Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Privacy, Permissions, Protection?!?

I thought some great points were brought up in the Will Richardson interview regarding the digital world our students live in. Blocking students from the tools they use daily to learn and stay connected is not beneficial to their learning experiences. I would not go as far as to call it abuse, but we can place more emphasis on the tools students are comfortable with and the ways they can be used to make them passionate learners. Using tools like wikis, blogs, Facebook, animoto, etc. definitely give teachers an edge to personalize students learning experiences. We cannot effectively teach every student all the material they need, but we can give them the fundamental tools and provide them with the digital resources to take control of their learning.

The fear when working with technology is the privacy, permissions, and protection of the student. Students must be protected from unwanted attention, and many of the readings this week offer advice to deter that attention by the using control settings, passwords, and viewing options. Then there is this idea of "transparency" and providing access to as much academic content as possible to allow students to learn from these digital environments. If you ask me, as long as these technology tools don't ask students to disclose any personal information I do not see the harm in giving them free reign to explore academic content.

Is it more beneficial for teachers and students communicate on social networks (Twitter and Facebook)? Or is it best to provide online resources that remove the educator? I see a huge benefit in having access to educators through social networks. Teachers can serve as guidance and conversation moderators to ensure students are getting the right content, discussing their difficulties, and can then use that information to make the classroom experience more valuable. There are also great tools that can come in handy when appropriate. For example, below was an interview posted in 2009 regarding the top learning applications on Facebook.

Two programs that are of particular interest to STEM majors are Math Formulas and HeyMath. These tools make technology, math, and innovation much easier to communicate via social networks. Using these mathematical communication tools discussions, projects, and support can be offered online to make out of class learning easier. This also allows students to articulate their mathematical thoughts just as simply as their English or history concepts. Is wonder if something similar exists for blogs?!?



  1. Hi Mike!

    I like that you brought up the point that digital tools really do personalize students' learning. The YouTube video was also very insightful. I thought it was really great that there are so many resources for education out there for fans of facebook. Students in the 21st century are surrounded by and are literally obsessed with technology. To quote the video: "Don't fight it, find a way to use it!" If students enjoy tools like facebook and that will engage them and focus their interest in the subject matter, then it is up to the teacher to make it happen.

  2. I think you are right that one of the fears about using technology is making sure that the students are protected and things are kept private. One way to alleviate that fear is by educating students and parents alike in ways to keep things private and stay safe while using the internet.

    You ask the question "Is it more beneficial for teachers and students communicate on social networks (Twitter and Facebook)? Or is it best to provide online resources that remove the educator?" I think that is a complicated question. While I agree that it is very beneficial for students to have access to teachers in ways other than just face-to-face in the classroom, I'm not sure facebook is the right place for that. How will teachers be able to keep their personal lives separate from their students if they allow student access to them through facebook? While I think it's good for students to see that teachers are human and have lives and friends, I'm not sure that facebook is the right place for that.