Monday, February 14, 2011

Unintended Benefits

This week we had George Couros Skype into our class to give an overview on what his school does. It sounds like his students and teachers take social media very seriously at his school.

One thing I found interesting was the fact at his school the students get introduced to technology at a very young age. One thing that I have seen from the past is that if your start students on something new on older aged students (grades 7-12) it is MUCH harder to get them "hooked". It is good to see a school trying and succeeding using technology and social media and make me wonder why more schools are not trying it as well.

In terms of blocking certain sites, I think that schools should ease up on it a tad. Through out this course we have learned to try out new things, but one thing that seems to stand in our way is schools that block certain sites. Do not get me wrong there are some things on the net that just should be blocked, but some of the things they block are ridiculous.

Maybe one day we can stop trying to "bubble wrap" and shield students from the "dangers" of the internet, all it takes is some guidance and teaching. Students are not stupid, they can learn.    


  1. Andrew,

    Great thoughts on the conversation. I totally agree with you about a couple of things. Some schools block ridiculous sites that could be used for learning; someone needs to show proof of the good these sites can do. YouTube is a great tool but many schools block it. Why do we not teach appropriate use?

    Also, the kids here are young and we want to start them on a good path and be proactive. My bet is that our students will learn to be better citizens (offline and online)because someone is willing to have the talk with them. Drugs are bad but we talk about them in school to be proactive against the dangers. What about the Internet which has a lot of benefits and dangers? We need to teach our kids before they teach themselves.

  2. I am definitely in agreement with this conversation. It doesn't make any sense to block certain sites from students while at school, because all those students have access to those sites as soon as they get home (unless their parents are also naive).

    It makes much more sense to teach our students about all the useful things found on the internet. George made a very good point about drugs - why don't we treat internet education the same as drug education? Oftentimes, students that develop serious drug or alcohol problems are those children that are sheltered from learning about those substances all their lives, only hearing that they are taboo and to stay away from them. Unfortunately, if you just tell a young person not to do something, most times they will actually do it to see what all the hype is about. If we pull down the barriers and become more open with our students, chances are they will learn from us and take the advice to heart. By doing this, we will also gain the respect of our students, which will benefit them as learners, as well as us as teachers.