Yesterday I had quite the conversation with a teacher friend. It started out about an incident that had happened with a student that day and led to a discussion about why teachers might be resistant to the idea of giving students freedom to learn and explore on the internet, even with instruction on appropriate behaviour.
The teacher in question had outdoor supervision and left her cell phone in her classroom. The student entered the classroom without permission, took her cell phone and phoned the last 5 numbers. At each number, he either left messages full of expletives or when someone answered, proceeded to call them a bunch of names, including expletives. One number was a parent from her classroom, one was her husband. Both immediately called the school to let the teacher know that something had happened. When the student had been found out, this teacher said that the student’s response was “I knew it was wrong. It was just too tempting, I couldn’t help it!”
And there, my friends, is the crux of the problem with the internet and web 2.0. This is why many teachers and administrators are scared. For some reason, many of our students know how to behave appropriately, they just don’t. We got to talking about what we can do to change this attitude in kids. How do we get past this with our students? I think that for most students, teaching and modeling appropriate behaviours will be enough. However, what can we do with those students who find the inappropriate use of the tools “just too tempting”? In this day, it would only take one student doing something questionable to raise the pitchforks and torches against the tools themselves without understanding that it is one child making a bad decision and not the tool that is the problem. For those of you who use these tools, particularly in elementary school (grades K-8) have you had problems like this? What have you done to prepare the students against these problems? How have you (and your school) reacted if something came up? I’d be interested about what both teachers and administrators think. Although, suggestions from anyone are welcome! Thank you.