Ben Wildeboer has written a thorough post (“Social networking sites pose “dangers” for educators”) about The Ohio Education Association (OEA) sending out:

a memo this fall strongly advising teachers to completely and totally avoid social networking sites.

I think I understand why OEA feels this is the right course for educators, but I completely disagree. Ben has it right: Educators shouldn’t be engaging in inappropriate interactions with students online or F2F (no kidding) and telling educators to stay off social networking sites is literally asking them to firmly plant their heads in the sand and pretend the Internet and the issues it raises will go away. This isn’t a constructive response. Having teachers stay off social networking sites isn’t going to stop teacher spoof sites either, like I have discussed previously in my presentations about safe digital social networking.

heads in the sand

Ben shares a good summary at the end of his post:

It’s time for school officials to realize that social networking sites and other online collaboration tools (wikis, blogs, etc.) aren’t a fad that will soon fade away. Schools often seem so afraid of change; whenever something new comes along it’s banned or blocked before its merits can be determined. Wouldn’t be wonderful if schools were led by digitally literate teachers, principals, and officials who strove to introduce technology to students instead of the other way around?

For more of my thoughts on this, refer to:

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8 Responses to Ohio Education Association gives bad advice on social networking

  1. Thanks for picking up on my post! I’ve just started my education-related blog and it was pretty exciting for me to get noticed by one of the big names in the edu-blogosphere.
    My hope is that through the work you do and the work of individual teachers in the classroom, school administrators (and teacher’s unions) will finally realize technology isn’t to be feared.

  2. Rick says:

    I just blogged Ben’s article also. I agree. Plus, what I think we’re dealing with is a disconnect between the Association leadership and it’s youngest members. They may want to rethink their inclusion practices.

  3. […] discussion continues on Moving at the Speed of Creativity: I think I understand why OEA feels this is the right course for educators, but I completely […]

  4. […] Ohio Education Association gives bad advice on social networking » Moving at the Speed of Creativit… […]

  5. Kate Olson says:

    Thanks for the great post – as you can see above, I linked to it from my post at http://googtweetblog.edublogs.org/2008/01/20/hiding-under-my-blog/. I really value your blog for great discussions on this topic.

  6. mrsdurff says:

    I do so agree with you! Also we should not be keeping them off game sites but rather embrace this way of learning. I am fighting that attitude now….

  7. Conor Galvin says:

    Good post and good links, thanks.
    This is an issue that concerns educators well beyond Ohio. There’s a really interesting debate just finishing on the Economist site – of all places! – between Ewan McIntosh (high profile Scottish blogger) and Michael Bugeja (the well-known Voice of Reason & Caution). It’s here: ://www.economist.com/debate/index.cfm?debate_id=3&action=hall . danah boyd has also chipped in her dollar’s worth: http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2008/01/15/the_economist_d.html .
    All in all, a hot area; and one that is far from sorted either side of the pond.

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