Do we practice what we preach?

Ok, I lied.

After my last post I said that in my next post I would list my top 10 tools for ICT.  I’ll keep that promise with my next one…honestly I will, but for this post I wanted to follow up on something that has been nagging at me for a little while.

We’ve all had those moments in our days when something sits at the back of your mind or stays in your head and you can’t get it out.  Often, it’s when you’re listening to the radio and a song from many of the one hit wonders in the 80’s comes on, you find singing along and 5 hours later it still there.  I’m always haunted by Nena’s 99 luftballoons………. but I digress.

You see, I’ve picked up a quote/statement from something I’ve read either on Twitter or one of the blogs I read.  I apologise to the author as I can’t cite you on them as I can’t remember where I got it from and it has been in my head for a little while and has jumped forward again from my subconscious.

“We can not teach responsible use of technology that we will not accept in the classroom.”

I could go into a 4000 word essay in depth of what this statement means for me, but I’m just going to list a few things I often think of in relation to this statement and schools.

  • is our easy answer of just blocking sites setting up our kids up for not knowing how to deal with the normal‘ internet they experience at home or after school hours outside of a filtered/locked down school environment?
  • most students have significant ‘power in their pockets’ in the form of their mobile phones so why don’t we have the courage to let them use them as a tool for learning?
  • are we teaching cyber safety / digital citizenship to our students in context to the way students communicate and live?
  • do we focus on and teach the ‘tools we know’ (as teachers) rather than the skills they (students) need to know?
  • are the cyber bullying discussions we have with students sitting out of context if we are trying to instruct them on how to be responsible users without actually letting them use their technology?
  • shouldn’t responsible use be based around students actually using the technology they want to use as tools for learning, so we have the opportunity for those ‘teachable’ moments to discuss ‘responsible’ use?
  • do we model in our own lives via our own Facebook/Twitter profiles and other sites where we leave a digital footprint, what we want our and ‘teach/tell’ our students to do themselves?
  • do school staff have the digital ‘experience’, ‘profile’ or ‘personal online environment’ to actively understand what it is we are actually often telling students not to do?

No answer, just questions.

As I said, this statement has been sitting with me and often provokes me to think about the various roles ICT plays in our schools.  I hope it provokes some thoughts for you.

Oh…. and I will list the ICT tools/sites I think are valuable for our students to use for their learning next time…. I promise.