Social Media

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



Netiquette Page

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Netiquette Definition

This task involved creating a web page that addresses netiquette in my classroom. I designed my page for use in my 9th-grade special education algebra classroom. My students tend to be impetuous and have difficulty understanding long-term consequences of their actions. There are many days when learning becomes secondary to whatever flame war, he said-she said, or outright bullying occurred the night before and carried over into the school day.

I chose four areas of Netiquette that I thought were most important for my students to understand. Each of these will be a good discussion starter, and I am sure that most will have something to share. I used the box to highlight brief rules that are concise and should be easy for them to remember.

My district goes back next Tuesday and all students in grades 7-12 will have a Chromebook. I revamped my first week of lessons to include a lot of mini-lessons on digital citizenship, which we will then revisit throughout the year. I incorporated this page into my social media lesson. I am very excited to be able to use something that I created. I’m pretty sure it will impress my students when they learn that I built this page, and I am hoping some of them will be interested enough to want to try coding. I would like to build some of this into my curriculum and plan to do the Hour of Code with them.

Here is my Netiquette Page.