Control is a Worthless Pursuit

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 ways in which people connect. One of the very best discussions on … Read the rest

When technology bites back

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