Safety and Social Networking
How can we maximize the learning power of participatory Web sites while ensuring students are protected and behave responsibly?
The various scandals around social networking abuses have garnered lots of press in the past couple of years. Predators, bullying, slander, and harassment of all kinds on sites such as MySpace and Facebook are increasingly the subjects of horror stories and play into a renewed wave of fear about the dangers online.
As a professor of educational technology and media in a teacher education program, I have encountered some frightening tales myself.
Rob was a bright, well-mannered young intern whose career almost ended in controversy in fall 2006. He entered his practicum in top form with strong classroom management skills and a brilliant grasp of the high school math curriculum. Rob was well-liked by his students—perhaps a little too much by some. Three of Rob’s female students created a fake MySpace account of the young teacher, populating the site with digital photos they found through Web searches and with information from Rob’s authentic MySpace profile. Students took these acts further, digitally altering photos to produce images of the young teacher “pounding back shooters” at a local nightclub with several high school students by his side.
Author: Alec Couros, Technology & Learning, 15th February 2008
Full article available here.
Dr. Alec Couros is a professor of Educational Technology and Media in the Faculty of Education, University of Regina, Canada.