Monday, January 10, 2011

Teachers and Students and Texting

The Madville Times ended 2010 with a post that the Brookings School District is considering banning teachers and students texting each other, following each other on Twitter, friending each other on Facebook, or using any social media to communicate with each other.

Apparently, Virgina will see one South Dakota district and raise a whole Southern state.  In addition, they will ban student teacher gaming as well, so my online poker reference my not be legal in Virgina either.

I don't have too many dogs in this fight.  I don't have a Facebook account and am actively working to be the only person in the United States without one.  I have a Twitter account.  I've made 150 posts, none since October.  I text some of my debaters to let them know about practice times or discuss case ideas.  At a tournament a few years ago,  I couldn't find a debater and had to text her to tell her she was in the final round.

I also know that some people hired to teach are wolves in sheep's clothing so schools need to be careful.  That being said, these rules are ludicrous and unenforceable.  They will insure that teachers appear out of touch with the "real world."  Some teachers and students will be punitively punished for innocent communication.  More importantly, the predators will find new ways to exploit kids.

The logic behind limiting teachers' use of social media seems akin to an effort to prevent a teacher in 1901 from using an Underwood No. 5 typewriter because the machine allowed one to write letters quickly and anonymously without revealing one's identity through one's handwriting.  Instead of banning social media or texting, schools need to find ways to teach students how to use these tools as adults not as expensive toys.

1 comment:

caheidelberger said...

I love the Underwood analogy. We're supposed to be able to use technology to connect with kids the way they communicate. That's one of the big justifications I hear for incorporating computers and multimedia presentations and the Web into teaching. Why cut ourselves off from some highly useful communcation channels?