The Web

There are dangers for anyone using the web.  But, the web is a little like driving an automobile.  It is pretty much an essential skill to be able to drive a car these days and so is knowing how to use the web.  Few would think it is a good idea to put a ten year old behind the wheel and ask them to drive off alone into the sunset – and so it goes with anyone’s introduction to the web.  Guidance and supervision are essential at any age.

The opportunities that the web offers to instructors to support student learning are rich and powerful.  The volume of resources that instructors and other experts have been able to create and share on every topic is growing every day.  And this content is open and available on the web.  Technology that supports the creation of curriculums where students engage in new ways with the material are transforming the classroom experience for many – such as in the “flipped Classroom” scenario supported by Jon Bergmann, Jerry Overmyer and Brett Wilie.

This course is bringing my attention to the importance of a student’s digital footprint.  I thought the video about the young man in an interview while his Facebook account sabotaged his chances of being considered, is clear about what students need to consider as they negotiate the web.  Students are being encouraged to create an online presence with eportfolios and collaborate with peers and experts with social media more and more each day.  As they transition from content consumers into content creators they may require guidance and information about just how public, and long term the content is that they create for the web.

I struggle with social media because it is so public and so immediate.  I need to time to think before I interface with the world.  I give new meaning to the term “time to gather your thoughts”.  When I am using social media on the web the content seems to come from all directions at once, and the technology itself is constantly changing.  But, of course it is because of these very characteristics that the web is such a powerful instrument for learning.  The global aspect, the immediacy, the amount of content, and the constant evolution of technology combine to create great potential for the web to support education.  I recognize that if I want to facilitate student’s creation of an online presence then I must understand what it means to create one myself.

Where I work I am “on” email the entire day.  People expect to be answered as if they were standing in the room speaking at my desk.   When I have days like that, by the time I get home, I really don’t want to interface with people in that way.  But, sometimes I have to because it is the only way I have to communicate with many of the people that I care about.  I learned to text because it is the best way to get an immediate response from anyone and everyone I know.  I lurk on Facebook because I stalk my Son.  And I am determined to feel comfortable with social media because I feel that this is an essential 21st century skill.  It is a skill set that I believe allows students to be life wide and life long learners.


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