Monday, April 30, 2007

Internet Safety

We have created an Internet Safety class in our high school. We have 5 students who were able to schedule their time on short notice, about 2 days before the second semester began. These 5 students have done a ton of work. They have become iMentors through the program. They have developed lessons about cyberbullying and predators. These lessons have been given to our 3rd grade classes by the iMentors. The students have planned a community night where they will deliver instruction to parents and community members. A contest was created as well. Students in grades 6 through 12 will be able to win an iPod Shuffle for the best product that promotes Internet safety. Students can write, create a slide show, movie, song, podcast, etc. The class will choose the best of each grade level. 7 prizes will be awarded. 3 assemblies will be conducted by the iMentors and local officials including the police. has been a tremendous help. Most of our material has come from Our local police agency has some great resources as well.

I hope to share with you the outcome of each of the activities above. It has been a scheduling nightmare at times, but well worth the effort.

If you have any activities you have been involved with please comment below. I'd love to hear about them.

Please visit the Sidney iMentors blog and wiki. We are looking for other students who have become iMentors or who want to let fellow students know about Internet safety.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

It Just Gets Better!

A weeks vacation really helps! Jumping back in has never been better! This past week has been relaxing as well as enlightening. Every where you look you can see the influence of the Internet. It's all around us! How long before it becomes an integral part of education?

The comment, "education moves slowly" is very frustrating to hear. Yet I read that comment or hear it in a podcast all the time. Why? Will it take web 4.0 hitting us in the head before most of us even look at web 2.0?

This past week has been tragic and has caused us all to take pause and evaluate many things, including our childrens' safety online and in reality. If you pay attention you will see how the Internet has played a significant role in all of this. The major news outlets heard about it from the VT website. Police are perhaps getting their best evidence by searching Internet and e-mail records. Students and parents were able to communicate immediately via the Internet. Cell phones were a life line to many.

That reminds me, cell phones, hhhmmm..........good or evil? I think that we can really turn around the typical response to cell phone use in schools. Why not use them as a major communications tool. We can instantly communicate with our students using technology. There are several tools available. A five minute search revealed many tools available to send sms messages to mobile phones. Is anyone out there using one? What a concept...........a cell phone used for good not evil.

I also ran into another website I have many ideas for using this. Check this out! More on this later. I need to play.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

How Savvy Are They, Really?

I am sitting here listening to David Warlick's podcast. He is discussing podcasting with a group of teachers. One of the attendees has sparked a thought that has been popping up every now and then. That thought is; How much do my students really know about the Internet and all that goes with it?

It has crossed my mind a lot recently because I have been using podcasting for over a year and blogs and wikis for about 3 months. Each time I have introduced these topics I ask my students if they have ever heard of them. Each time they respond, "no".

The most recent time they shocked me with that answer was this past week. I had posted to my blog about cyberbullying. I basically asked them what they thought of the Ryan Halligan story that I linked to. They were to read and then post about it themselves. Each answer or comment I received was the same. They have never heard of cyberbullying. The second comment was even more revealing. A few said that teachers are just making too much of this.

Are we? I do not believe I am in the most progressive school, but we are not the least progressive either. Sometimes I think we give our students to much credit, especially when it comes to technology. There is still so much we can share with them.

This is perhaps the biggest challenge we face. When do we lead and when do we follow. Most teachers have trouble with that. I have always shared with my students that I like to learn too. They feel comfortable teaching me. It wouldn't have happened though if I didn't initiate it.

I think we need to talk with our students. We need to know their level of tech-savvy. Do not over estimate them. Join them in discussion. You'll be amazed at what you learn.

The technology has again delivered teacher insights from around the world to my living room. This is too cool!