According to e School News, the Ohio Education Association is recommending that teachers in Ohio remove themselves from social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. They say that, “the dangers of participating in these two sites outweigh the benefits.”
They go on to cite examples of inappropriate teacher profile content to back up their recommendation. But to me, the scariest sentence in the article is this one: “The union also worries that students will create “impostor” sites, pose as adults and engage in conversations with teachers, or use online communication to make allegations later against educators.”
So they are saying that students might pose as adults and talk in an inappropriate way with teachers? By “online communication” do they also mean email?
Of course, teachers and future teachers should be smart enough realize that everything put online stays online, but to me, this whole recommendation sounds like the fearful older generation warning the next generation about technology with which it is most likely completely unfamiliar.
This commentary on Wired Magazine’s website pretty accurately describes my view of the OEA’s recommendation. This blog post from Cleveland Scene takes a more humorous approach, but raises an interesting question about a teacher’s right to engage in and discuss legal adult activities.
Me? I’m just glad when my child has a teacher who is technologically savvy enough to know how to use Powerpoint. I’d love for my children to have an experienced teacher who has her own blog (like Traci Hricik). Any experienced teacher who is active on MySpace, Facebook, and/or Twitter is likely a teacher who’s not afraid to embrace new technology and a teacher who makes continuous learning a part of his or her career.
(Thanks to Rob Darrow, who twittered about his post on the topic to someone I am following in Twitter, which is how I learned about this OEA recommendation in the first place!)