Social Media and Education

Posts Tagged ‘Web Filtering

In my last post, I linked a video from the the 140 Conference recently held in New York City. As I listened to the participants, I decided to begin learning a bit more about each of them. In his blog, My Island View, Tom Whitby put up a post he titled, Deal or No Deal. He hoped that his post would begin a focused dialogue on Social Media in Education. He has his readers off to a good start.

I’m not going to rehash his comments here. I would like you to click the above link and read the article. Next, read the comments. See how others are reacting to his points. Then, come back and tell me what you think. Let’s spread the dialog across the web by sharing ideas and opinions via our own blogs, Twitter, FaceBook, and more. Take the questions that are raised and the points that are made to your own PLN’s.

We need to begin forming a plan of action for the roles of social media in education. As the discussion continues on the internet, it must begin to move purposefully into the agendas of our PTO’s, administrators, and school boards.

Rick

More predators prefer to target kids online.

This article is a must-read for teachers, parents, and kids who are old enough to understand.  I am an advocate of using social media applications for learning in the classroom.  Education is the key for keeping our kids safe on the web.  They are surrounded by technology and can access it from anywhere.  Parents and teachers must work together to teach children how to safely navigate the web.  Children will go there regardless of the rules in place.  Why not teach them by showing responsible and safe use of social media sites?

As I explore various opinions and perspectives on social media and education, it is important to create a benchmark of where my own school district stands on the issues. It is also important to say that many of those in our leadership are forwarding-lookiing, possibility thinkers. It is also important to say that the safety of our students is of the utmost importance.

Currently, cell phones are absolutely forbidden in the High School. Multiple violations of the policy can and does result in expulsion. We subscribe to Fortigard, a web filtering company, for the purpose of blocking inappropriate web sites. Social media sites are among those that are blocked. Some of those sites include Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Blogger, Skype, de.lic.ious, Digg, and more.

There is a review policy in place, but feedback is not immediate or always approved. I have been successful in getting Skype and Twitter unblocked for my “Teacher” computer but little else. I have another WordPress blog on digital literacy that is now unblocked to read, but I cannot access the editing page. This blog is not yet approved for viewing or editing at school.

But progress is being made! And for that, many of us are appreciative. Our Superintendent, Dr. Craig Hintz is now on Twitter. He and I are now following each other’s posts. Warsaw now has a podcast server with a wiki and blogging feature. Students are now able to make blog posts and comment on each other’s activities. Currently the blogs and such are only available on the school network, but within a few days, that access will be extended to the rest of the world. Teachers will be able to post information to parents and healthy learning interactions we be able to occur outside of the classroom. This is a huge step forward.

New initiatives have begun using iPod Touches in the classroom. This is opening the door for the phone policies to be revised as administrators are learning that these devices can also serve as responders and have other educational values in the classroom. Discussions about the educational opportunities of Twitter and Facebook are also afoot. I look forward to the discussions that uses of social media will bring to our schools.

Rick Glass

Here are some interesting statistics to mull.

New Hampshire teachers say filtering hampers teaching.

To what extent should school technology policies permit the use of social media applications?  How does the use of social media in the classroom increase student learning?  To explore the range of answers to these questions and formulate a defensible opinions, I have created this blog.  This blog will reflect a variety of insights from parents, classroom teachers, tech integration specialists, and administrators.

According to Wikipedia,

“Social media is media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media uses Internet and web-based technologies to transform broadcast media monologues (one to many) into social media dialogues (many to many). It supports the democratization of knowledge and information, transforming people from content consumers into content producers.”

Stated in that way, one might think a course in social media might have a place in a high school communications program.  One might see the definition a bit differently and speculate that social media could have a role in the education of all students, moving them from “…content consumers into content producers.”  After all, isn’t much of teaching about evaluating student products?

Opinions of social media in education begin to shift when some parents, teachers, administrators, and board members first hear examples of social media programs:  Blogger, WordPress, Xanga, Facebook, Twitter, Hi5, MySpace, Delicious, StumbleUpon, Digg, Mixx, You Tube, Skype, Flickr, and Second Life to name a few.

Some school corporations have an outright ban on all social media applications.  Others open particular applications on a case by case basis.  At this point in time, I do not know of a corporation that allows unrestrained access.

It should also be pointed out the social media is rapidly becoming the primary growth tool for many businesses.  It also plays a powerful role in politics as politicians learn to use it to communicate their platforms.

I am excited about the potential of this blog.  I hope it encourages thoughtful reflection, evokes profitable exchanges, and results in purposeful evaluation of practices and policies in education.  I look forward to your comments and our discussions.

Rick Glass



The Educator’s PLN

Teaching Tech-Savvy Kids

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