Mrs. Vance Goes To School

Learning and Teaching with Technology

Archive for February, 2008

I Can Only Hope to Have Such Problems!

Posted by MrsVance on February 12, 2008

It seems like it would be a great idea to have the opportunity to extend the learning hours with our students using online tools. Or at least it did seem like a great idea until I thought about it in terms of interacting with my most challenging student(s) beyond the normal school day.

The main thought that is running through my head when I look back over all these questions is, where do we draw the line? Or even, do we draw a line? What I mean in this respect is if we were to achieve our goal, if we were to have technology (in particular web 2.0 tools) widely used within education then would teachers actually welcome their students to contact them? And converse in the way I do with the adults and teachers I am connected with over my twitter network and similar things online. The reason I find this a difficult question to answer is that although in a traditional school environment this type of communication (especially that outside of the school walls) is discouraged (at least on a relatively large scale) we are proposing change to this system, and a big change at that. Does this mean that the principles associated with the current system should be changed? Or I should probably say, adapted? Should the door be left closed to student – teacher communication both in and out of school? Should it be left open? Or should there be some sort of compromise?

Personally I really can’t answer this. It may be because I’m not a teacher, and I don’t really know how I’d feel about the students in my class contacting me, and hanging around in the places on the web I have found so sacred at times. And let’s face it, there’s always going to be at least that 1 student sitting in that class that gets on your nerves that bit more than the rest of them… does this mean they would do the same within your own personal networks? And should all this mean that a line needs to be drawn somewhere with the use of these tools (at least in the classroom)?

The italics are mine, the caveat is from Sean “The Bass Player”, on the Students 2.0 Blog. And it is a good cautionary thought as I move ever closer to having the pieces in place to enable this type of interaction. But I suspect that most students will choose to use the tools when it is easier for them to use the tools than not. And I suspect that they will not really want to spend a huge amount of time hanging out with the teacher, even in an online environment. Sean also notes

Student ed tech types are lone wolfs, we just generally don’t come in packs; … Online I need to be in contact with adults in order to be a part of the networks that I am so fond of because I can’t connect with a lot of other students. This is mainly due to the fact that it is outside of what the average student normally does online.

Isn’t that why many, if not most, of the adults in the edtech world are online as opposed to comfortably dealing with the teacher next door?

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