After researching various social networks, I feel more comfortable about the possibility of using them in my classroom. I was not aware that there were so many options for educators to choose from. The educational blogs and sites are really user-friendly and secure. Knowing this, alleviates my fears about getting students involved in online chats. I like that most of the education networks give the teacher access and control over student accounts.
I think that prior to this learning topic, I had a negative impression of social networking and thought it was only used for gossip, comments, and opinions. Now I see that there are so many other valuable, educational uses. Communicating with classrooms from around the world is an amazing experience for kids and they could learn so much from other cultures. Before social networking and the internet, this was virtually impossible and now it is so easy. I would like to investigate how teachers get connected with other classrooms that are relevant to their curriculum. I think I will talk to the teacher from my school who I know recently did this and see what the experience was like.
When talking with my colleagues next year, I want to bring up digital citizenship and see if they are comfortable creating a document, similar to the wiki we created in this class, that can be distributed to students. I like that it is written in a language 6th graders can understand and relate to. I also think that it is important for students to understand how valuable technology is as a learning tool and that there are appropriate and inappropriate uses of technology in school. Unfortunately, in the past I feel that our school has focused quite a bit on the inappropriate uses and students feel that they have to be sneaky about having a cell phone. When we don’t allow the technology they have to be a part of their learning, we are encouraging them to use it behind our backs and in ways we don’t like. This has been a topic of conversation with our staff over the past few years and most teachers vote that cell phones or any personal device is absolutely not allowed in classrooms. I have recently seen a slight change in this attitude since the administrators have been hiring younger teachers. Technology is such a valuable learning tool that I hate to see it portrayed the way it is in our school.
Overall, I am excited to try some new technology in my classroom. I think the perfect avenue for this will be to experiment with various networks through my GT homeroom class. Once we work out problems and kinks in that class, I will be happy to implement them in my language arts classes. Many of the GT kids have technology goals and it is neat to see their expertise come out; I always learn so much from them.
My views of social networking have gone from negative to excited and hopeful!