Hello again. After a period of not posting so regularly, I now appear to be making up for it.
I'm currently part way through an Australian Pilot of the new Intel Teaching Essentials Online course.
Without going into too much detail, it's a course that fosters reflection on the pedagogy of using web based tools in your daily classroom life. Eg, Develop a unit of work the fosters both higher order thinking skills and 21st century skills, meets your jurisdictional syllabus outcomes, introduces practical ways of using blogs, wikis, and other online tools such as google docs, Zoho, and del.icio.us, all within a quality framework of formative and summative assessments. Basically its about best practice, and so far I have found it to be exemplary.
The most recent activity asked me to reflect upon:
- How can I use the Internet to support my teaching and students’ learning?
- How can I ensure responsible and appropriate use of the Internet?
Use of the internet can support my students' learning by exposing them to a bigger world of ideas than would otherwise be possible. The students can view the work of their global peers, and assess themselves on the quality of their own creations.The internet has the potential to expand cultural awareness (and expose culture-centric views).
The internet supports my teaching by providing similar benefits as it does to the students. I can participate in discussion with my peers and colleagues. I can share ideas, develop strategies, and have my views challenged, modified and refined. (My view can even be ridiculed and trashed).
Responsible use of the web can be fostered in a few ways. Each of which contribute to the goal of creating safe, fun, online learning spaces. Supervision, AUP's and filtering are vital. But perhaps just as vital is an understanding or appreciation by the teacher of the dynamics and technicalities of virtual learning spaces. If the students are with a guide they can trust and enjoy the journey with, then a communication can develop that will enhance the understandings of both teacher and student. (We learn together).
How can a child discern the "bad" or "mediocre", if they have not been exposed to the "good" or "excellent"? Who will expose them to the good and excellent if their teachers cannot?
This brings me to the point of website filtering. Can we go to far? Can we filter too much? I don't know about others, but I don't want my children to grow up in a virtual clean room. Children need to understand that there are pitfalls and nasties, and need to be given strategies which will enable them to deal with these nasties. Then there is the question of exactly who does the filtering. As an extreme (perhaps) example: Do we filter to please our corporate sponsor at the expense of highlighting human rights violations. Do we filter from a certain religious world view? Big questions, no apparent easy answers.
What do you think?