I just finished reading all of your entries into Discussion 1 and had a great time seeing the wheels turning as you processed the Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us video. I’m excited for all of you as you jump into the Read/Write web with both feet. This is the #1 reason I introduced the Participatory Web in Week 1. Teachers all over the world are doing amazing things as a result of the tools. You’ll see many examples throughout the next 5 weeks. I have much to say in response to your postings, so instead of creating a podcast or sending out an email, I thought I would use one of the most powerful Web 2.0 tools that I use, my blog.
First, let’s talk about Internet Safety. Many of you expressed concern about keeping our children safe – this is a very legitimate issue that needs to be addressed. It’s important to know that our students can be safe if we teach them how. Too often, school boards and districts, teachers, and parents use the Ostrich Safety Method: block everything and don’t talk about it. This is not a sound educational method. We teach kids “Stop, drop, roll” … “When you hear the siren, go under the table (California) … or … go to the basement (midwest).” Why don’t we teach how to be safe from the earthquake or storm that might be lurking online? A quick search on Google for “Internet Safety” returned 99, 700,000 hits. Many educators are addressing this issue pro-actively. Blogs, wikis, and other Web 2.0 tools can be controlled by teachers. It’s simple, you ok every post before it is published – before the students see them. The bottom line, the news media loves to sensationalize everything – this topic is not an exception. Last, there is no substitute for parental guidance – so as you’re educating yourself, your colleagues and administrators, educate the parents also.
Second, I want to encourage you to begin using Mozilla Firefox instead of other web browsers. Firefox has much tighter controls to stop pop-ups; since switching a couple of years ago I have virtually no pop-up adds or undesirable sites. There is even a parental control suite for Firefox called Glubble Family Edition. In addition, Firefox has 100’s of add-ons that provide shortcuts and instant information – I always know what the weather is and the forecast just by looking at the bottom of my web window – I use Forcastfox.
Last, I want to talk about Personal Learning Networks (PLNs). With the advent of Web 2.0, and thousands of educators joining the club, your ability to get and stay connected with like-minded and different-minded educators is unlimited. This club is not exclusive, like jr/sr high or the country club. The educators who I’ve met online are open, willing to share and listen, and collaborative. To get you started, I suggest signing up for Twitter and begin following folks. Once you create a profile, you can go to my Twitter account and see who I’m following. You can also go to Who Should I Follow? and see what Twitter comes up with. Twitter provides me with a daily professional development workshop – I’m learning something new every day.
Next week I’ll share Delicious and Diigo, so stay tuned.
See you all online,