3.08.2010

Twittering instead of Teaching...the newest craze

Full disclosure: I facebook, I text and yes, I occasionally have been known to send out a tweet or two on twitter. That being said...I'm not 100% sure I like this new trend where my son could get on the computer at school and twit to me a message such as "Yo, moms, I gots me some made math skillz dawg" to inform me about his day. Why can't he come home, sit down at the table, have some apple slices and a glass of milk and talk to me about his math skills? Why can't his teacher pick up a phone and call me, or catch me in the hall, or write me a note, letting me know what's happening instead of posting it on my facebook page as if we were bff's talking about last night's Oscar surprises (btw, there were none).

Furthermore, cyberbullying is on the increase. More children are anonymously torturing their peers by sending texts, tweets, and facebook posts. Yes, I get that the idea is that our children are sitting in a controlled surpervised environment so that will not be tolerated, but really? When was the last time you walked into an elementary school classroom? Did it look like things were under control? So there is one computer in the classroom in which the article focuses (I don't know Mr. Ice nor have I ever been in his class, but by the looks of things he is so tech savvy that he is failing to teach the other students or at least engage with them in the classroom behind him. I'm sure that Mr. Ice at Dunn is a delightful teacher and well liked by his students and their parents and the staff otherwise he wouldn't be the focus of the article, but what are the other children doing while he is helping an elementary school student twitter?) so obviously supervision is key in this situation, but what about when you have all the kids in the computer lab, and one instructor? You can tweet, send it, and no one would ever know that you just dissed your classmate sitting next to you.

From the article:
"Jeremy Renner, a technology resource teacher with JCPS, said he is thrilled that the district lifted its ban on Twitter and YouTube.
“I see a lot of potential for it — from professional growth and idea-sharing among teachers to reaching out to students, parents and the community.” "

Yes, but when is that growth happening? Is my son's teacher facebooking with virtual friends and collegues during classtime when that teacher should be spending face time with our children? Many schools do an excellent job communicating with parents via email, newsletter, parent portal, etc. But are we so caught up in the craze that we are failing to see that a disconnect is happening between us and our children? My eleven year old son was able to create a personal website in fifteen minutes. He is more plugged in to cyberspace and sometimes tuned out to the world around him. And why do I want my child's personal business all over a facebook fan page? Isn't school hard enough without all the parents at the school and then their children knowing my child's personal triumphs and failures?

Being connected via a web page doesn't mean you've made a connection...it just means you are one step closer to disconnecting education from parental involvement in person.



http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20103070349

3 comments:

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  2. Its a shame you are on the PTA. You seem to be too judgmental. You have no idea the effort teachers put forth in what they do. How you can criticize a teacher that you have never even met, especially without teaching experience is totally unacceptable. To say there is a supervision issue is totally moronic. Maybe you should try researching before putting your opinions out in the public domain.
    Then you mock Jeremy Renner. It is clear you are not a professional and do not understand the value of creating positive professional relationships. A former superintendent used to say that perspective depends on what filters you are looking through. It is clear that your filters have no knowledge of the education of children. Unfortunately, in your position other parents think that you do.

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  3. @kmckune1,it is interesting that you say I am too judgmental and then judge me. Far too many of our children are disconnected from interpersonal communication with their families. Cell phones, texting and twittering have replaced in person one on one conversations. As a parent, I have been in those classrooms where a teacher is focusing on one student and sometimes the students are focused on their work, and well, sometimes they are not. While I would hope that our teachers use the tools available to create positive connections with parents, it is far too easy to slip into the "well I sent you an email" mode rather than sit down in person with a family and engage in conversation. Many schools do not permit this type of activity because it has proven to be a distraction rather than a benefit. Furthermore, I did not mock Mr. Renner. My comment was more concerned with when the professional development was occuring: during key instructional time or when planning time was to take place. I absolutely understand the efforts that teachers undertake because for the last 6 years I have been an active part of my children's education, volunteering endless hours to assist their teachers as a room parent, field trip chaperone, etc. I also have taught in the classroom, therefore I know how difficult it can be to engage 20 students on one topic, especially in an age where they have never known a world without technology such as laptops, cell phones, and programs like facebook and twitter. Thus it appears that you also need to do your research before you personally attack my opinion.

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