Monthly Archives: February 2011

Safety

As I have been trying different techniques, examining digital storytelling, and in general ‘broadening my horizons’ in regards to digital citizenship and literacy, I have been constantly challenged with the nagging question of how to keep children safe.

I do not deny that using technology in the classroom and teaching children to do the same is essential, however, I do think that we need to worry about their safety. I don’t think that we need to filter every last thing on the internet, but I also don’t think that children, especially young ones, should have free reign and the ability to do what they want when they want.

In high school, and even middle years you can explain to kids the reality of using the internet, you can explain to them how someone could ‘use’ them, or how they could be lying about their real identity, or a whole list of other possibilities. But how do you explain those frightening possibilities to young children? Do you even discuss them?

I took this opportunity to look up Internet Safety for children on the Internet, and I found a few resources to help:

1. http://www.badguypatrol.ca/ A game for children to play (needs a bit of debriefing with the children)

2. http://www.wsd1.org/internetsafety/ A compiled list of resources for internet teaching internet safety

3. http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/games/index.cfm Games for middle years students on the realities of the internet.

There are many more resources out there for educators, parents and children to access. I guess I have realized that you can and should address the issue of what could happen if children aren’t safe on the internet, even if the children are young! It is more challenging, and no, you can’t say all the same things as you might to older children, but if we don’t start teaching children from a young age, then we are not doing our jobs as educators.

 


Youtube used Well

Alec Couros put a link on Diigo to this blog, which discusses an effective way to use Youtube, and I loved this idea!! I used Youtube a lot in my classroom, but obviously not as efficiently as I could have! I had a number of students who actually learned better when they were in front of a computer with an interactive site or game. Had I known about this kind of Youtube video, I would have created a lot more for my students to really meet their needs and differentiate my teaching.  I am excited about using this, but I do wonder how long it would take to make a video like this. I will definetly be trying it, and checking it out, if anyone has had any experience doing this, please share!


Grading

Just a thought!


A bit of Humour!

This article was shared with me from a friend. It comes from the Chronicle Herald in Halifax, and was written on Monday February 7th. It was meant to be funny, but really it is kind of sad.  Enjoy!



Click on the picture to access the article


Blogging Struggles

After watching Micheal Wesch’s video on Youtube, I was thinking about how vlogging for those students has been posing the same problems as blogging for me.  I have found myself finding it hard to find things to talk about, because I am writing to ‘no one’. Although I know that someone will read this, I don’t know who it is, or anything about them! I know that it is supposed to be for me, and that this is a way for me to work through some of my own thoughts, and that I shouldn’t be worrying about anyone else. I just can’t help but wonder what people will think of me based on what I write, and how I write. I don’t want people to gain a false perception of me, but how can I avoid that? If I am having this many difficulties with blogging, how could I ever effectively teach my students the use of blogging?

Not only is this difficult, but, as I mentioned before, I am struggling with some self esteem issues. I have never really considered myself a person who cares what others think of me, but in the face of this new form of conversation and self expression, I  find myself struggling with the desire to express myself in a way that others will appreciate me for me. When you have a face to face conversation, people can read your body language, your tone of voice, and you can tell if they have taken offense to something you have said. However, with blogging you can not do any of those things. You can not see me, you can not hear my tone of voice, nor can I tell if you are offended or upset with me. This is what worries me. I want people to understand that sometimes I have strong opinions, but it doesn’t mean that I will push them on anyone else, or try and force them to agree with me, but  how do I make that more than just words in a blog?

Even as I write this, I can’t help but think of only one thing; comments. Comments become the essential aspect of blogs. Without comments there would be no way to support someone, clarify a misunderstanding, or disagree with someone. Yet, as essential as I believe comments to be, I also think that many people misuse them. On Youtube or Facebook, or even a couple of normal blogs that I have read, people leave some disgusting comments. It seems that with some people comments act as a way for people to say terrible things that they would never say in person, without worry of how it will affect their personality or reflect on their character. Yet as I look on other blogs and Social networking sites, I see that people who have had more experience with the internet, and with Social Networking seem to be acting on an unspoken set of standards.

Despite my initial reactions, I feel as though blogging could be helpful for students. However, before I would ever teach my students to blog, and to use this tool effectively, I would need to feel comfortable myself. I am going to attempt to keep going, I want to make this a worthwhile experience, but I need all the help I can get.

If anyone has any thoughts, or tips, I would to hear them!