Andy Carvin of learning.now has mixed feelings about a university’s decision to deny a student her teaching degree after she reportedly encouraged youngsters in her student-teaching class to view her MySpace page, which contained a picture of her titled “Drunken Pirate":
When the story first broke, I must admit I had my own knee-jerk reaction. What were they thinking? Denying a talented young woman her degree because of one stupid photo was crazy! But now that more information is coming out from both sides, I’m beginning to feel very torn about the situation. ... [I]t gets more complex when you put that photo on a website used by your students and you repeatedly show your online profile from that website to your students.
In any case, for a tech-enthusiast like Carvin, the episode has larger ramifications:
What’s sad about all of this is that it adds more fuel to the fire for those who argue (arrrrgh-ue?) that social networking sites have no place in the classroom. I still see a role for educators to use MySpace and other sites, even if it’s just to have a presence there. That way, students realize that they don’t have the run of the place, and that their teachers aren’t as technologically clueless as they might otherwise think. But when the teacher uses those platforms to post images that might be acceptable for adults but set a bad example for her students, it raises questions.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Blogboard blog.