ISED Post

From a ISED-L post:

We’re just beginning to wrestle with this issue. About 64 students at
Wilbraham have pages on MySpace.

I’m thinking that the easiest way to reduce student use of such spaces is
for our faculty to begin putting up pages noting the books we like to
read, the operas we like to listen to etc. The old New England aphorism is
probably appropriate here. “The best fertilizer is the footstep of the
farmer.”

This is a very important observation – student are using these services and are very comfortable sharing information there. The reality is that almost 100% of college freshman are using web sites like myspace or facebook. Both of these places give people a place to post and create relationships much like we used to at school dances or ‘hanging out’ on Friday night. What’s different, is that everything digital can be archived and will become our student’s personal bio when applying for college or a job. It is critically important to let them know about the risks of posting online. There is much more available on this topic in podcast format from the NYSAIS Technology Conferences.

I would argue that getting online and immersing ourselves in new media is the only way that faculty will begin to see the benefits and detractors of online communities. They are truly communities and can make people feel very comfortable with the relationships they build online. It’s kind of like a pen pal that you were good friends with but had never met, multiplied by the number of people on any given web site at any given time. I mentioned something about one of these services to a faculty member at lunch the other day, and she said that it sounded like jdate. So our faculty are finding places where they feel comfortable meeting people in an online community as well.

It’s an amazing time right now — blogging, wikis, and podcasting are chancing the way I work each day — we must take advantage of these technologies and find a way to use them in an educational format, so we don’t end up teaching the way we did 50 years ago, and our students being totally disconnected because we can’t relate to their world. Education is a two way street, and getting more so every day.

A question to all: What are you doing to live in an uncomfortable place that our students feel comfortable?

I’m video conferencing a web designer in from New Hampshire to observe the final presentations of the students in my web design class tomorrow — trying to blog on a regular basis, and updating Fred’s wiki.

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