I’ve started reading Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms to prepare for a class I’m going to team teach in June. There’s some really interesting stuff in here!
My students knew they would not be kept totally safe from the ne’erdo-wells of the world, but they also knew they had a choice as to how they responded when faced with such a situation. (page 12)
The longer I work with technology in my classroom the more I see the real good stuff lies in the area of collaboration. You can keep the collaboration inside the walls of your school but kids can do that kind of collaborating with out the aid of a computer or an internet connection. But to share your ideas and work outside the walls of your local school is where the big connections begin to occur. How do people from outside your local area respond to your ideas? Can you communicate them clearly? In order to find these things out the school community (teachers, parents, students, etc) need to be willing to put our student work out where the world can see them. This means that there is a possibility of “ne-erdo-well” having access to your works. What could go wrong? LOTS! But the school community needs to be willing to educate our students, teachers, and families how to cope with this possibility. This is why it is imperative that teachers first try out these various Web 2.0 applications on their own BEFORE jumping head-first into bringing students into the mix.
- If some one you don’t know leaves an inappropriate comment on your blog do you know what to do? How do you get rid of it quickly? How do you keep it from showing up in the first place?
- What if you don’t have full control of the space where the comment is posted? Who do you tell?
- Where do you go to change how your name is displayed so that your last name isn’t posted?
- What if someone disagrees with something you’ve posted? How do you respond to that? Should you respond at all?
These are all things the teacher needs to be ready to address. These same kinds of problems exist in the real world and we’ve educated our students about how to cope with them. Before we go on field trips we tell students not to talk to strangers. We tell them to stay together with a buddy. We tell them to find a teacher and tell them when someone is hurt. We remind them that their behavior outside of our school’s walls will reflect back onto our school and community. We’ve made a plan. Everyone knows what do to and we can go safely on our trip. This same process needs to happen before we leave the virtual walls of our schools. If everyone doesn’t know what to do then people get hurt. But we don’t let the fear of negative interactions keeps us prisoner inside the brick walls of our buildings. We can’t let the small possibility that something small may go awry keep us from letting our students experience these wonderful learning opportunities!