willingness to add friends in Facebook, I didn’t … Read the rest

Control is a Worthless Pursuit

This post was last updated on December 12th, 2011 at 03:16 pm

On first reading, this story from a Wisconsin school district, bugs me. The district is planning to ban any communication between teachers and students on social networking sites and instant messaging services.  I realize there are two sides to every issue but to me, this represents so much of what makes school irrelevant for students.

“There is absolutely no reason that any teacher right now should be on Facebook with their students,” Thompson said. “You cannot control it.”

Control? When will we realize that the type of control some schools are still clinging to is over? Read Pesce’s article for more thoughts on that.

Social networking services are implicitly interconnected, and Thompson argued that unintentional communication between student and staff members could too easily occur.

That’s the point. The ability for teachers to connect with students in whatever space works for them has to be seen as a step forward.  Not every teacher is comfortable with a relationship that extends beyond the classroom. But many are and they shouldn’t be prohibited from that. It may not be via Facebook but goodness knows there a gazillion other spaces and … Read the rest

When technology bites back

This post was last updated on September 5th, 2011 at 11:04 am

I listened to this podcast last summer but I think the ideas and shifts discussed are worth sharing. Danah boyd and Marc Fisher discuss a couple of issues. First, the implications of student publishing and their perceptions of privacy and communication. The second half of the discussion focuses on teachers and how they choose to be connected to their students.

The complexities of these topics imply more problematiztion rather than definite answers.  The desire for educators to have clear cut responses and answers to a shifting society is becoming more and more moot.  Technology continues to raises at least as many questions as it does answers.

Original Photo: danah boyd at HHL08 by Ewan Mcintosh
http://flickr.com/photos/edublogger/2941900634/Read the rest