Friday, February 16, 2007

A few bad apples may spoil School 2.0!

I was visiting the read-write web blog, AKA weblogg-ed today and there was an interesting post entitled “Worse before it gets better”. Will makes a couple of fine points with his post. First, he doesn’t foresee schools embracing social software in a systemic way anytime soon. Second, he highlights the DOPA bill purposed by Illinois. DOPA is being introduced because, Facebook, Myspace, and Bebo aren’t really that educational.
Many would argue against the bill, but schools and libraries have an obligation to protect children from potentially harmful material or materials. I just hate that a couple of bad apples can spoil the batch (e.g. individuals that are using School 2.0 for learning).

Another site in question as of late is Youtube. Unfortunately, unlike the social networking sites, youtube actually has or at least had the potential of being a great site to highlight educational videos. This was until some bad apples decided to use it to post malicious and inappropriate materials. Too bad! I was actually thinking about using youtube to highlight educational videos for my classes. Now, like the social networking sites, schools will have to block youtube as well.

Nevertheless, blocking sites isn’t the cure all that many would have us believe. Even with the best software, libraries and schools will not be able to prevent individuals from using web proxies to circumvent networks. Libraries and schools could pull the plug on public Internet access or block all of the search engines, but I think that there is a better way. I don't have all the answers, but it seems to me like we need to establish better policies in our schools and communities.

Schools have to start teaching students about the world we live in, about how to make smart, safe, ethical choices, both online and off. Maybe it’s just me, but I hate to see the majority of our students suffer because of a few bad apples. If you don’t understand the concept of a few bad apples, you should read an article posted in the New York Times yesterday entitled teenagers misbehaving and publishing it online.

In closing, web 2.0 and school 2.0 have real potential, but things like this will kill them. Sadly, most politicians, parents, educators, and administrators are digital immigrants and won’t even miss the technology until it’s too late. What a shame for the individuals that are trying to integrate 2.0 technologies into our schools for the sake of our students...

William Bishop (Bill)

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