I am so thankful to be at a school that allows students to have their cell phones and iTouches readily available to them. At my previous school, I was constantly having to police cell phones. Technology can be great, but it can also be a huge distraction for kids. There are so many days when I walk through our hallways and see the students on sites like Pinterest, Addicting Games, etc. Social media sites have been blocked, but the kids all do the same thing I do. Their use the 3G and 4G elements to their phones and connect anyway. I think having them blocked does limit usage, but kids that want to be on FB or Twitter will find a way. HootSuite.com is not blocked at school so that is a way of getting around the filters too. I want kids to learn to be responsible with their technology, but I am having a difficult figuring out how to teach that in my classroom. The contributors of the panel suggested creating "engaging" lessons. Are all lessons going to be engaging? I try, but obviously I am missing the boat some days. Am I for or against blocking social medial? I don't know.
One concern brought up by the panel was kids creating groups against a specific teacher or school. I think just our presence as educators on these sites will help cut down on this sort of behavior. Just like a student wouldn't say certain things to our face, if we are online, and can see what they are doing, would that not cut down on the groups?
The panel discussed professional verses personal FB and Twitter accounts. Don't we teach our kids nothing online is private? Even if we set our profiles to private, we still run the risk of exposing too much. The best thing to do is the right thing, as one panel member said. If you are a professional, you will not post anything inappropriate. If anything were to come up, use it as a teachable moment. For example, maybe an old high school friend posts a picture of you that you aren't super proud of. Use that as a time to teach the students. The fact that you are human will automatically give you better rapport with them.
I like what the Spanish 2 teacher is doing. I have had numerous occasions when the phone a friend option would come in handy. To be quite honest, I haven't figured Twitter out yet. I am trying so hard, but I really don't know how to implement it in the classroom. I guess Monday my Spanish 2 class and I will do some brainstorming.
I think social media can be an excellent tool. I would have no problem creating a group for my classes and using it as a method of communication. I just want to use it in the right way. I do have a few students that do not have FB or Twitter accounts. I don't want them to feel left out in any way. How would I involve those students?