Sunday, May 11, 2008

Reasons to Promote Engaging Technologies Even Though Schools Filter Them

Below are two comments from The Innovative Educator network’s newest member that eloquently demonstrates the importance of Social Networking for Educators and other tools such as these.

Comment left on My Page
Maria said…
Thank you, Lisa, very much for creating this site. It is so needed. We, teachers, don't always have a chance to exchange ideas with each other. I have to also add that the quality of your work is very high. Thanks again :)

From the Science Forum Discussion Board
Reply by Maria
Thank you :) this is the best question an elementary science teacher could ask. I am bursting with answers and shaking. I hope I will be finally heard. Thank you.

These comments literally gave me goose bumps!!! How amazing is it that there is now a forum that caused an educator to be bursting with answers and shake with excitement that she will *finally* be heard??? This is why I promote the idea of teaching educators to use social networks and other 21st Century tools.

After I first wrote about Social Networking for Innovative Educators many of my colleagues like the one in this email asked why I advocated using technologies that are filtered in most schools and can be used inappropriately by students. It's comments like Maria's or the one a principal recently shared with me that make it clear. As this principal shared, “We wouldn’t remove stairs from a building just because students can fall down them. We teach them to walk, not run. Use the handrail and have signs for an up staircase and down.”

Teaching educators how to use technologies like Social Networking is important for many reasons including the fact that we must prepare our students and teachers not only for life within schools walls, but also for life outside the school walls. Additionally to be cybersafety-minded educators, it is important to be comfortable operating in environments in which our digital natives students are fluent. It is also important that we model safe, acceptable, appropriate, and professional use. Additionally, I’ve had the opportunity to inform teachers about the little known fact that most districts have a block or unblock a website form and I share the NYC DOE link on how to do this with them.

Giving educators an ability to use technologies that enable them to connect with others with whom they can begin building personal learning networks, is powerful. Perhaps even more important is that technologies like blogs and social networks provide educators with a much-needed, but often missing voice, that is kept that way in school districts like mine that have mandates in place to ensure this. But now Maria is bursting with answers and shaking with excitement that she will *finally* be heard. Doesn't that say it all???

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