Writing Responsibly – it’s easy to blog or is it?

I have read this blog post which I find a bit inspiring, more so because I just replied to one of the comments in one post about this same matter. The online environment is fantastic – or is it? Online we cannot see who we are talking to. Even if we know the person in real life, it seems that online people’s personalities take on different shades of color. Some say the true personality emerges in the online environment because people’s inhibitions seem to unfold and it becomes somewhat easier to express one’s views and opinions. Sometimes it’s too easy to express one’s views and opinions. And this is an important skill which we, as Educators, is important to impart to our students – those people who face us in a classroom. It’s useless being scared of using Facebook with students. It’s useless because they will still use it themselves. On the other hand it’s good if we help them use Facebook responsibly – to be able to share information in a good way. The blog post here presents a metaphor between Facebook and the story Lord of the Flies. In the latter, a group of boys, left in isolation by all adults turn to severe aggression and violent behavior. The ordinary lives of young humans is catapulted into a complete chaos as they try to survive – with disastrous results. In the blog the author wonders if by leaving our young people alone in the online environment we might in reality trigger behavior that might cause more harm more than  good. The classic motto “If you can’t beat them join them” might not be too far off the mark in this case.

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50 thoughts on “Writing Responsibly – it’s easy to blog or is it?

  1. Naqbel miegħek perfettament. Kif kulħadd jaf, l-ambjent onlajn huwa dizzjunarju ħaj fejn kull persuna tista’ titgħallem. Huwa wkoll sistema komunikattiva fejn issir taf nies ġodda jew tkompli ssir taf ħbieb oħra fejn il-personlitajiet veri tagħhom ikomplu joħorġu. Dan għaliex huwa l-eħfef mod fejn il-mistħija titneħħa u tista’ turi/taqsam l-opinjonijiet tiegħek ma’ ħaddieħor.

    L-ambjent onlajn ma jistax jitwaqqaf mill-bieb tal-iskola ’l ġewwa. Ix-xogħol tal-għalliema huwa li jiggwida lill-istudenti kif jużaw tajjeb b’mod responsabbli dan l-ambjent globali u teknoloġiku. Fil-blog Facebook – are we creating a Lord of the Flies?, l-awtur juri l-inċertezza tiegħu għal fatt li jekk aħna nħallu lill-istudenti tagħna weħidhom f’dinja teknoloġika, jibda jkun hemm ferocious bullying, the posting of inappropriate violent or sexual material or worse still, connections to entirely unsuitable individuals. Għalhekk l-irwol tagħna hu li ngħallmu lill-istudenti kif jaħdmu u jużaw dan l-ambjent onlajn.

    Naħseb wasal iż-żmien, li fl-iskejjel tagħna ma nibblokkjawx ċertu siti elettroniċi l-għaliex illum ċertu studenti xorta għandhom il-mezzi biex jidħlu fihom (m’iniex se nidħol fiha). Huwa wkoll impossibli li nikkontrollaw it-tfal kif jużaw din it-teknoloġija u l-midja soċjali fid-dar. Idea li għoġbitni ħafna f’kumment li kitbet Janet Abercrombie, u naħseb li huwa tajjeb li jiġu attwati f’Malta wkoll, hi li jiġu implimentati żoni screen free jew mumenti fil-ġurnata screen free fl-iskola imma mbagħad l-istudenti jridu jkunu mħarġa biex jiżviluppaw iktar relazzjonijiet wiċċ imb wiċċ. Dawn iż-żoni ma nafx kemm jistgħu jkunu possibli hawn Malta!

    • I think that as educators in an increasing technological world, we must introduce Facebook to our students. It’s useless to try to protect the students from the negative effects that it might have. On the other hand, we can explain the entire picture, the strengths and limitations of facebook. In addition, we can use the strengths to add on our classroom learning strategies, so at the same time students are guided on the way facebook should be use. Facebook isn’t just a great way to find old friends or learn about what’s happening this weekend; it is also an incredible learning tool. Teachers can utilize Facebook for class projects, for enhancing communication, and for engaging students in a manner that might not be entirely possible in traditional classroom settings. Educators should check out these suggestions for ways to use Facebook effectively and professionally.

      1. Create a separate account just for your classes. Keep two accounts if you want to use Facebook personally as well. This keeps your Facebook relationship at school on a professional level.
      2. Publish notes for recognition. If you want to recognize accomplishments of particular students or the effort of an entire class, be sure to write a note indicating what you are recognizing and tag all students involved.
      3. Use as a course management system. Use in place of other course management systems such as Blackboard to access all your online information and connections with fewer restrictions.
      4. Include your class blog. If you have a class blog, import it to Facebook so it shows up there when you add a new blog post.

      Students should be knowledgeable also about the limitations of facebook. It has been criticized for many things, but mostly for being a source of destruction that can turn Facebook users into real social networking addicts. Stalking people, hacking into accounts, getting too much involved with unknown people and being deprived from real life are some of the broadly recognized negative effects of Facebook. I think that if we have informed students there is no better guidance and protectiveness.

  2. I really agree with this! Whilst I was at school during my TP, the students had a one hour talk about internet safety. The talk was very interesting, the person giving the talk asked the students for what do they use the internet, most of them answered, facebook, msn, gmail, etc etc.. Afterwards he introduced them to the concept of safety. He asked them whether some of them used mirc, and nobody had even heard of it (thankfully) and he explained how some people may say they are athletic and 16 years old, when in reality they’d be 40 years of age and not athletic at all.
    So yes it is very important that even we as teachers give this type of knowledge to our students, We have to be alert of what’s happening on the web and keep ourselves updated both for ours and our students’ sakes!

  3. With regards to ‘Facebook and Lord of the Flies’, honestly I feel that the children are misusing the technology at their hands! WE, as EDUCATORS should be the front runners to teach them how to use blogs, facebook and other technologies to their full potential. We must always keep in mind what was the original intention of Facebook. Unfortunately, we are not getting enough support from the authorities to educate our students how to use these technologies potentials correctly.

    If we do not tackle this problem as soon as possible, our children will soon end up like the survivors in the ‘Lord of the Flies’ fighting off each other in a virtual world instead of helping each other.

  4. The online environment is great indeed as long as it is used appropriately. However, I believe that this virtual environment can never replace the real environment (Well, they are two distinct environments). This is especially so when it comes to communication. Thus, I think the first step is to educate people especially children to use the online environment in the right circumstances and for the right reasons. Ex. It is NOT appropriate/ethical to discuss problems regarding your intimate relationship with your partner online or discuss any serious matter whatsoever.

    Secondly, I think we need to be better equipped so that we can educate our children and make them aware of the dangers that lie in both the real and virtual world. We are living in a time where for the first time technology and innovation are ahead of us. Do you think that we are educating our children for the future?

    I believe that we are still lagging behind in online education and before we have even started, children are using it for most of the time. I do NOT agree in blocking social networking sites. However, I do agree that there have to be filters which regulate spam and illicit content.

    Furthermore, I do not think that we take the online environment as seriously as we take the real world. Such as an examples is theft: If you snatch a dvd from a record shop it is considered as stealing and everyone ‘admits’ the crime. However, if you download a dvd illegally many do not consider it as stealing. Well, it’s software not hardware!

    Therefore, I think that as we educate our children to use the right tools and teach them appropriate ways to live in society we should also teach them to navigate wisely and avoid the pitfalls of the online environment.

  5. It is always easy to write what you feel rather than speak it out. That’s why we send cards and poems. However, no matter what you write, it will always leave more impact on the reader if he/she hears it from you. I like facebook, as it brings down all distance boundaries. You can chat with old friends who you do not meet frequently. But it is selfish to use facebook to tell something to someone you see everyday. The social contact is essential. It is what makes us humans and that would bring the aggressiveness and animal instincts out of us, when we stop to communicate openly between us. That was the turning point in the lord of the flies. the situation broke down not immediately after the children were left alone without an adult guide, but when they cut their social contact between them and turned into primitive strugglers for survival. That is the real danger of such blogs, they are brilliant for sharing ideas, but they cannot share feelings as there is no human contact.

  6. It is easier to express oneself on a blog because you are not seeing the person / s you are talking to. I think that the reaction one expects from the other person also affects the way we say something, i.e the words used and the tone of the voice. I agree that we need to pay extra attention to what we write when using sms’s, blogs, emails etc…

  7. “If you can’t beat them join them” in this case yes. we cant tell them not to use facebook or twitter or the internet because there may be safety issues. However i believe education is the key to everything. On the other hand, if the teacher understands their interests and tries her/his best to merge the student’s interest in the lessons, then the students would be more engaged in the lessons. in one of my blogs i outlined that people learn differently, and therefore if the teacher uses this tool as a means of learning it might target more students. on the other hand, i fully agree that sometimes people may act differently when on the net, even with the people they know. its like they feel more at ease, free from facial expressions that might hinder the person to state his/her opinions. On the other hand, let us not forget, that any form of technology should not replace the human element.

  8. I have found this blog post really interesting, especially since I read the book “Lord of the Flies” and therefore think that this comparison is exact.
    People’s personalities can surely “take different shades of colour” online because a timid person in real life may be able to express him/herself better online. I agree that we, as future educators should speak about this reality, about the importance of using the web. However I also think that this should be guided.
    I myself used facebook as a topic for one of my lessons during my teaching practice experience. Students were really motivated during the lesson since it is a topic which they are more than familiar with and after all if forms part of their everyday routine. I agree with the fact that we should show them how to use it responsibly in order to avoid its misuse.
    I agree with the metaphor used in this blog. People especially if they’re still young tend to go with the flow at times, like the children in “Lord of the Flies” our students may be misguided by their friends regarding the use of the internet. I think that we should educate students, especially in schools regarding the advantages and disadvantages of the web. Like Kelly Mifsud said, even in the school where i was doing my TP, students had a talk regarding internet safety which i think was very informative. I also think that more talks like this should be organized and teachers should start discussing this topic in class.

      • We often don’t realize how dependent on technology we are. As I see it, we take technology for granted. Using a stone knife requires the technology to make that knife. Twisting gut into string to tie furs together for clothing is technology, as is any sort of tanning to make the furs supple enough to wear. I doubt we can even conceive of zero technology, let alone answer the question.

  9. I think, that a very good informative campaign for parents with young children needs to be implemented. Some parents do not realise how dangerous the “internet” can be. Then some good lessons on web ethics and dangers could be implemented in one of the syllabi such as ICT but not just. The better idea would be for a cross-topic between Social, PSD and ICT. The three subject teachers could work together for a common aim. From what I’ve seen, talks from experienced people are ok but students being grouped together in a large hall tend to not listen as much, apart from the fact that getting everyone in the hall on time almost never happens.

    Another issue is the filtering that the Department applies. Up to last scholastic year there was a workaround to access FB (this was discovered by the students 🙂 btw!) but now even that does not work. Messaging also does not work, even Skype. This measure to filter FB/messaging etc. came about because students (and sometimes teachers) abused the fact that they could use it during school hours. Some adults tend to be really silly – posting “Hooray, my classes are on a school visit today…. now I’m getting bored” on FB is not deemed intelligent, I think.

    Other than that, the social sites can be beneficial but teachers must not use their personal profile to share with students (it is prohibited by the DES) but at least they could do a simple “school” profile without adding personal data obviously, and share that with students to encourage them to participate in talks etc about their subjects. A teacher can create a group that can be moderated or else use a blog that can permit restricted access to students and also moderate any post.

    • I agree with most of your comments. Just as a side note the Internet situation is schools really has to somehow stop – it has become unacceptable in my opinion. Whoever is controlling what goes in and out of schools is not disclosing the grounds on which they do it. Teachers are complaining and yet I believe that if teachers get together and target the right channels to put pressure into allowing more flexibility in Internet access then you will manage. You have to present a case which shows that we are now moving towards this kind of teaching and some bureaucrat cannot tell teachers what to use or what not to use. Filtering is good… IF done intelligently and bearing in mind the needs of the major stakeholders… YOU!
      You can have enough power to do what needs to be done so that schools can somehow start moving forward in an digitally Educated society.

      • As a matter of fact, each teacher is provided with a u/name and password which are combined with a package of websites that teachers can access, they obviously have to either use the provided laptop or else use a lab pc. ICT/CS teachers are also provided with a specific logon username so they use a different profile than that of students.

        From what I know, the filtering is done at the department not MITA and runs on a white list rather than a blacklist (the white list is easier to manage!). Sometimes the problem is that teachers get lazy with their u/names and do not access the accounts for extended periods of time and when they do they find their account locked due to passwords expiring every 2 months. This happens after summer holidays especially.

        I should know, I was a Computer lab/e-learning tech at a govt. school until I came for the PGCE.

        Another bit of help would be to give ECDL training to teachers. It is a requirement for newbies like us but not for the old hands. It would greatly help with things as there are quite a good number of teachers who find it difficult to use pc’s for that reason. The one who do can get really organised.

        So teachers have access to a wide range of sites including Youtube and other sites. They can even ask for a special package of other sites that may be deemed necessary for their topics. As for FB, this still remains a no no.

        Also, teachers should remember that everything is logged. So they have to be very careful.

      • Thanks for these insights Silvio… quite useful and handy to know. My contacts at the Dept tell me that it is usually MITA who control the access but as teachers you would still need to go through the department anyway I believe. As to the ECDL training, the eLearning section at the Education Division, offer a number of courses that range for a number of tools and applications, ECDL being one of them. Ultimately it is up to the teacher to sign up for Professional Development courses. Needless to say that when these courses extend beyond 2.30pm, many people opt out of them. However the staffing at the eLearning Division is increasing and a number of teachers are now being employed as support teachers, going to different schools, offering support sessions in the use of a variety of applications. If I am not mistaken a number of them are now visiting schools giving sessions on the use of the interactive white board. It is also good to keep in touch with what is happening at the eLearning centre by visiting their site and their ICT Across their Curriculum site.

  10. I agree with the fact that people online are more confident and easily express their opinions, views, and ideas without much of the time, thinking twice. And this is also done by our students. It is important for students to get to know new methods of technology for their beneficial use but we as educators are not there only to teach our subject but also teach students essential values such as how to effectively use technology in their favour without abusing its use.

    Facebook, chatting and blogging is common amongst today’s pupils and I strongly believe that we as educators have to get familiar with the same technology in order to get to know what students interests are and thus educate them to appropriately make us of it. If students are educated on how to make use of technology appropriately they would teach their children to do so effectively enhancing the use of technology.

  11. Naqbel mal-fatt li hawn min iħossu aktar komdu u kunfidenti jikteb fuq biċċa karta/blog/chatting mingħajr ma joqgħod jaħsibha darbtejn.Iżda xorta waħda nistaqsi: Għala għad hemm din iċ-ċertu biża’ min-naħa tal-għalliem biex jibni relazzjoni anki permezz tat-teknoloġija mal-istudent? – Għax ma JAFX jew aħjar għax ma JRIDX? Nammetti li għadna ma dħalnix f’kultura ta’ blogging/forums u l-bqija bejn l-istudent-għalliem speċjalment fl-iskejjel primarji u sekondarji. Għalkemm li persważa li hemm barra hemm mewġa ta’ għalliema li qed jaħdmu favur din il-bidla, sakemm ma jinġarrux mal-bqija.

  12. I highly agree that it is much more easier to express one’s vies by blogging or expressing views on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. But I think that there should be some kind of control – if one takes a notable at some comments written on certain blogs and social media especially regarding the recent political turmoil on our island, he / she would be utterly disgusted by certain comments which incite hatred.

  13. If I had to choose a key word from this blog, I would choose the word ‘responsibly’ because I think that it says it all. Personally, I believe that there is nothing wrong with students using internet. After all, who does not use it nowadays? It has become part of each and every one of us. What is crucial is the fact that internet ought to be used as my chosen key word says ‘responsibly’; otherwise harm might take place. Thus, parents and educators should ensure that they educate children in the best way possible, without making much fuss. The role of the parents is not to watch over their children every second and so, just as children learn many skills, so they ought to learn how to use the internet in a safe manner as well. As a wise parent once said – “Education and empowerment are key.”

  14. I believe that proper guidance is needed by both parents and educators when using online environment.One cannot stop children from using online environment as they would be missing. Through proper use of online environment students would benefit. For example children who are intimated to speak in class find it much easier to participate in discussions and relate to others online.
    Still I believe that proper guidance is needed by both parents and educators when using online environment. Students without guidance can misuse or overuse the online environment. A clear example of overuse is when students spent their free time and holidays playing PlayStation or online games and chatting on facebook. Some of these students end up lacking social skills and other skills that can be acquired through informal activities such as sports.

  15. Jien naqbel li in nies meta ikunu online johorgu aktar il karattru taghhom ghax meta jghidu l-opinjoni taghhom ikunu sincieri u ma jisthux. Jien wahda min dawn. Online aktar kunfidenti. Ovjament irid ikun hemm bilanc. Importanti li qabel tittajpja xi haga tahsibha sew. Ahna bhala ghalliema ghandna nuzaw it teknologija biex nikkomunikaw ma l istudenti taghna imma Irridu nghallmuhom li meta tuza is social networks irid ikun hemm certu sens ta responsabilta` anki meta tghati sempliciment e-mail address. Student m’ghandux dritt jikteb li jrid lit teacher tieghu through e-mail ghax online ihossu kunfidenti u probabilment fil-klassi lanqas biss jiftah halqu. It teknologija hi perikoluza hafna. Tid toghqod attent kif tuzaha, tajjeb taghmel uzu minna pero` specjalment biex tikkomunika ma l-istudenti tieghek, fi zmien fejn ghalihom t teknologija hi kollox, pratikament hi d droga taghhom.

  16. I do agree that on-line environment is fantastic – people do communicate with each other, know more about each other, learn more, and surely those who find it difficult to speak in front of the class because of their shyness, they will do so on social networks. Unfortunately things can be used badly or use them to harm others. for example: a knife can be used for cutting bread but it can be used for killing too. Social networks are good too but there are people who use other’s personal details to harm that person, make a fake person, or bullies him/her. Yes, there has to be responsibility. Teachers have to use social networks, give students the opportunity to use social networks, and guide them too. Internet safety is important!

  17. writing on Facebook or any other blog to the writer it is easier since they are only writing and telling what they percive to the computer and not to somebody else. This gives a sense of confort to the writer any he feels that he can say anything without people having the power to stop him. The thing that any writer that thinks in this way is that on these electronic media they can easily be traced back and details and personal information can be easily found. This will give rise to personal insultes which people have no contol of.

    Allowing students to use facebok in class my be tempting to use since it could be benefical however there are certain aspects that needs to be considered before this could be used. Students do not know what certain consequences that might be done due to some posts that write on facebook and where it can lead the student to.

  18. We’re all humans and we all know that the more we know that something is out of reach or forbidden, the more curious we become to explore it. This happens to everyone, including us adults. As educators of adolescents we must keep in mind that we cannot stop our students from making use of social media and the web in general, as social networks like facebook and websites such as ‘youtube’ have become an essential part of their lives.

    The best way to go about teaching students about the appropriate use of the internet, therefore, is communicating with them, discussing the dangers that may be encountered in the online environment and guide them in dealing with them effectively. One might wonder how it would be best to go about it. The first step, in my opinion would be a policy in all schools affirming that educators must attend seminars in which they get informed about the real dangers and threats that exist in the online community and learn how to transmit this knowledge to their students in class.

    A good idea would be that the teacher dedicates part of a lesson to reading real-life examples online, of cases in which individuals with bad intentions, lurked behind false names in social networks and endangered the lives of adolescents. Through this way, students will know that while it is important to make the best of the technological innovations we dispose of in the 21st century, they must keep an eye open for the unforeseeable dangers that the online community entails.

    As educators, we need to learn how to best make use of technological aids and resources in the classroom. We must keep in mind that the sources found online are there at our disposal to help us enhance our lesson. Showing students educational videos from you tube for example, is just one idea.

    In my opinion, as educators in secondary schools, it would also be a good idea to create virtual learning environments (similar to the university VLE) to which our students will have access to tasks they can do online related to the topic dealt with in class. Apart from the traditional written homework, students will have to do interactive tasks online. The system needs to permit us teachers to know whether all students have engaged in the interactive task while facilitating the process of online correction. Another option, in my opinion would be carrying out the lesson in the computer lab. When it comes to Spanish, for example, there are various interactive tasks which can enhance the student’s learning experience.

    The most important thing is that we always guide and monitor our students while making use of the internet – be it you tube or other social network websites. I think, if educators promote the use of social networks and educational websites to enhance the learning experience of students, the latter will no more consider the virtual and the school world as separate entities but realize that technology can actually make learning fun!

    If, as a future Spanish teacher, if I have the opportunity to make a grammatical concept fun to learn with the help of technological aids (to mention just one example) while communicating with my students via a blog , it would be a pity not to make the most of it !

    ( I think that the metaphor of ‘Lord of the flies’ is a great comparison and it is an immensely interesting article.)

  19. Illum il-ġurnata ma nistgħux ngħaddu mingħajr l-ambjent ‘online’ għal bosta raġunijiet. Timmaġinaw soċjeta’ mingħajr internet u social networks? Ir-risposta hija le għaliex illum drajna b’din il-kumdita’ li għal kull ħaġa nfittex google jew niċċekkja Facebook u Twitter. Allura għaliex l-istudenti m’għandhomx ikollhom dan l-aċċess ukoll? Huwa importanti ħafna li l-istudenti jkollhom laqgħat fejn l-edukaturi jispjegawlhom il-vantaġġi u l-iżvantaġġi tal-internet. L-istudenti għandhom ikunu ggwidati tajjeb kif għandhom jużaw dawn l-għodda b’mod responsabbli.

    Jiena naqbel ukoll mal-fatt li bosta persuni jħossuhom iktar kunfidenti meta jkunu qegħdin jitkellmu ‘online’. Kulħadd jista’ jkollu r-raġunijiet tiegħu imma naħseb li waħda mir-raġunijiet hija li l-individwu jegħleb il-problema tal-mistħija meta jkun qiegħed jitkellem ‘online’. Jiena nuża ħafna s-‘social networks’ u nsibhom utli ħafna għaliex permezz tagħhom insir naf nies ġodda, niddiskuti xi problema u saħansitra niftiehem dwar xi attivitajiet li jkunu ħa jseħħu.

    Madankollu wieħed ma jridx jinsa’ li l-internet għandu ċertu riskji u għalhekk jeħtieġ li l-istudenti jkunu ggwidati sew. Huwa importanti li wieħed isib bilanċ bejn il-ħajja soċjali reali u l-ħajja soċjali virtwali. L-għalliema għandhom id-dmir li jgħallmu lill-istudenti kif għandhom jużaw dawn ir-riżorsi b’mod effiċjenti. L-għalliema tista’ tiggwida lill-istudenti kif jibagħtu x-xogħol tagħhom permezz tal-’email’, jiddiskutu problema permezz tal-blogs jew ‘chat’. Jeħtieġ li l-iskejjel ibiddlu l-metodu tradizzjonali, li għandu jiġi pprattikat sal-lum, u jfittxu li jużaw iżjed is-sistema teknoloġika bħal pereżempju l-blogs u s-‘social networks’.

    Jiena xtaqt naqsam magħkom dan il-vidjow interessanti dwar il-blogs:

  20. It is easy to blog, once one is educated on how to do safely, appropriately, while being responsible and within the right contexts. Once we inform our students how to do so, blogging with them for educational purposes can be a wonderful tool! It instils motivation in the student as learning is taking place in new ways. Since most of our students are on-line most of the time anyway (at least those in secondary school and higher educational settings), teaching and sharing knowledge through this medium ensures that student interests are being met, further enhancing their want to learn! They can express their ideas using creative means which may be difficult to demonstrate in a traditional, physical classroom, due to lack of adequate resources or time constraints. Being on-line and accessible 24×7, time is not an issue any more. Sharing of thoughts and ideas is greatly facilitated and an opportunity is given for students to learn more about each other, building friendships and relationships which may not have necessarily taken place solely through classroom interaction.

    Moreover, as it was mentioned in the original post above, on-line, one’s identity may take different, unrecognisable forms. While not forgetting that it is true that this may pose a security risk in cases of people shielding themselves behind technology to hide their true selves, this phenomenon is useful for students who do not feel comfortable expressing themselves and their opinions in the classroom, because they are shy or insecure. Though on-line communication, the student may feel more comfortable to participate. As with every other tool available however, blogging and other on-line resources should be used in moderation and in conjunction with real, face to face classroom interactions. All students should be encouraged to participate in real life discussions, in order to build healthy human interactions and social skills, the development of which may be inhibited through excessive on-line communication.

    Using these resources responsibly with students implies providing them with a safe framework in which discussion may take place. While educating them about several internet risks, what we can do as teachers is to apply these principles ourselves when using on-line tools with students. This includes appropriate use of media, language and continuously monitoring the space to stop and prevent any forms of cyber bullying. In this way, the tools are made use of responsibly and their full benefits may be reaped.

  21. I think that everything in life has its good points and its bad points. That’s why teachers should show the students what the good points are and tell them how to avoid the bad points. If the teachers and also parents tell students/children that they can’t do something and don’t explain anything the students/children would want to experiment it themselves to know why it can’t be done. Teachers and parents like to use the popular phrase ‘ghax hekk.’ This way students/children will not learn anything. Facebook too has it’s good points so it would be very helpful if they learn how to use it effectively. There is no need to avoid it just because it has its disadvantages.

  22. To add to the previous comments, I think that we, as future teachers should promote good use of the internet. With these ongoing advances students are able to accomplish great goals and take skills they learn to the next level and apply them to future class work and life. There are various benefits of using technology in the classroom. First of all, it opens students up to more experiences and that allows them more opportunities they would otherwise not have.

    Secondly, when students are able to experience technology in their daily lives they are more adaptable to learning new technology as they work through life. This means that they can easily adapt to what comes along through their future. Students today will be faced with an technologically advanced world when they come out of school. Not being equipped to handle this can set them back and keep them from being successful. They can learn much more when they are accustomed to the world technologically.

    Therefore, when it comes to using the Internet effectively, students must learn to do the following: conduct research, evaluate information (think critically about the information they find) and use that information to make a decision.

  23. I have come across this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxlUpDpAozM&feature=related which apparently is about a connected classroom programme which obviously involves the use of technology. This connected classroom programme enabled students to become connected to the world and to become global citizens through the use of technology. However, I am posting the link because in this video there is a specific reference to blogging. It shows that if students are properly guided how to use blogs, blogs can be a useful means to help them learn in an enjoyable way.

  24. Online environment has its pros and cons like any other thing. However as educators we have the duty to educate and guide our students to be responsible active citizens, while at the same time be in tune with their culture. Students need to be aware of the type of information they disclose (including photos) about themselves as they could be victims of cyberbullying and online sexual solicitation which could lead to experiencing public humiliation. Being behind a screen does not make one immune to all these factors. Another factor is that although it is true that many find social networking a better tool to socialize and express oneself, I still believe that students need to be encouraged to use their social skills on a face-to-face basis through discussions, as good communication skills are an essential component in relationships with friends, family and on the place of work. Nowadays we are finding it more convenient, easier and practical to send an sms, or comment instead of facing the person. However this may have repercussions on the relationship as the message could be interpreted in another way. Therefore I believe that all this is a question of balance between the two – technology should not replace, but be part of…

  25. Illum-il ġurnata l-maġġoranza tan-nies jużaw facebook, twitter, skype, blogs u ħafna affarijiet oħra. Infatti, waqt il-perjodu tat-taħriġ l-istudenti skantaw meta waħda mill-istudenti qalet li m’għandhiex facebook u li ma tixtiqx li jkollha. Diversi studenti bdew jippruvaw jikkonvinċuha biex tagħmel facebook għax tista’ toqgħod titkellem mal-ħbieb tagħha u tagħmel ħbieb ġodda.

    Wara l-iskola l-istudenti jqattgħu ħafna ħin fuq l-internet u għalhekk, naħseb li hu importanti ħafna li anki l-iskola jkun hemm aċċess għall-internet. Madankollu, hu importanti li l-istudenti jkunu mgħallma kif għandhom jużaw l-internet b’mod responsabbli. Bħalma kkummnetat Kelly Mifsud, waqt il-perjodu tat-taħriġ l-istudenti tat-tielet sena kellhom laqgħa dwar l-użu responsabbli tal-internet. F’din il-laqgħa deher li l-istudenti jinteressaw ruħhom ħafna dwar dan is-suġġett; infatti għalkemm il-laqgħa damet madwar siegħa l-istudenti qagħdu attenti jisimgħu u staqsew diversi mistoqsijiet.

    Jien tal-fehma li l-għalliema m’għandhiex tiddejjaq tuża t-teknoloġija mal-istudenti. It-teknoloġija daħlet f’oqsma differenti tal-ħajja u għalhekk, hu importanti li din tidħol ukoll fl-iskejjel.

  26. In relation to safety and security issues, especially, with regards to the use of the world wide web by minors, I have found these very handy and practical guidelines to the digital world, targeted mostly for girls. These guidlines were put online as part of a Dove campaign. I read them out , thought they were designed in a very instructive manner, they can be very useful especially for who ever will be teaching in a girl’s school 🙂

    This is the website I found them at http://www.dove.us/Social-Mission/Self-Esteem-Toolkit-And-Resources/girls-guide-digital-world.aspx

    and this is a link to the pdf document itself

    http://www.dove.us/docs/pdf/A_Girls_Guide_to_the_Digital_World.pdf

  27. I think that nowadays the online enviroment plays an important role in the communication process. Communication became more dynamic and real time. Through Online Social Networks, Communication has become more mobile and fun. However, we as educators should teach students how they can make use of such networks in a responsible, sensible and meaningful manner. We, as teachers should educate students about how they can use such networks for their own benefits and about the importance of making new friends and contacts which they might prove useful in the future such as: for employability reasons. For example, regarding Facebook, we can show to students that apart from socialising puposes, it can be used for educational reasons such as: posting files, sharing of notes, notices, information, links, photos, videos,
    presentations, music, making online debates and discussions which should enhance the development of the child in a positive way and at the same time, train them to adapt to today’s technological innovations. This will surely help students to communicate efficiently and effectively and be responsive to the increasing demands of Globalisation.

    Moreover, I agree that online people’s personalities take on different shades of colour. This is because it makes it easy for people to communicate their feelings and thoughts to each other, given that one cannot see the other person physically and so, one can feel comfortable enough to express his/her views. Complementing with this, there is the fact that when someone is communicating online rather than verbally, there is the advantage that one can take ample time to phrase well the questions and answers being made to someone else and so, that sense of spontaneousity in face-to-face communication is eliminated.

    Therefore, to conclude it is important that we, as educators encourage and promote the use of online social networks because they are an essential part of students’ needs. However, it is extremely important that we help students use these networks responsibly and be able to share information in a good way, taking into account the fact that there could be anonymous people with bad intentions.

  28. This blog really got me thinking. It is true that students still access sites that are not available at school so it is very naive of us to eliminate them from our concern as soon as we prohibit them to the students at school.

    Personally, before I read this blog I used to believe that adding students to facebook or any other social network would be like crossing the line between the appropriate teacher and student relationship. Now, thanks to this Blog experience I think of it differently.

    Therefore now,I do believe that as teachers we need to educate them more about the online environment. I also think that if we include our students on facebook or any other social network we can monitor and get to know them more. Additionally if one is in the’ students’ virtual world ‘it would be easier to guide them and talk to them about the online environment. I think it would be more of a gain to us teachers to integrate with them on the online environment.

    I agree with and like the classic motto posted ” If you can’t beat them join them”.

  29. I think that nowadays technology is very important amongst adolescents. I also agree that we need to make use of these social networks amongst these students. As others said previously in these comments, such networks help some students who are shy and afraid to speak up in class can say their opinion on certain topics which you were discussing in class. On the other hand we also should inform them and explain to them that they should use these social networks in a responsible way, because if one does not use these social networks right could harm people.

  30. The Online Environment facilitates our social networking tremendously. But sometimes it is unbelievable to what extent people, even supposedly mature educated adults, are ready to reveal and expose online. This is a serious problem because of facebook people: got sacked from their job, did not get an interview, were ridiculed and the list goes on and on. So I think before helping the students we need first to reflect on how WE use it. Are we tacking our Social Networking for granted because it takes place at the comfort of our home without weighing properly the consequences of our own ‘virtual’ actions?
    Another point is that ultimately human communication still is an important skill that we as future educators should give it its importance. In my opinion students, from a very young age, should be given sort of presentations because they can start to build up confidence in public speaking from a very young age. To get a job we all have to go through an interview irrespective of how good one can express himself online. Nonetheless a balanced approach is the best way forward. Teaching students to use this technological tool in the best, ethically sound way should be our main priority in this regard. But please remember to tell them that even virtually there is a consequence for every action.

  31. Interessanti… argument li fih x’toghmod minn bosta bnadi 🙂 il-liberta tal-kelma u l-espressjoni minn dejjem keient xi haga li l-bniedem fittex li jakwistaha u jisfruttha, u ghaldaqstant huwa importanti mhux biss il-kliem li jintqal, izda wkoll il-kontenut li jaghtih is-sugu u s-sutanza. Jien nemmen li kull bniedem huwa artist “in his own way”… u dan japplika ferm fejn jidhol das-suggett ta’ blogging. Kull persuna jkun artist mieghu innifsu meta jhossu komdu li bla biza’ ta’ xejn jista jesprimi ruhu mhux biss b’liberta, izda wkoll b’konvinzjoni. Nemmen li dawn id-diskussjonijet virtwali jpoggu dal-valur fuq quddiem nett ghax persuna apparti li mhux qed ihalli id-dehra tieghu tohloq il-preguddizju fuq dak li qieghed jigi diskuss, ghandu il-fakulta’ li jista jirrispondi wara li l-kumment ikun xtarru ghal iktar minn darba. B’mod iktar semplici nahseb li l-bniedem jista jkun kemm iktar konciz, dirett u preciz f’dak li qieghed iressaq il-quddiem.

    l-Anonimita’ hija ftit antipatka u perikoluza. li bniedem jinheba wara identita’ tista taghti lok ghal abbuzi diversi li mhux necessarjament jaghmlu l-gid lil individwu. Il-htiega li kull bniedem ihossu mhux biss ikun responsabli ghal dak li qieghed jikteb, izda wkoll ikun kapaci jsostnih b’motivazzjoni u b’rispett titfa gwidi cari fuq dak li ghandu jitqies bhala norma etika. Jekk qieghed tikteb jew tghid xi haga li tahseb li tista titfa’ dell ikrah fuqek u allura tasal biex tuza l-anonimita, allura nemmen li jkun iktar ghaqli li ma titfahhix “in d first place”. Ir-responsabilta jekk xejn ghandha tkun li tirrispetta lilek innifsek u l-kull min jiddeciedi li jaqsam hsibijietu mieghek… inkluzi studenti, kollegi u hbieb li fl-ahhar mill-ahhar huma mhux biss il-komunita virtwali izda wkoll dik reali.

    m

  32. It’s true that internet can be dangerous to children when used wrong, but it can be used correctly and it is a very good source of information where students can search and increase their knowledge. Students will not rely only on the teacher’s information but now students are lucky that they can search more and find more information on the subject. Although parents know how dangerous internet can be to students, but they have learned how to monitor their children on internet. Today we have realised how much internet is important that we have included it as a topic in ICT.
    When coming to comment on FB, I don’t think that FB is a way where the teacher can communicate to students. This is because students will go on FB with the excuse “to see what the teacher sent us” and then will lose a lot on time there , So I don’t think that this is a good source . Instead we can use blogs and personalised website. Another problem of using FB is that on schools network it is blocked as well, therefore even during class they can’t access FB therefore this is not a good idea. A personal website on the other side can be accessed on the school network and if it doesn’t, the teacher can ask the technician to enable it.

  33. During my teaching practice experience as already mentioned by Kelly Mifsud in a previous post, students had a talk about internet safety. When the students were asked what they use the internet for many replied, with msn, facebook, skype etc. Therefore I think since students make use of such social networking sites, why not grab this opportunity and start using these social networks as learning tools. Since such social networks interests most students, therefore learning through such networks should be effective.

  34. Naqbel hafna li l-ghalliem ghandu juza it-teknologija biex jghallem u anke biex jikkomunika ma’ lis-studenti. Facebook sar indispensabbli illum u t-tfal jiehdi pjacir juzawh. Waqt it-teaching practise jiena hloqt facebook profile li fih lis-studenti setaw jikkomunikaw mieghi meta jridu u jistaqsuni fuq xiex iridu in a more pleasant way!

    Tajjeb pero’ li l-ghalliem ikun kapaci dejjem izomm certu boundaries ma’ lis-studenti. Ritratti privati ecc. fuq Facebook ghandhom jigu evitati. Ikun fil-fatt tajjeb li meta per ezempju jintuza Facebook, jinbena profile ghall-klassi biss… b’hekk il-hajja privata ta’ l-ghalliem, tinzamm tassew privata…

  35. I understand the fact that some people may feel more comfortable to share their opinions and views through blogging but also acknowledge that there are some who write what they think without thinking twice. In this respect I see a contradiction in terms. On one side the user may be hindered to express opinions verbally, yet s/he doesn’t hesitate to do so through blogging/ facebook – meaning that what was written has now gone from a conversation basis to a public realm, where what is written can be accessed and is in this sense endures as it can be retrieved. I feel that when it comes to the teacher-student relationship on a facebook basis, it should be tackled cautiously and in a responsible manner. Even though many times it is taken lightly, it’s fairly precarious. In this sense I agree that students are educated to make use of such facilities responsibly.

  36. We all know that students’ are experts in technology. Although this might be beneficial for students’ it might also serve as a drawback. We all know that students’ are spending a lot of time on the internet, not only browsing on the internet for academic purposes but also chatting especially on Facebook. As adults and prospective teachers we have to teach students that the use of the internet offers both positive and also negative influences. We have to teach them how they can make use of the technology in an effective way. Through this we can also teach those values which will be cherished in the future life.

    It is also imperative to note that some students may feel more confident when expressing their views on the web rather than face to face discussions. However, we must also promote that face to face interactions are also important, through this communicative skills will be learnt by the students and will help them for their future life.

    • Sometimes actions are so much more powerful than words. It might be a good idea, to simulate a social network environment with the students rather than “teach”. I find that experience is the key to learning.

  37. I believe that online learning is a great source of motivation and learning for students. However, it is not always reinforced because certain educational institutions do not always highlight its use. For example, Facebook can be a source of online learning if we use it properly. However, some schools enforce policies for students to not use facebook and interact with the staff of the school, etc. So, I think that it is important to encourage online learning among students.

  38. I strongly believe that we should not come up with too many questions verging on the censorship perspective when it comes to online interaction. The younger generations should be allowed to take it in all so naturally without having us, the 20th century generation telling them off. All in all I believe that it could all sum up to be much ado about nothing. When I was in my teens or so we would have the grown ups scaring us off any new entries on television or at the newsagent. Now it is supposedly our turn to do the same with the upcoming generations. I tend to disagree. As educators, or as parents possibly, we should impose less restrictions.
    Referring once again to Edward De Bono we can choose to wear our Black Hat, almost as an appendage, and become preoccupied with evidence to support our negative feelings.Indeed Dr de Bono comments that the Black Hat is a valuable Hat, with the strong risk of over-use. What Hat we choose to ‘wear’ is all about generating a balanced view.
    Edward de Bono, in this book, Handbook for the Positive Revolution, identifies five principles:
    * Effectiveness – The ability to use knowledge for positive action, and to learn from that action.
    * Constructive – The direction we must take is both positive and constructive rather than negative and destructive.
    * Respect – This principle is about how we interact with other human beings. We need to acknowledge and accept that perceptions are sure to be different about the same thing.
    * Self-improvement – Everyone has the right to improve themselves. Edward de Bono defines this as ‘the energy of the revolution and its purpose’.
    * Contribution – This is the essence of the positive revolution, action, doing, putting ideas into effect, learning, refining, revising, evaluating, acting again, improving, moving.
    It is very easy to adopt the negative view, the ‘woe is me’ stance when it comes to any sort of ‘unprotected’ online activity but with all this in mind I believe we should resist that temptation.

  39. I believe that blogging is important for students as they have an actual audience to write for. Blogging opens a dialogue. Students have a direct line to their teacher and to anyone else they are connected with. Blogging helps students write back to each other, but great blogging is like a conversation with questions and critique. They teach each other. Blogging allows them to continue dialogue outside their classroom. Most importantly, blogging gives students a voice. Students need a way to express themselves to take ownership of their learning, so through blogs students tell the world their thoughts on education, their learning and their needs.

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