This week, Brandon Debert (check out his blog here) and I did a mock conversation between a parent and a teacher, the parent being concerned over their child’s technology use (specifically blogging) in the class. I believe Brandon and I hit all the right points in this conversation; the digital world has become the real world for so many students today and it is important that, as teachers, we incorporate this technology into their daily learning. We have to show the students to be responsible and safe online, while also teaching them how to engage with different online communities. Digital citizenship is a complex concept to teach but it is needed in order to ensure students’ success online. Anyway, Brandon and I hit most of these points in our conversation so I’ll let you read it for yourself. Sorry the screenshots are so small; click on them to make them bigger
Of course, I wouldn’t expect a conversation about technology between a teacher and a parent to go as smoothly as the one above did. Parents are worried about their child’s security and safety and that’s absolutely understandable. It’s important for the teacher, however, to impress upon the parents that the pros of using technology in the classroom heavily outweigh the cons; that their child is benefitting much more from using technology than if they were not. Change is good and although parents might shy away from the idea at first, it wouldn’t be hard to convince them otherwise once they begin to understand just how incorporating technology in the classroom is beneficial to their child’s learning.
Any points YOU’D add to make the conversation better? Looking at it now, I think I’d perhaps emphasize to the parents that blogging is a great way for students to read and review other students’ writing online. We kind of touched on this in the conversation, but blogging would be a great way for students to further develop their comprehension and argumentative skills; they could read other students’ work and perhaps learn from their opinions. With this online community, you could also connect with classrooms across the world and the students could then learn about different cultures. I think this would be a great social studies idea and the students would really enjoy learning what life in Australia, for example, is like; it would be like the modern day version of having a “pen-pal”. (I remember having a pen-pal from Halifax in Grade Six. Am I really that old?)
Is there really anything you can’t do with technology in the classroom. As they years pass, it seems that the answer is no.