Sunday, 20 January 2008

Caution Care and Computers

As an educator in America I would like to add my humble opinion for your consideration. While there are benefits of social networking there are also pitfalls. We now have to address the issues of Cyberbullying-where students can pretend that they are someone else and post unflattering and hurtful comments. Many of the issues with MySpace are very well known. We must acknowledge that this is reality. One of the most important aspects of using any tool should be teaching how to use it properly!

I use both blogs and wiki's in my teaching-however they are used with caution. If I post an assignment on the blog the responses are first sent to my email account where I decide if it will be posted or not. The students blog accounts do have students names nor pictures on them. They are used for educational discussions on topics I am teaching. I do not allow access to personal email accounts,instant messaging, and I have social networking sites blocked. When the students are in the computer lab I have educationally based activities planned for them according to their learning styles, content they are covering, and follow up activies that do not do involve screen time.

On my website I encourage parents to monitor their children if they allow them to take part in social networking sites where student can add friends and friends of friends. I also have posted instructions on how parents can remove underage myspace accounts. Parents are after all responsible for their childrens actions and b ehvior as they are underage.

Technology is a wonderful tool-but kids also need to get outside and play, kick a ball around, and interact with others face to face. It is up to parents and educators to make sure that kids do not get over do computer time.

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