Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Friends with students on Facebook: acceptable or not?

Ethics (also known as moral philosophy) is a branch of philosophy which seeks to address questions about morality; that is, about concepts such as good and bad, right and wrong, justice, and virtue.

So are teachers adding their students to Facebook breaking the code of ethics for the teacher/student relationship? Is it going too far? Is it just giving teachers and students a way to communicate without supervision? Or is it more about the access to personal information and photos?

I've asked a lot of people their opinion on this topic, students, parents and teachers across the globe. I started a Google doc, and tweeted asking my followers to comment and give their opinion on it, and asked my Facebook friends to do the same. I asked many of my friends their opinions and got answers like:

"as long as the level of maturity is kept appropriate I don't see a problem with it"

"I think if a teacher were to add a student without the student asking the teacher, it might impose certain uncomfortable feelings on the student, since the teacher has a position of authority over the student. So, the student may feel obligated to accept the Facebook friendship and things may become awkward from there on. Generally, I would say yes it is acceptable.”

When I think of the student/teacher friends on Facebook I always think it is a way of giving them a way to speak without supervision, but emailing does that as well. But I think that may also be the fact that I watch way to many TLC specials on online stalkers and such. Like other social networking sites being friends on Facebook give teachers a way to talk to their students about problems they are having in the classroom who are afraid to speak up. But does that make it okay to add your students on Facebook? Many different people have different opinions on this topic. A lot of teachers I have spoken to, that I do have on Facebook say it's okay once they are no longer your student and have graduated.

I've been hearing lately about teachers who have two accounts. A professional account where they put the basic information, a profile picture and let who ever add them to Facebook, this gives them a way to talk to their students about what is going on in the classroom, and find out more about their insight, which they may not feel comfortable sharing face to face, or aloud in front of the classroom. Then they have their normal account, where they upload pictures and have their personal friends and family and have it blocked so that their students cannot see it. I personally like this idea, it gives students a way to have more trust I find in their teacher, and I was that the teacher can incorporate technology into a classroom instead of just lecturing and listening.

Like anything there are variables to this very touchy subject. Its really up to the teacher whether or not they choose to have two accounts, add students to Facebook, or wait until they are graduated and have moved on. When I become a teacher, I think I'll go with the two accounts, then I wont have to constantly worry about what I'm posting, and what my students will see. But that also goes to say, what type of things are you doing that you don't want your students seeing, and do you really want the rest of the world to see too?

I read this excellent article about this subject, and got a lot of information from it; I think it's definitely worth checking out!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tech Task One

Hello! I'm Natasha, and I'm a first year student at the University of Regina. I am currently enrolled in the Arts Education program, and I am majoring in Music and have not decided my minor quite yet. I attended Robert Usher high school, which is until the School Board shut it down before I got to go into my grade 11 year; I finished off my last two years at Winston Knoll and realized that size does matter. I still live at home with both my parents and one of my older brothers. I have two older brothers and one new sister-in-law, her and my brother have been married just over a year now. I am working part time at the North Supercenter Walmart, as a men’s fashion employee, I have had many different jobs but all of which have been in the retail industry. I have many hobbies that include: singing, reading, writing, scrapbooking and mainly social networking. I have a facebook account which I check more than I should, I also have a twitter account where I started out just following celebrities but now have become a daily tweeter. I have found technology to become a thing of my everyday life, and you will never catch me without my Blackberry or laptop. I have always used technology to help further my learning with school or even just social experiences. I do believe that computing should be encouraged in the classroom from K - 12 but I'd like teachers to also stress the fact that students do still need to know how to use a dictionary, or be able to do math without a calculator. I know that when I was in high school and the school board blocked facebook, I was pretty upset, but I realized I paid more attention in class, and participated more because I wasn't hid behind my computer screen. I was extremely excited for this class because I am a very technology based learner; I pick up on things quickly and am often showing my parents or friends how to use things on their computers or cellphones. In this class I expect to learn more innovative ways to include technology in an arts education room, and what things I should post on the internet now that I am on the path the becoming a teacher. I hope to learn more in-depth things about computers other than just social networking, I also hope to learn more about the ways I can get my students more involved in the classroom by showing them things to do on a computer other than just trying to get out of my classroom by getting distracted by Facebook and other such ways to contact things outside what I am teaching them. To conclude I basically have high expectations for this class in a sense that it will be my favourite class, one of which I learn the most useful knowledge in this semester. Don’t get me wrong I love English and my Arts education class, but I have always been interested in new and innovative tools on the computer and am very excited to get started using them and teaching them to others !