541- Walled Gardens

The advantage of using social networking or “opening up the walled gardens” in the classroom is increased communication. As the world flattens and technology accelerates humankind exponentially towards new ideas, communication is the glue that keeps us moving together. Like dancers in motion, we have to work together and communicate in order to move forward.

Social networks have their disadvantages like online predators, inappropriate material, fraud and copyright infringement but there are also advantages. Social networks share ideas instantly and group members can build ideas and conversations on top of other comments and blog posts. Students and teachers can communicate over great distances on the same topic. Parents can get involved in their kids schoolwork. Lastly, these assignments build literacy.

It is our responsibility as educators and parents to teach our children the appropriate way to use this tool called the internet. Just like we teach toddlers not to lick electrical sockets, we must teach children the appropriate and inappropriate areas of the internet. We teach kids how to write, how to read, how to compute math problems; Why wouldn’t we teach them how to be safe on the internet?

There are already several resources available to help teach students safety on the internet. The first is aimed at kids and called http://www.safekids.com/child_safety.htm/. Another good one for parents is http://www.microsoft.com/security/family-safety/childsafety-internet.aspx
Lastly, a site specifically geared to teachers is http://ikeepsafe.org/iksc_educators/ .


One response to this post.

  1. I like the images and metaphors you include in your writing. I never licked a socket, but my brother and I did make a game of daring one another to touch the electric fence at our neighbor’s dairy farm. I had been told not to do it, but, of course, I had to learn about the consequences first hand.

    I’ll ask you the same question that was asked of me: does age matter?

    I would advocate for open access in high schools, but I could easily support an argument for maintaining filters in elementary and middle schools.


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