Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Journal 4 - It's Time to Trust Teachers with the Internet (NETS-T I, II, III, IV, V)

Schaffhauser, D. (2010, December 01). It's Time to Trust Teachers with the Internet: A Conversation with Meg Oriston. Retrieved from http://thejournal.com/articles/2010/12/01/its-time-to-trust-teachers-with-the-internet-a-conversation-with-meg-ormiston.aspx?sc_lang=en.

Summary: Schaffhauser, a writer for THE Journal, discusses how 21st teachers are asked to teach using current teaching methods but are denied many web-based tools to accomplish their goals.  It is a this point that Schaffhauser begins her interview with Meg Oriston, a former curriculum coach, school board member, conference presenter, professional specialist, and grant facilitator.  Oriston currently consults schools on how to best incorporate technology into the 21st century classroom.  During the interview Oriston reflects on the strict Internet policies of many schools, polices that Oriston believes go to far.  Oriston states that while schools block large amounts of sites, students other Internet sources such as cellphones and home computers remain unblocked.  In an age were cyber-bulling is becoming a relevant issue technology in the classroom allows teachers to address the issue.  21st century teachers, Oriston states, must not only teach the basic curriculum but should become responsible for teaching 21st century students Internet protocol and safety.  However the polices must first change before teachers give up on using the tools that are so readily available.

Question 1: Should social-networking sites be unblocked in schools, especially middle and high schools?  Why or why not? 

Answer 1: I believe social-networking sites should be unblocked in schools.  When the current population of the United States think of social-networking the idea of Myspace and Facebook immediately come to mind.  While both have the potential to be monumental time-wasters, they and many other sites can prove beneficial to a student's education.  Further when social-networking can be addressed in a classroom setting a responsible member of society, in this case a teacher, can address the protocol, a conversation a student may never hear if social-networking was unavailable in classrooms. 
Question 2: Should all sites be unblocked?

Answer 2: Absolutely not.  There are numerous sites on the Internet that should never be accessible on school grounds.  However those sites are either illegal for students to view or prove entirely detrimental to the learning process.  However far too many sites are blocked that do not fall under either one of those categories and can in fact be helpful to the student's learning.  Many times I have found myself in my mother's classroom attempting to prepare a lesson but unable to print out a crossword puzzle because the word "game" was blocked.  How can a teacher move forward in the 21st century when they are not provided with the tools they need?

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