Wednesday, May 2, 2012

signs of the times

Some of you express surprise when I mention that classes around the country aren't using technology or preparing themselves for digital independence, or that adults are taking aggressive steps to prevent student access to social networking sites and services. Have a look at this news item (original coverage here). Is this a freedom worth fighting for? Should students have access to technology and social networking? Why? Are these tools important for a purpose? Or are they merely frivolous, dangerous toys that don't really have anything to do with school or learning? Please respond to this post with a comment by Friday.

35 comments:

  1. When I think about "Classes not using technology / preparing for digital independence" my mind go straight to other countries that don't have good educations systems in the first place or countries that don't have the resources, but then I realize that it's places HERE that don't provide a better learning experience. It's IN AMERICA, the LAND OF THE FREE, that we are hindering ourselves from moving forward when that's what this country was based off of.
    I think that people are afraid of the words "Social networking" and when they see those words they instantly think "FACEBOOK", they do not think about blogs or other things that could be used for education. I do think students should have access to these things because from personal experience it has helped me in more ways than I expected. With this social media in our class I feel closer with my fellow classmates and more comfortable to express my ideas with them, and it's way easier to collaborate and help each other out...

    FREEDOM IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I understand what the school district is getting at, they issued tools for a specific purpose and they are trying to use them as such, so if they only want their students to use laptops as a means of an encyclopedia and a method of typing work, I suppose theres nothing wrong with what theyre doing. However this shifts the conversation to whether or not social media sites and video streaming should be integrated into the class room as their method of learning. *Note: Theres yet to be ample benefits recorded from the use of pornography as an adept method of teaching* I should think that we are all a little somewhat biased in our opinions of this, granted its a medium we are familiar with, however I think our pioneering into this mostly uncharted field has shown the outcomes of what such an educational mold might look like and has proven that such a step forward in academics is certainly possible and even beneficial.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think that if school administrators want to block social networking sites like Facebook from their school issued laptops, then they should be able to. The students that are lucky enough to be provided laptops by their school without a cost should acknowledge that it is not their own personal computer. If they want to go on Facebook, they could find their own means of doing it. The school, though, shouldn't provide have to provide them with a tool for it, if they so choose. Social networking sites are widely known for being a distraction to students from their work, so if the school wants to provide laptops and not allow the students to manipulate the learning tool provided, I think they should be able to do so. Stalking their lives via surveillance, though, is creepy as hell. That's not cool- they definitely should not do that, especially if they already went so far as to add censorship to the computers. I do think that technology can be an excellent learning tool to help further a student's education far beyond the classroom, but social networking websites and watching your students is unnecessary.

    Dania Hatamleh
    Period Four

    ReplyDelete
  4. I completely agree with what Cody said.

    Even though the school is the one providing the technology and should be able to determine what goes on it, why shelter kids from what they can see or already know? Teachers should not be afraid of what social networking can do; they should use it as their benefit to connect the students to other networks in order to collaborate and discover different techniques of learning elsewhere. Since we have the technology and the capability to have Internet almost everywhere we go, why not just use it for the sake of education? Not every single site can be helpful, but the school board should allow the students to take responsibility and understand that "social networking" can benefit them if used properly.

    -Kelly Brickey, Period 3

    ReplyDelete
  5. I understand the strict conditions associated with providing a student body a tool that doubles as a toy. What seems to be evading my understanding is the need to censor out any potentially inflammatory information that (heaven forbid) reach the eyes of fragile helpless children. I think sometimes adults forget that forever shielding students is the worst way to prepare them for the real world, because the real world is almost completely uncensored. If schools or individual teachers taught students how to see the internet-including social media-as something more than a distraction, then this intense need to filter beyond school campus will wither on its own.

    ReplyDelete
  6. 'You can't always cover kids' eyes. You have to teach them how to see it.' "

    I think the reason so many people don't want technology in school is because they don't understand it. They can't shelter these students forever.. they'll never learn. I feel like they are only focusing on the negative side and are being close minded to all the good that can come from it. If they educated students on how to be smart on online, then they could encourage them to try new things while still being confident about their knowledge on the matter. I think about this class now and how we all created a facebook group to allow us to ask questions with other students or get help when we were confused. One thing I love about this class is how much creative independence we have and I think that's really important. Keeping those other students on such a tight leash just shows that the teachers don't trust them.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I realize that the fact that this class is based online has been a risk this year, but I believe it to be a risk worth taking. We have create a network of students all joined together to help each other pass the AP exam, a tool that I have found extremely useful throughout the year. Censoring what we can and can't do would be absurd. This class is preparing us for the real world, for the four plus years we have of college life standing in front of us, where there will not be a teacher telling us we can't read this or we can't read that. We are going to have vast amounts of information at our fingertips that we will be given and expected to use. As we are preparing for adulthood, adults should trust that we will use the information that we find wisely, and not control what we come into contact with. I think it is about time for other schools to follow in our footsteps and conduct classes like this one.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am very much opposed to censorship of the internet. Censorship has historically only brought out the cruelest regimes of mankind with North Korea being a prime example. These tools are the essential tools we need to survive in the information age we live in and denying this fact is like telling Magellan that the Earth is flat. We social network to bounce ideas off each other and to create or improve on existing tools we have today. Below I have taken the direct text from the newspaper link here to fight for the freedom of the internet. This has taken me roughly an hour and a half to complete and was an exercise in the free response essay question prompt by allowing me to address the prompt and support my thesis with quotes but avoiding attempting to avoid the plot summary hole I am I think many of my peers fall into. Any comments to improve anything on this comment will be greatly appreciated because I have seriously put all my time for studying the AP Test for the night into this essay and I really hope this was not a complete waste of time.
    “The change means students will use the computers for their intended purpose - as educational tools - not a source of entertainment, said Peter Eglinton, chief operating officer for the district.” Yes they will be used for their intended purpose and their intended purpose only which according to the board of education, is raising state test scores. It is a new way to make a dog do the same old trick. If however you want the kids to learn, let them explore with each other and mess up, its called being human. Besides the program the censors the stuff can be taken off if kids truly want their porn, as they say fences were made to be hopped.
    "Teachers will be happy with the change," he said. "Parents will likely be happy. Students will not be." Of course teachers will be happy because they get to enforce and keep an exploding classroom size under control by saying do so much on the laptop, if you have questions ask, and if not you fail. And parents will love it because it can make there kids more containable as well and allow them not to deal with the hardship of parenting by having a constant screen of some sort sedating their kids into submission.

    ReplyDelete
  9. “Eglinton said teachers will be able to allow access to sites that offer educational videos, such as those offered by Kahn Academy, a nonprofit with an extensive video library of courses.” Cites that the U.S government deems safe to the stability of the nation and that will not provide any real motive for students to want to change this country so we can get out of the economic mess that the middle and lower classes are feeling.
    “There are legal reasons behind the district's decision, Eglinton said. Schools that receive discounts for Internet access through federal so-called E-Rate funding are required to take steps like creating an Internet safety policy and filtering and blocking access to certain types of online content.” I personally love the vagueness of the phrase “Certain types of online content”. They could be blocking the new ways to stimulate the economy or sites that can help students mentally and emotionally mature and thus keeping us undereducated and immature for all we know.
    "To be compliant (with the law), we should be filtering at home," he said. "Now, we have the software and the ability to do it." Great, so now we know that Sopa and Pipa have already passed to an extent and thought control through information control is now the new wave of the future. 1984 here we come!


    “A districtwide filtering system can be difficult to manage because there is tension between teachers' need to have access to the best Internet tools and the capacity of the filtering software to maintain an accurate list of prohibited sites.” The article is openly admits to us that some teachers still want the best information for the future generations even if it is information our great leaders may not approve of.
    “She said the debate over filtering policies can be summed up into two approaches: the "walled playground" or the "open sandbox."” Steve Jobs is prime example of the open sandbox approach while we see the Soviet Union’s walled playground go kaput in the collapse of the Berlin Wall.
    "Simply shielding students from social media is not going to stop them from seeing it," she said, because teenagers will have access to unfiltered Internet on home computers and other devices, such as smartphones and tablets. "We have a saying: 'You can't always cover kids' eyes. You have to teach them how to see it.' " This way we will know how to use it and use these tools to our full potential by tinkering with the old tools to make superior tools that can launch us to the future.
    “In fact, the U.S. Department of Education recently issued guidelines explaining that it is acceptable to allow social networking sites and video streaming, said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, deputy director of the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom.” It may surprise some prison guard like people, but social media and video streaming can be put to other uses than just drug dealing and porn watching, not all of us teenagers are scumbags.

    ReplyDelete
  10. “While there is plenty of discussion about where school districts should draw the line, there is no debate that districts have the right to install filtering software on school equipment, she said.” Yes this point is true but as pointed out earlier in this same article “Access to those sites is blocked now only at school, through the school network,” because like any institution, schools have the right to regulate what happens on the property they own.
    “The Portland school district is doing it without any discussion by the school board. Eglinton said many parents and teachers have told him they want the laptops to be filtered at home.” I would love to see the actual sample of the “many” teachers and parents to see if they were a true representative of the Portland School district or if they were just the “many” teachers and parents receiving direct benefit from this censorship program.
    “School board Chairwoman Kate Synder, the mother of a ninth-grader at Portland High, said that as a parent she favors the new restrictions, because they will help students stay focused on their schoolwork.” She forgets to mention that any high achieving student will stay focused on their work not because of the amount or availability of work, but that they truly want to perform their best for their own personal reasons. So my question to her is she addressing her daughter or the kid she happened to give birth to and now lives with?
    “She said she never wanted her children to have television in their bedrooms. But thanks to streaming sites like Hulu and YouTube, laptop computers also function as television sets.” Back up a second, I am pretty sure that unless her kid saved up the money and bought herself a computer, then she wouldn’t have a laptop or television to begin with. There are computers at the school or public library that her daughter could have easily used if she was worried about distraction. There’s a lot more of a time crunch when a student only has internet for a certain amount of time. I know this because I have spent a couple assignments myself working in the school library and my fingers were flying to get that assignment done under fifty minutes or less.

    ReplyDelete
  11. “Snyder said the school district shouldn't give students equipment that makes it harder for parents to do their job, which is to help children stay focused on academics. She said the district has the right to filter the Internet.” I am appealing to the parents out there but isn’t one of the major complaints that the nation has is that kids don’t get out enough? Aren’t there programs like the NFL’s Play 60 to get kids active? So by adding another screen that turns kids into couch potatoes by forcing those kids to stay inside we are making things harder for parents. That argument can only be used if it is clearly stated that the nation’s kids already have enough exercise and energy to want to do their school work.
    “The change's impact on students will depend on whether they have access to other computers at home. For many poor families, the school-issued laptop is the only computer in the house.” And with the diminishing middle class, this will help ensure that the population will only ever receive government approved information. It will truly get to the point where while the poor may not be illiterate, they will remain as dumb as sheep waiting for slaughter by the information rich upper class.
    “"When we are at home, we need to have something else to look at besides homework," said Fatush Jama, a senior.” I end with this because we are not dogs that merely jump hoops when commanded to do so. We are independent human beings that will shape the world of tomorrow whether the population likes it or not. We create and experiment to change the world, that’s how evolution works. However by limiting our capacity to give information and teach that a restrictive regime in life is great we are speeding up the time to mankind’s Armageddon. Giving begets giving while taking can only ever beget Death.

    ReplyDelete
  12. People commonly assume that the sole purpose of social networking is to give people another pathway to socialize with thier friends. However, as we've learned in this class, social networking can be used to create networks for communication between colleagues, collaborative learning, and information sharing. Our facebook page is a great example. On that page any student in this course can send out a question, post a link, or share thoughts that might be beneficial to the rest of us.
    Through the internet I have access to so much more information than I can possibly get anywhere here in Santa Maria. The exposure to vast amounts of new information makes technology, internet, and social networking sites worth integrating into public school curriculum.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I definitely agree with Kari. Facebook isn't everything its cracked up to e in a good way. Its not just a gossip social sight, though it can be. If I ever have a homework question an easy way for me to get the information is on facebook through a classmate who I may not have the # to simply text them. These days most employers will look at prospective employees facebooks to get a sense of who they are so they can basically be your virtual resume if you do it well.

    ReplyDelete
  14. When it comes to social networking, I hardly ever check mine. Regardless, the administration should not have a say in whether or not these students are aloud to have access to media outside the curriculum. As long as the student is getting their job done why not? They need more faith. These tools are important because they allow people to collaborate with other classes outside of school.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I would have to say that I am addicted to my social networks. Whether it is twitter,facebook,social cam, or even instagram I am on them at least half of my day. I don't feel like schools should be allowed to regulate our usage on these websites because if it was for these sites our knowledge of the world would be alot smaller. For instance when some breaking news has just occurred the first spot it goes is to a social networking site even before a news station. So if a school tries to regulate this our lives would be totally different

    ReplyDelete
  16. Social networking in schools can have be either good or bad. It depends on how the students use the networking. Students that are given laptops or other technology in school shouldn’t be upset or complain about social networking being blocked. High school is about eight hours a day. Students do not have to be on a social network such as Facebook all of the time. Not all websites are helpful though. So I think that it is necessary for the school board to block certain websites. I think technology is a great learning tool and can help students further their education.

    Chelsey Soriano
    Period #3

    ReplyDelete
  17. I think there is freedom worth fighting for and the students in Portland should fight for it. I believe that they should teach the students how to use the internet while trying to avoid those social media sites. Just by blocking them, isn't really teaching them how to use their time wisely because they can use another source that has Internet. I know that when we first started doing the blog work for this course I had a hard time avoiding those social media sites. With time and practice I got better at going straight to the blog, finishing my homework, then going on those social media sites. I don't really feel like these particular sites have much to do with learning, but learning how to avoid them is an important.

    Hunter Walker
    Period 3

    ReplyDelete
  18. I don't think it is benificial to shelter kids from technology in school. The fact is, these students in Portland have access to these technologies in their daily lives, so why not make it a learning tool? It will take time and focus to teach these students when to use technology as a tool, and when to use it as a toy. It is all about teaching students to focus on academics first then they can play. If schools don't embrace technology as a learning tool then these technologies will forever be a distracting toy to students.

    Kelli Carrillo p.3

    ReplyDelete
  19. I really like what JoJo said about Facebook being a virtual resume for future employers. Now for some people that can be a good thing, but for others it could be bad. That's why I think that our blogs are so innovative and beneficial. They give us a chance to create a reputation for ourselves online not only socially, but academically. I have never heard of anyone including a blog in a job resume, but I would imagine it would be very impressive. Now rather than having all of our hard work unorganized on pieces of paper, we have it all in one easy to access spot.

    Briana Stinn
    Period 3

    ReplyDelete
  20. A very large percentage of students are using social networking sites throughout the day, whether its facebook, twitter, or instagram. Every day you see at least one update from one of each of your classmates on one of these sites, and as you know it's not always educational purposes but it's not all irrelevant either. I'm pretty sure everyone can say though they have posted an update along the lines of "What was the homework in math?" or "Does anyone know how to do the stock project? I need help!" or you have seen an update like this. It's all about communication these days through these networks, teens are on the internet more than they are texting these days so it just makes it faster/easier to ask online when you see that one of your friends or someone in your class is online as well. Same with the blogs, were spending all this time online everyday, many of us can access it and check it through our smart phones anytime. Though there is one advantage on having those particular networks blocked, it's that they're so distracting sometimes! About a month ago I deactivated my facebook because every time I was online for whatever purpose I'd always end up there. Now I know the key is to have self control, priorities first and I've learned to not always go on it every time I'm bored.

    ReplyDelete
  21. If technology is within reach for use on a daily basis, then by all means it should be used beneficially. The students mentioned should have every right to utilize the advantages [technology] they have. Sure, social networks can be distracting at times, but it lies completely in the student's personal responsibility to manage their time wisely. Numerous of students at high schools are constantly "wired" on facebook, and it is only a matter of self-control. I believe that students need this access in order to practice their responsibilities. Now is the time for trial and error, not in the future when consequences will be severe. If we practice to use the internet/technology now, as high school students, we will be fully prepared for when we have no guidance in the real world.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I can see where both sides are coming from. The teachers and administrators don't want to allow or encourage the use of social networking sites because they see them as distractions. However, the students should fight for this freedom because technology is where the future is headed. Students should have access to social networking sites because they allow them to collaborate with others, while also training them on how to have self control and stay on task. If teachers don't allow students to do this, they will be making life harder for those students later on. The only way people learn how to do something is through experience.

    Period 2

    ReplyDelete
  23. Times are changing and technology is taking over. If administrators don't begin to realize this soon students are going to become less and less likely to accept old teaching methods I've lived through the transformation of computers from before there was windows 98 to windows 7 ultimate. Newer generations are nothing like the current generation of high school seniors they are way more technologically advanced and 8 year old now are way more mentally developed than i was at 8 they just have a certain type of thinking that was brought about by all this new technology that allows them to know whatever they damn near please. Technology is here now and teachers and administrators need to get with the times.

    Isaac De La Cruz
    Period 2

    ReplyDelete
  24. I feel as though technology is something that will be used by those who understand it and ignored by those who dont. And even if they're being blocked at school, there is nothing stopping them from using it at home. The freedom to use the internet freely at school to me isnt a fight anyone should stress over, its not a big deal, use the internet when youre at home. People who dont understand it are too afraid of it and feel they need to try and protect others from the great unknown, but they cannot do this all the time. Why not just let them filter the internet for 5 hours, and work on fighting for the freedom of something more important, like puppies. And those laptops arnt the students theyre the schools, the school can do with it what it pleases. Besides if youre crafty enough you can do away with these filters anyway. Ian May

    ReplyDelete
  25. Perhaps I'm confused, and someone please correct me in a comment, but worthless, two tone color screened, electronic encyclopedias have existed for a long time, no? Luckily (and personally, thankfully) technology's come quite a bit since then. A laptop has an enormous amount of functionality that even those using them right now with an average understanding of technology can't truly grasp. And that isn't entirely the user's fault, its just a principle of technological advancement. The intelligent use of technology coupled with learning and education can provide an environment largely more efficient than the stone age model we use currently. In essence, school's need to wake up, learn the technology, utilize, and take off the horse blinders for once. And trust me, nothing motivates a young student to not follow the rules more than by telling them they can't do anything but what the system says, no matter how detracting from actually learning.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I believe that not allowing students to access the social networks you are somewhat putting a barrier as to how far one can go to advance their education or knowledge. I can see where the educator's thought of filtering stems from but at the same time it is harming the students. To be honest, teenagers will get distracted on the Internet using social websites, but take into consideration the possibilities and the doors that can be available to one. It's sort of a roll of the dice. One just has to have faith in the students and take off the filtering.

    ReplyDelete
  27. The internet is so great because you get to see all these different ideas. Censoring degrades the point. If these computers were meant to bring the students outside of the little box the education system provides, it's completely ironic. Control, not true learning, is acquired by having these students only experience what certain people want them to see.

    Dannielle Edwards, 3rd

    ReplyDelete
  28. We have so many freedoms and I believe that using the internet freely should be among them. You always hear the bad about social networking websites, but when used correctly they can be very beneficial. Not only do they help with networking, but they can also help with other real life learning opportunities like how to deal with people and how to communicate clearly. As technology continues to grow it is important for students to understand how to use it and mold what it can do in order for it to be helpful to them. I understand that social networking is an easy distraction but there is no escaping it, and you shouldn't have to.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I think that by taking away these freedoms, they are ultimately hurting these students. These social networking sites can indeed be of good use. They can be used for collaborating, networking, and communication. It is important for these students to be able to understand and experience these various parts of the internet, because once they further their education, there are not going to be boundaries on which sites they can or cannot use. Therefore if these students have experience with using the internet freely then it will benefit them in the long run.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I believe that technology should be used in schools. Yes I understand there are dangers to younger kids, but since the usage of technology (specifically here, the Internet) is inevitable, showing them the correct, safe way to use it is better than letting them figuring it out on their own and making a huge mistake they can't take back. We have put this to the test in our class, we have shown that high school students at mature enough not to spam the sight. You have given us a lot of freedom, and we have (well most of us) have reciprocate in showing that we like this teaching style better. Society is advancing, it would be a shame if schools couldn't keep up to and continue to advance.

    ReplyDelete
  31. These students are definitely being hurt by being stripped of these freedoms. Sure younger more immature children may need to have a closer watch when it comes to internet freedom but people are age should definitely be allowed to have these freedoms because without them they are heading into a highly digital world completely unprepared. This sets up bigger failures than anything stupid they can do on the internet in school.
    Tyler Stewart
    Period 3

    ReplyDelete
  32. Is this a freedom worth fighting for? Should students have access to technology and social networking? Why? Are these tools important for a purpose? Or are they merely frivolous, dangerous toys that don't really have anything to do with school or learning?

    I believe that yes students should have access to technology and social networking in schools because they already have it at home. They may block Facebook, but that does not protect the students from having a facebook because they most likely have an account already. Also, as we have learned in class, technology is very important and can make learning more efficient. Also, as several have already stated, social networking sites allow us to communicate with our classmates if we missed a day and need a reminder of the homework assignments.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Techno0lgy is good. EVery school should be allowed to use technology in the classrooms. Just because some students are stupid and use it for the negative things. DOesn't mean they can't be beneficail for the classrooms. If used in school, it could open up so much more oppurtunites.

    ReplyDelete
  34. This is definitely worth fighting for. Technology can be abused, but it can also be utilized tremendously. It can be an excellent source of data in research based on anything. Schools should allow access to the internet because it is a super efficient way of learning. As long as the technology isn't being abused then there is no reason for students to be restricted by administrations.

    Matthew Giddings p.3

    ReplyDelete
  35. Older generations arent's used to using technology as a tool of learning. They weren't brought up using them so they believe that learning by the book is most efficient. As the new generation started, older generations began to incorporate technology; however, they still aren't flexible with it, so they want to censor the full access to the Internet. What the school district is doing by censoring the laptops issued to the students is totally understandable since they were the ones providing them in the first place. Some people believe that money is the root of all evil; however, money itself isn't evil since it's only a tool that can be used for good and evil, depending on the individual's motive. Similarly, technology and social networking can both be used for innovation and destruction. What the school district should do is to give the students a chance to prove themselves that they have self-control. If the students pass, then the district should consider not censoring their laptops, but if they fail, then the students should respect the district's decision.

    Samuel Moon
    Period 6

    ReplyDelete