Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Responsible Technology

We need to teach students to be responsible citizens when it comes to the use of technology. Students need to understand courtesy, respect and responsibility. If a teacher asks a student to close his laptop or turn off his calculator, then he should do so out of courtesy and respect. There may be several reasons why a teacher asks a student to follow these directions that may or may not be explained. The teacher needs to be respectful and firm. If a teacher asks a student to create a pseudonym for a classroom blog, then a student should do so. The teacher should explain issues of privacy and respect. I have started another student blog about Shakespeare with my ELA 9 class, and we have spent some time discussing respect and privacy. We have created “user names” and we are working on our fist trial posts. Today I asked my students to comment on the postings of other students. We discussed what and how. One of the students asked if they should point out spelling/grammar errors to their fellow classmates. There were several suggestions, and we have decided that the best way to correct our peers is through modeling. For example if one student notices that every possessive apostrophe is missing in a post. Rather than focusing on this, it was best to model the appropriate use through a reflective comment. All of the students agreed that this might be the best method. We are going to experiment with this. I am currently teaching one class about the use of wikis. They have not “joined” my space, but I have provided the website. Almost immediately we had an issue with names being erased as we tried out the editing. At first I thought that the names were being erased on purpose, but this was not completely the case. There was one name erased on purpose, but the kids are willing to help me solve this issue. This is an example of bullying, and it is an issue that surfaces once in awhile with this group of students. I would like to say that things are now all rosy, but it is an ongoing issue. I feel less confident with some of the younger students with regards to security and respect with regards to some of the technological applications including blogging. This must become a priority.

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