Sunday, February 28, 2010

Differing Perspective on Tech in Schools

Do you agree with Nina's comment that our students need to learn how to live in the real world with digital tools accessible there? Does blocking access to those tools in school hurt them in the long run?

I am one of those "Most Fortunate" teachers who have the freedom to pursue my passion of teaching this generation with the tools they understand because of the structure and support... I am not a veteran teacher, this being my fifth year as the technology teacher for the intermediate school, but I am a veteran parent. I have a nine year old that I am convinced would have been diagnosed as autistic at two years of age. My husband said something to me that I will never forget, and I think applies to the situation discussed in your blog. "He has got to LEARN to LIVE in the REAL WORLD." 
Our students live in the real world. It is my job, and I take it very seriously, to make sure they LEARN to live in the real world by teaching them how to be responsible with the privileges they are given. That applies especially to content on the internet. 

Yes, we have filters in place, but it makes me sad for teachers I talk to that cannot access anything from their school because it is blocked to protect the students. How is that teaching them to live in the real world? I am so grateful I have administrators who have faith in me and my students, and I believe in the final analysis, my students will be better prepared to understand the joys and dangers of accessing the on-line world.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


Seth Anderson said...

I would tend to agree with her, and here is why...
Since the students are going to be using the websites anyway once they get home, why not teach them how to do so responsibly? Websites and software are not evil, they are only a medium. Much like a book can be seen a positive or negative, so it is with web 2.0 sites such as facebook. When a book is seen as having a negative impact on society people don't say ban paper. Rather we want to tech the students how to think and evaluate for themselves. So why not show them how to use sites such as facebook in a responsible and mature manner?

Seth Anderson
Network Admin Wills Point ISD

Krista Scott said...

I agree that schools need to teach students how to navigate the real world. It is unfortunate that laws, such as CIPA, have handicapped teachers' ability to teach these skills. While I believe there are needs for regulations, we must find a way to allow students to access the sites needed to become informed consumer of information literacy. Since all students don't have access to computers at home, there will be students that see the "full" internet at friends houses or outside of school. Not being educated, they can fall victim to a variety of scams.

Working with various school districts, I have seen a wide variety of CIPA interpretation. Some schools block ALL Web 2.0 and collaboration tools while others have a good selection for students to learn.

The age old question remains, where do schools draw the line and still meet CIPA requirements?

Joel VerDuin said...

It seems that if this is concept is broadened out, it comes down to the principle of "protecting children from some perceived harm" on one side of the debate, versus "providing experiences to better prepare children for the world they will live in" on the other. The really odd thing about this conversation as many people will frame it, is that people will approach this as "one or the other" - but it is not, it is BOTH.

Both sides of that broad argument have a degree of correctness. Schools absolutely need to keep children safe and also need to provide experiences which help students to be prepared for the responsibilities and productivity needs of society - but these do not exist as one or the other - it's both.

Once people in districts begin getting to specifics is when this really gets more complicated though.

Is there a specific set of experiences children should have to be considered prepared and are the tools used for that experience well defined and understood (in a school system, state, nationally?)

If that is not the case, then who and by what process is that being decided? Based upon what body of knowledge that provides a foundation for knowing which experiences are more critical and which tools?

How have we defined what is "safe"? How does the concept of gradually loosening control fit into the equation? (moving along the developmental spectrum from complete authoritative control to more defined autonomy)?

Do we all have different ideas on how to handle that?

Interesting article, but in the end, a lot to figure out.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure