Over the past nine months I had the opportunity to explore the use of Educational Technology. I have rediscovered the importance of its use in today’s society. We live in a technological age where children are using technology day and night. As educators we must match what they are doing or lose them in the classroom. There are a huge variety of tools out there. My one regret is that most of them are geared for upper elementary or older. Some of them are able to be used by students in the lower grades, but from practical experience it is difficult.
I have decided to incorporate many of the tools into my teaching, including blogging, Glogster and Prezi.. Also, I am beginning to bring tools that I taught in certain grades down a grade. For example, Google Docs used to be taught in 6th grade, I now plan on teaching it in 5th. Many students are already using it. I also plan on having the children create their own Vokis, because they already create their own avatars on the Wii and Play Stations. For these reasons we need to be ahead of the technology lest we fall behind.
However, all this being said, I still believe there are times that going “low tech” is better. Every teacher needs to remember that the technology should support the curriculum not the other way around.
Facebook is a wonderful tool. I have been on it for a few years now and I find it very useful. I have found friends from college that I have not heard from in twenty years, I have even had two apologies from people about the way they treated me in high school and I even found a way to get rid of Silly Putty from my couch. I share photos with my family who are across the country as well as friends who live down the block who I don’t get to see very often.
I currently have 478 friends and yes I know them all. I have friends that have over 2000 “friends” . The problem with that is that, if you are not careful, all of your “friends” can see your info, pictures and everything else. Even if you do set proper privacy settings Facebook routinely changes them and they get changed.
Is Facebook wrong to use? No. Can it be used with students? Yes – Carefully! If you are going to use it be careful. My suggestion is that you create a separate account. Do NOT friend any students on your personal account. Do NOT link your personal account to one that you are creating to work with students. I have known many people who have gotten into trouble because of their Facebook account.
In my school we had a teacher that did many wonderful activities and lessons on Facebook. It allowed her students to write and get descriptive about topics that they normally would not have done if she did it through conventional matters. As I have stated elsewhere, a great activity in Jewish Education would be to create a Facebook page for Anne Frank or Oscar Schindler and have the students update their statuses about what is going on. It would be the “New Diary of Anne Frank”.
In the end my answer is friend, but friend carefully and if you do friend students (I would only for a special project) then create a separate Facebook account.