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Social technologies vs. safety March 10, 2009

Posted by handspiker in Uncategorized.
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I was recently reading some excerpts from Weblogg-ed by Will Richardson. In the past few weeks many of you might remember that I have been struggling with using social web tools in the classroom to increase communication between students/parents and myself. At virtually every angle I seem to be blocked by policies and overactive web filters. A quote from this site spoke to me and sums up my feelings well:

Specific genres of social media may come and go, but these underlying properties are here to stay. We won’t turn the clock back on these. Social network sites may end up being a fad from the first decade of the 21st century, but new forms of technology will continue to leverage social network as we go forward. If we get away from thinking about the specific technologies and focus on the properties and dynamics, we can see how change is unfolding before our eyes. One of the key challenges is learning how to adapt to an environment in which these properties and dynamics play a key role. This is a systems problem. We are all implicated in it – as developers and policy makers, as parents and friends, as individuals and as citizens. Social media is here to stay. Now we just have to evolve with it.

I know there is much debate regarding these policies and whether they are useful or not. I do see both sides of the argument. I understand that we are asked to integrate technologies within the classroom and that there are underlying concerns for students safety. As the quote reads to me these technologies, in whatever form they take, are here to stay. Is the question of blocking potentially harmful web sites, info, materials, social networks, etc. the solution? How can schools promote the use of technology to increase communication and then block them? Is the solution, as the quote states to me, the job of parents, friends, students, and educators to evolve with the technologies and educate students to use it effectively?