The Strength of Weak Ties

Everyone participates. Everyone contributes. Leveraging the power of digital networks to connect people, resources and ideas to drive creativity and innovation forward...and actually accomplish something!

Friday, March 11, 2005

The Internet Filter Revisited

I just had the opportunity to work with a group of colleagues in my area, very talented people who are all interested in how technology impacts the education and lives of young people. The conversation ultimately came around to blogs and the issues surrounding the classroom use of blogs. I am reminded of about three years ago when the use of the Web for classroom learning really picked up steam and concerns emerged about students accessing inappropriate content. In response, Internet filtering became much more savvy and effective. In other words, the challenge was met. There is a new set of issues surrounding the use of blogs in classrooms:
1. How will blogs be used to support instructionally sound pedagogy?
2. What are our expectations for students when using blogs to communicate?
3. What happens when students use blogs inappropriately?
4. Do our current policies and procedures regarding the appropriate use of digital technologies need to be modified?
5. What kinds of demands on school resources (budgets, computer access) will result from the increased use of blogs?

And the list goes on...

Any school district that understands how to utilize technology effectively with students should consider these questions, and others, very carefully. Most importantly, like anything else, students need to be educated about the proper use of these tools prior to their implementation, with a clear picture presented about the appropriate use and the potential recourse for inappropriate use. Too many tools are thrown at students without this happening and when this occurs, issues will certainly arise.

These new tools (blogs, wikis, etc.) have too much potential. Let's focus on the groundwork first, and lay the foundation for successful implementation.

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