How can educators tap into social networking as a legitimate, innovative educational tool? Policies vary between states, as well as districts within states, between public and private educational settings and children who are home-schooled, regarding responsible use of internet tools. Legal liability, in addition to well-founded concern for the welfare and safety of students in a school’s care, barricades all but the most basic access to the internet in most schools.
As a public school teacher and USHMM Museum Teacher Fellow, I grapple with my own access to resources in the classroom, including everything from e-mail to images, twitter, facebook, and youtube, as well as how to support other teachers in myriad contexts with the same concerns. In designing curriculum for the interactive installation, From Memory to Action: Meeting the Challenge of Genocide, this concern has been important, particularly as it pertains to students writing and following through with their post on the pledge wall and accessing saved data online.
This dilemma also has created roadblocks for supporting online networking for after school activities, such as our STAND chapter. How do we create an online presence when most districts prohibit/discourage teachers from sharing an online presence with students (as stated above, with reasonable cause)?
Regarding the institutional side of this discussion, I like Dan’s posted question as a topic: “How can the design of these online presences reflect the responsibility and liability of the organizations and their members?” In this setting, a conversation between designers and users could prove fruitful.
Looking forward to hearing thoughts and ideas!