Friday, March 25, 2011

Lion, Tigers, and the Internet...Oh My!

While I am slowly gaining more and more knowledge about various internet technologies, I am also having more and more concerns.  The internet is a wonderful place that is full of information that can bring learning to life for many children.  It can also be a scary place of images, posts, and predators that make parents cringe.  I fear the possibility of a child ending up on an inappropriate site.  I also worry about the personal security of my students and their families.  There are many sites out there that attract younger students.  Are all of these sites safe?  What personal information are they asking for in order to register as a user?  Who is monitoring these sites and viewing this information?   What pop-ups or links are they going to encounter?  Although our school system has a great firewall, individual houses do not. 

Accessibility to individual lap tops for the students to use is not an immediate concern, but as more and more teachers hop on the “technology boat” I see it becoming a bigger concern.  I can usually gain access to one of the four computer carts in our building for use in my classroom.  This is due largely in part to the fact that half the teachers in the building do not use them.  As we begin to push technology and show them how it opens many doors, the computer carts are going to be in greater demand.  This means they will not be available as often.

So the new question… How do I deal with these concerns?   First and foremost, internet safety needs to be brought up and discussed.  In an ideal world, the students would only use the internet while supervised by adults.  Since this doesn’t always happen, students need to know how be safe on the internet.  For example, they should know not to give out personal information.  If a web-site requires a membership or a registration, they should get an adult.  My mission…. find a video, maybe through you-tube, to show and discuss in class.  I also need to teach my students about “Google” and how to search safely outside of school – with adult help.

On to the next concern….while I hope more teachers would use and teach students with technology, it is limited at our school.   It’s simple supply and demand.   I can alleviate this concern by planning a set time each week to have the lap top carts in my room.   This “routine” will also give the students something to look forward to and encourage myself to plan more lessons using technology and the internet.  This will be my next mission.  I think both of these missions are possible… and I choose to accept them!

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