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Re: [K12OSN] OT: "MySpace.com" or "policies for when computer use leads to ...

We are just about to address the myspace thing at our school... My proposal to our staff is to work with this group of "myspace engaged" students who are typically not engaged in anything as opposed to against them.
For the record (as it has seemed to matter in past posts), I am a parent first, teacher next (with a full load of math,science and technology classes), an advisor to 20 students and their families and lastly the head of technology.
Research shows that 50% of what is learned during adolescence is purely social. This is why our schools and many parents clash with teenagers in the effort to get them to focus on their academics. Neurologically and hormonally they are "wired" socially at this age and some will choose the social route over anything.
I know the students at our school who are on myspace constantly and believe m! e, pulling myspace will not get them to choose academics. They will return to gossiping with each other and find the next "thing" on the web to engage in. Ironically, these students who are typically "disengaged" are currently engaged in reading and writing on myspace.
The approach I intend to put up for a vote at our next staff meeting is to target the group of "myspacers" at our school and give them what they need, an education that is social and comes through the medium that engages them.  I plan to Include media education, the nature of deceit and lies of myspace users and our media, etc...
To give them an outlet for their chatting: I have already had a tech student of mine create an internal forums site using http://www.phpbb.com/ (very easy for this 10th grader to set up) to allow student to read posts and write posts "inside the firew! all." I am working with the language arts teachers to help our students make their posts to each other more grammatically correct.
My plan is to trust them but still watch their behavior. This approach has worked before when taught my students who played games all day to program games.
Ultimately, if students are continuing to use illegal sites, they will be referred to the discipline system used for any other "broken" school rules which leads to parent conferences which result in parents being educated about our policies and the reasons for them and hopefully re-teaching their children.
I do expect this plan to work mostly due to the success of interactive fiction at our school and books I have read by Neil Postman about media (He connects his work with Marshall McLuhan’s famous aphorism, ‘the medium is the message.’) http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Students/jog9901.html
I do like David's idea of a parent night to teach about the site - I may propose that too but that does cut into my time with my son ;)
Nick Fenger
Trillium Charter School
Portland, OR
P.S. If you want to know what I did with all my students who wanted to play games all day check out www.alanif.se - I have 6th graders reading the manual and programming interactive fiction for hours and listening to me when I ask them not to play games.

Timothy Hart <timothy hart gmail com> wrote:
Dave I couldn't agree more. I don't think teachers plugging into the cu! lture will solve everything. But it will help, as the rest of your email proves. You are aware of these things and are doing things to help the parents out. You are also doing such in a manner which if not punitive as someone else mentioned. You are using "reasonable" (again a moving target) content filtering. You are letting parents know about these things so they can be a better informed parent. All fantastic things. My original argument, as unclear as I may have been, was to not just lock everything down tightly and that be the end of it.

I also saw that Dateline. The scary thing was that a bunch of those guys even say the report on TV and still did it. The effort you are putting forth is obviously the way to go here. Parent and child education is the direction to take.

I guess I am just pushing the devils advocate view here to make sure we just don't go too far in our censorship and that it is done with all views in mind.

! On 1/25/06, David Trask <dtrask vcsvikings org> wrote:
I'm going to say "yes, but..."

Here's why.  You mention that as teachers plug into the same culture as
the kids do...then these issues will go away.  I doubt it...and the reason
is that even the most tech savvy teachers (including me) have no desire to
troll MySpace.com for whatever reason.  In many cases...these activities
are adolescent activities primarily done by young people looking to "hook
up" or "express themselves".  We've all been there, but we're not there
anymore.  We had our own ways of "hooking up" and so forth that our
parents did not know about.  The problem now becomes...the criminal
element.  The! ir are  multitude of pedophiles out there who have now found
the Internet to be a GREAT place to hunt their prey.  Dateline NBC aired a
special recently about how pedophiles use chatrooms and blogs to meet up
with children.  It was pretty sobering.  It's the nature of adolescents to
think they're invincible...and back in my teen years...that was dangerous,
but primarily only to myself.  Now with the instant availablity of
information....our teens are in even more danger...not from themselves,
but from others...such as pedophiles.  Now...you're right...we can't be
all things....we cannot b parents to these kids.....but I hav emailed
copies of MySpace pages to well meaning parents who simply had no
idea...and once they did....they dealt with it.  It's unlikely, but my own
7th grade daughter could have a "secret" blog online and I may not know
about it.  I've tal! ked about it and educated her...etc., but who knows?
The other thing to remember is that all of this has mushroomed in a span
of the last couple years.  That's why I think that it's neccessary for us
as tech leaders to begin making parents aware of just what is going on.
We're planning a parent night just for this purpose.  We plan to show them
what is going on...using examples of MySpace.com...etc. and what they can
do about it....through educating their child or even monitoring their
child.  Every teenager will cry "foul" about invading their space, but
hey....that's what being a parent is all about.  As a parent myself...I
feel a little obligated to help my fellow parents out...by protecting them
as much as possible at school with reasonable content filtering...and by
tipping the parents off to what may be going on that they're not aware of.

"Support list for opensource software in schools." < k12osn redhat com> on
Wed Jan 25 2006 at 11:01 +0000 wrote:
>Look, the only thing I worry about here is going too far with the amount
>of responsibilty schools put on themselves to raise children. That is all
>I am saying.
>Also please do not automatically peg my being (by my own admission)
>young"er" with not being experienced enough to offer an opinion. I am not
>saying anything about a "Laissez faire" attitude, I just offer caution
>with going too far the other way. I am not saying content filtering is
>bad or that an eye shouldn't be looked at certain things. My point is
>that it isn't the only issue that should be brought to light. It upsets
>me that we are in a world when you jump on me for suggesting that parents
>be responsible for their own children.
>I don't think I want to go to far into the age thing, but please do not
>discr! iminate against my saying I was younger. I offered that to suggest
>as teachers get more tech savy and actually "plug" into the same culture
>as the kids, a lot of these issues will go away. Not all, but teachers
>will be able to model good behavior. Not going to solve everything, that
>was just the point I was making.
>Now about your teacher taken away in handcuffs. I would like to hear more
>about it. Is it your responsibility as a school to keep the individual
>out of trouble? I would argue to a point, yes. Where that point is is the
>question, and invariably will lie in a different place in different
>situations, as it should. I do not beleive it is laissez faire to say
>this but schools should be leary of just blocking "stuff." It just
>reminds me too much of China. Maybe I have read 1984 too much. Actually
>it stems from all that Lawrence Lessig.
>By the way, good discussion. I l! ike a little heat on the list.
>Tim Hart
>"Young, but know a thing or two."
>On 1/24/06, Jim Hays <[ mailto:haysja sages us ]haysja@sages.us> wrote:
>You say you are young enough to participate in many of the same tech
>activities as the kids.  I take that to mean that you haven't had a lot
>of experience in the educational world.  This "laissez faire" attitude
>is real nice until a group of FBI agents and Homeland Security Agents
>and State Police show up at the front door and you as the technology
>coordinator get  pulled into the middle of a "mess".  An hour later one
>of our most respected teachers was lead away in handcuffs because of
>what he was doing online.
>Now that will change your views on content filtering in a hurry.
>Timothy H! art wrote:
>> On 1/24/06, *Tom Hoffman* <[ mailto:tom hoffman gmail com ]
>tom hoffman gmail com
>> <mailto:[ mailto:tom hoffman gmail com ]tom.hoffman@gmail.com>> wrote:
>>     Yes, but doesn't becoming more tech savvy = being able to navigate
>>     MySpace, etc., oneself?
>> Yes, I agree.
>>     There is nothing either fascist or censorial about reading public
>>     material on the web.  Part of being tech savvy is understanding
>> I am saying that it would be a waste to have someone reading all the
>&g! t; material looking for people saying mean things and what not. My point
>> was as we do become more tech savy this will happen automatically.
>>     The question is whether or not the school has effective methods of
>>     addressing issues in students lives that aren't strictly punitive
>>     (advisors, counselors, mentors, therapists, etc.).
>> I agree also to a point. I do have to point out here that the first
>> line of responsibility if the parent. It takes a parent, not a village
>> to raise a child. The village should support and nuture. I have been
>> reading a lot of material that suggests other wise, so I am kind of
>> wound up on that fact.
>> I beleive we are on the same page Tom. I think we are just looking at
>> it from different angles.
>>     --Tom
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David N. Trask
Technology Teacher/Director
Vassalboro Community School
dtrask vcsvikings org

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