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My husband weighs in

This morning at breakfast, my husband asked me what I blogged about this week. This is not our usual breakfast banter.  So, I was eager for an opportunity to catch him up.

I told him about my recent survey of use and filtering of 2.0 tools. I told him about how, when I travel to conferences to talk about the new tools that my students are using, so many of the folks in the audience tell me their districts or schools have blocked them. 

Here is his response as an educational outsider:

It seems that instead of seeing evolving technology as new tools for use in the classroom, some decision-makers see these tools as evils to avoid.

But . . .

Are we supposed to look at the world through blinders or shutters, or are are we going to open the windows and look straight out?

Sure, the world’s a scary place, but what are we going to do about it?

Did sticking our heads in the ground prevent or encourage 9/11?

Granted, intellectual curiosity is coupled with responsibility. But few seem willing to shoulder the responsible.  "It was the booze; it was the bartender; it was the cell phone . . ."

Teaching responsibility is a big part of the job. We can teach them about all the new tools they might now use to research, write, communicate, but we also have to teach them how to use these tools ethically, conscientiously, safely, creatively.

If we don’t teach this as an explicit part of our new curriculum, how can we ever expect our students to navigate their new landscapes as responsible citizens?

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Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is the teacher-librarian at Springfield Township High School, a technology writer, and a blogger. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

Comments

  1. Jennifer Garcia says:

    Joyce it is heartwarming to hear this from someone who is not a teacher. I know a lot of educators and non-educators actually think this way. The parents of the students I teach certainly do. Perhaps Admin. teams need to step back and find out what the everyone else’s opinions are prior to blocking the very tools that are empowering students to learn. Education- the word speaks for itself, so let’s educate instead of reverting to censorship rooted in the fear of what could be if we don’t educate. Hats off to your hubby!

  2. joycevalenza says:

    Jennifer, It surprised me to hear his reaction. Our desire to safely use new tools makes perfect sense to outsiders once they hear the purpose. At the high school level, the kids need to recognize deep and powerful purposes for tools they already love for social activities. We used to teach the power of the pen . . .
    How are things in Salvador?

  3. Ali Jones says:

    Joyce,

    I have been doing a lot of research on the new Web 2.0 tools, and I have found that it is exactly as you say; our technology department has blocked the majority of these tools within our school district. It is indeed frustrating when we as teachers are more than ready to jump in head first and begin instructing our students in the “way of Web 2.0” (I say this in the tone of a Zen master speaking to his disciples….), only to find that we are blocked at every turn.

    Here’s what I think. It’s like the old adage says: “People fear the unknown.” I believe that’s what we are dealing with here; administrators that do not know how to properly use these tools themselves, therefore they are afraid to allow the students to do so. So what do we as educators do? We educate our administrators! Teach them that these social networking types of tools could be an asset to our classrooms, WITH PROPER ETHICAL INSTRUCTION. If we begin using these tools in our classrooms, we begin speaking the students’ language, and then guess what? The students will listen!

    Yes, we need to teach students how to ethically use these tools, because let’s be honest, the way students use computers at home vs. the way they use them at school probably differ greatly. You are correct; we must integrate ethics into our Web 2.0 curriculum in order to prove to our administrators that Web 2.0 is a viable teaching tool. We should teach computer ethics to our students because there will be some students whose parents do not instill these types of values in them. Computers are becoming pieces of furniture in both the household and the school, so it is our responsibility to teach students how to correctly use them.

    This was a great blog posting; I feel strongly that we should allow Web 2.0 into our schools, and it’s nice to see people outside the educational bubble that feel the same.

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