Speaking of student communications, Tom over at Bionic Teaching starts a post by marveling at the growing number of free services that make it easy for kids (or anyone else to connect).
However, he then feels the need to vent about the approach taken by educators to such tools
This is the kind of flexible communication that schools are trying to stop. It has always been a losing battle but more so as phones and free services take it to the next level.
I’ve heard way too many conversations lately that say something like “It allows unmoderated student communication and we’ve got to block it.” This thought process really scares and depresses me. It is both a waste of time and a great way to garner student contempt both for the rules and for those flailing around trying vainly to enforce them. This makes students far more likely to disregard relevant Internet safety advice and it pushes them towards using phones, home computers etc. where there is no filtering. On the teacher/parent side, heavy filtering tends to lead to a false sense of security, less training for students, less discussion and responsibility being shifted from students to software.
That “unmoderated student communication” is scary stuff all right!
But Tom is exactly right.
The only thing our complete dependance on electronic filters really block is a good opportunity to communicate with students about how to effectively and ethically use these tools to enhance their learning.