Digital Learning Environment (DLE)

My personal DLE is expanding as I explore platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Youtube as well as numerous Web 2.0 programs. I believe many students already use these platforms to keep in touch with their friends and follow various interests they may have.

Frustrations:  Schools block sites such as Facebook, Youtube etc. Students are often not permitted to use mobile phones during school hours and this is becomes so much harder to ‘police’. I have had personal experiences of students posting inappropriate comments and threats towards myself and other teachers. Some have even taken on fraudulent identities of teachers. Often these instances are hard to track and consequences are often blurred due to the nature of the offence and school executives not being clear on how to deal with the situation. The article (below), published recently in the Sydney Morning Herald could well set a precedent for these instances:

Whitbourn, M. (2014, March 5). Former student told to pay $105,000 for defamatory tweet. The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 4

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Despite all of this, I feel we are doing a disservice to our students by blocking social media sites. They will need to take responsibilty for their online behaviour in the future, so I believe schools have a responsibility to educate students in digital citizenship whilst at school. This needs to be done by all teachers, all KLAs and be repeated and supported regularly. There are so many great resources that we can’t easily share with our students whilst at school due to the blocks in place. In schools, the ‘horse has already bolted’ in terms of technology use. ‘Digital citizenship’ has unfortunately been an afterthought, arising from seemingly more pressing issues eg. Which type of device do we promote, BYOD? etc.

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