Walled Gardens and Social Media: A Teacher’s Perspective

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Walled gardens. I had never heard this term applied to technology before. It was a description of the beautiful stone walls all over Ireland. I’m a little sad that it now has a more negative connotation for me. This research was interesting but not terribly enlightening. I am constantly finding sites that I could use, but not in the classroom as they are blocked. Many math or special education blogs that I enjoy cannot be accessed during school hours. This presents many problems as I get a lot of ideas from them but must print information in case I forget something. As a special education teacher in a high poverty district, filtering adds unexpected challenges. Many of my students do not have access outside of the school network. They are not learning how to interact appropriately on the web, nor are they learning about how to stay safe on unfiltered web sites. While I can, and do teach this, not being able to demonstrate for them turns the lesson into a lecture, causing many of them to either tune me out or stop listening because they think they know what I am talking about. I believe that fewer sites should be blocked, and teachers should be teaching digital citizenship more thoroughly. My VoiceThread on this topic can be found here:

Walled Gardens VoiceThread

 

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