This past Tuesday we had presenter Alec Couros speak to us on the “Networked Teacher.” He had the disadvantage of speaking to us last and many of the points he brought up we had discussed already in class. But I found his unique slant on the moving forward with the Internet in classrooms interesting and inspiring.
One of the ideas I found the most interesting was when he mentioned how networks are redefining our connections. Social medias, like facebook, have apparently granted us more ‘friends’ than we may have ever dreamed of having, but that is because the definition of a facebook friend is somehow different than what we used to think of as a friend. This then extends to several other aspects, like communities, citizenship, identity, presence, and privacy. As teachers we need to get a handle on what this changing landscape means to better prepare our students to confront it.
Which leads me to my favourite part of his presentation. This would be his line: “SCHOOLS SHOULD BE LIABLE FOR NOT EDUCATING THEIR STUDENTS TO THE DANGERS AND THE WAYS TO PROTECT THEMSELVES ONLINE!” That may not be an exact quote, but I assure you the sentiment is correct. I feel this is the attitude we should be carrying with us as educators. And not just because it motivates us to teach our students better online practices, but because it will open the eyes of those dragging their heels administrators that block websites and limit students contact with computers and the Internet. It is this sort of thinking that can help usher in a new attitude towards what we are teaching our kids and how we do it!