If the idea of social networking sends chills down your spine, or if you’re concerned about how to stem poor Web etiquette in the classroom, California educator Matt Levinson has a few tips. In his recently published book, From Fear to Facebook: One School’s Journey (ISTE), Levinson uses his own school as a case study to offer suggestions for getting students up to speed on healthy Internet behavior.
In an e-mail exchange with the Teacher PD Sourcebook, Levinson acknowledged that computer abuse—cyberbullying, hacking, plagiarism, and addictive digital behaviors around gaming—can hamstring a school community and create a climate of fear among parents, teachers, and administrators.
But he also suggested five steps schools can take to shift the cultural tide “from peril to possibility”:
1. Listen to Students
Schools need to take student concerns and interests seriously, and support an environment where students can be heard.
If all U.S. Internet time were condensed into one hour, how would it be distributed?
SOURCE: Nielsen NetView, June 2010
2. Partner with Parents
Schools need to work in partnership with parents so that school and home are on the same page when it comes to computer use.
3. Remember That Kids Are Kids
Students will make mistakes and test boundaries. They need guidance from their teachers and parents.
4. Keep Learning With Your Students
Technology is moving at lightning speed. Parents and teachers set the tone through their willingness to sit next to and learn from students. School communities need to be open to learning about the latest tools with students.
5. Find a Balance
Schools must maintain a balance between keeping students safe with digital media, and introducing the imaginative, creative possibilities that digital media generates.
A version of this article appeared in the October 12, 2010 edition of Teacher PD Sourcebook