TL Ponderings


Policy Issues and Social Networking

Posted in INF506 by sarahcook3 on June 7, 2011
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The change that has occurred due to the evolution of the Internet and Web 2.0 tools has been enormous. The way we view and consume information and entertainment has changed rapidly particularly in the past six years according to Did you know 4.0 by xplanevisualthinking (2009). How do we as TLs embrace and harness this change yet still have the safety and rights of our students and colleagues at the forefront of our working day? Through comprehensive policies and guidelines.

Within my primary library and classroom context, (educating students about the correct use of the Internet is not only the TL domain as classroom teachers are using technology more and more throughout the school day), we try to educate the students to make the right choices when using online resources hoping that this ‘responsible for your own actions’, ‘earning trust’, moral education extends to the home. We have clear consequences in place for students who use the technology inappropriately through the Acceptable User Policy that each student signs at the beginning of the year. Furthermore, we try to impress the importance of each person’s rights with regard to privacy and permissions surrounding what is said and uploaded to the Internet. Our governing body has some filters in place with regards to inappropriate sites but does not block Facebook for example, the CEO’s policies and guidelines for the diocesan are also close to six years old – an issue that needs to be addressed.

Our teachers are so busy that if they get a chance to look at personal social networking sites at work then I’d be amazed. I think education around privacy, copyright and leaving a digital footprint is more realistic for our context as opposed to regulations regarding the use of social networking sites during school time. In particular the footprint or record you leave online. Search engines and organisations have become so powerful that they are able to track your searches and then create a profile of what they think you need – filtering your searches for you. This strikes me as being the exact opposite to what the internet was at first, unlike the library where your librarian has ‘filtered what is on the shelves’ through their collection development policy, the internet allowed you access to everything without prejudice. The underlying problem here is that the majority of people don’t realise they are being manipulated like this, that they are not anonymous.

Second Life

Posted in INF506 by sarahcook3 on June 7, 2011
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Although many gen x’s and baby boomers have embraced Virtual Worlds and gaming, the statistics show that 11 – 15 year olds (.com gen) are the biggest participants (Jo Kay, 2010. Exploring the Metaverse; Kids, Tweens and Teens), these are my students and where my students are heading. The article by Dede, Immersive interfaces for engagement and learning (2009) identifies three ways virtual engagement can enhance educational opportunities; multiple perspectives; situated learning; and transfer, studies showing that students are performing better on tests within this environment then in standardised testing. Being a primary school TL, I think that the use of SL in primary education is a long way off. The use of Virtual Worlds in education will require an attitudinal shift in the user. Currently the vast majority of these tools are being used for fun, to  communicate socially, for escapism. I’m sure that there is unconscious learning taking place – better use of technology, netiquette, online collaboration, self-examination and reflection, multi-tasking. But the learning curve, commitment and  time needed to make any real time online Virtual World an effective educational tool, coupled with the need for further research into its benefits in the classroom will make this avenue a distant project for my students.

I viewed my time in Second Life as an opportunity to explore something different, I discovered that it wasn’t as hard as I had imagined and realised that I was able to transfer knowledge into the mechanics of this experience, making the using of it seem more common sense. Although I do think that I already have trouble keeping up with my friends in the real world so on a personal note wouldn’t have time for new friends in a virtual world. Moreover, the ability to be anyone you want online makes me sceptical about who you meet, they may not necessarily be who they say they are, a fact that I will be expressing regularly to my own teen and tween children.

References

Dede, C. (2009). Immersive interfaces for engagement and learning, Science, 323(5910), 66-69. Retrieved from http://www.sciencemag.org.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/cgi/reprint/sci;323/5910/66.pdf