Earlier in the year, I had our middle school Parent/Teacher conferences, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that 99 percent of my students (most of whom are Title I) have a computer in the home. However, there was absolutely no oversight of what was going on with the computer, because the only person who even knew how to turn the computer on, many parents claimed through their translators, was their student. The parents knew nothing of the box in the kid's bedroom.
An online colleague of mine, Patrick Ledesma, recently reminded me of the "door to door" law that states it is the school's responsibility to keep students safe the minute they leave their front door until they return home at the end of the day. However, this law now seems to extend to cyber safety and netiquette, making our responsibility to monitor children greater than ever because their world is now ever wider.
"Your clicks have consequences," says Clay Johnson, author of The Information Diet. Johnson writes about the impact of consuming a poor information diet, "unhealthful information deep-fried in our own preconceptions."
Entering the digital world exposes us daily to new programs, software and systems. As both consumers and educators, we consistently sort through these technologies to find the ones that meet our immediate needs. With so many technologies available, there are times we overlook, misjudge or reject something that potentially has value for us.
In March, Burlington High School hosted the New England 1:1 summit. This event brought together over 350 teachers, superintendents, IT administrators and some parents. One of the highlights of the day was our student panel. The panel was comprised of eight Burlington High School students, ranging from freshmen to seniors, who led an interactive session with the audience. Our students did a great job answering questions, but I was particularly moved by response from one student. The questioner asked, "How do you refrain from the obvious distractions that the iPad presents while in class?" The student took the mic and answered, "Distractions are nothing new in the classroom, however, why don't teachers take the tools that distract us and turn them into learning tools?"
Everyone is on Twitter these days, so why not your school district? Twitter provides an easy platform to keep your followers updated -- moment by moment, if necessary! -- about developing situations, sudden brainstorms and calls to action. Following are 12 reasons to get your school district tweeting this summer so that you can hit the ground running at the start of the next school year.
We often pontificate about the "haves" and the "have-nots" in our schools -- the unfair way that schools are funded, the ways in which some of our students are robbed of opportunity while others are awash in it.
What we don't reflect on enough is how some educators are connected to the global community, emerging trends and research, and larger conversations around reform and the direction of global education in general -- and how so many other educators are simply not tapped into that world.
As more and more people join the world of Twitter (460,000 signups per day), school parents and teachers are more commonplace on this global social media tool. According to a recent Pew Internet Study, 84% of all Twitter users are between the ages of 18-49. Why is this important to school officials? The age range includes the majority of our school parents.
"Parenting is not for the faint of heart," novelist Harlan Coben writes. Let's face it, parenting is really hard, especially when parents feel that "a vast and frightening Internet culture is hijacking their kids," as New York psychologist Ron Taffel notes.