Well, it has been one of those weeks for me. It was Friday before I knew it and I had not gotten a chance to blog, among other things that I really needed to do. I will spare everyone the details. It was not bad, just incredibly full. Based on what I read in my classmates’ blogs, it appears as though nearly all of us are crazy busy and near the end of the rope. But, we might just make it.
I have been reading with interest about everyone’s venture and adventures in MUD. It sounds like fun and a little bit difficult. I had planned to look into that this week, but so far I have not gotten there. The week isn’t over yet, though.
However, I did find an interesting article on this website: http://www.techlearning.com/blog/2007/11/social_networking_from_a_teens.php. This blog from Terry Freedman describes a study that he made about teenagers opinions on and uses of social networking sites as well as information about why the sites should be included in the curriculum. Freedman collected information through a surevey of four schools in U.K., three of which were “fee-paying” schools and two of which were also girls only schools . The following comment is given as an attempt to, perhaps, legitimize the study, “But before you dismiss the validity of the exercise, I must point out that many of the findings were not dissimilar to those of larger surveys, both in the UK and in the USA, and that my conclusions are similar as far as recommendations are concerned.” In total, 96 boys and 225 girls participated in the study.
Some of the findings are interesting and not so surprising. But one finding that did capture my attention involved the revelation that 11% of the students replied that they did not take any precuations when going to meet someone that they had met online. Some replies to certain survey questions led the researcher to conclude that teenagers usually send up a red flag when confronted with perverted behavior, but do not have the maturity to discern pedophilic behavior because it unfolds more slowly and gradually. This conclusion led to the following recommendation for school administrators who are considering implementing social networking into the curriculum:
- Instead of usings scare tactics to teach students about dangers of the internet, they should be given solid, useful information about tactics to protect themselves when meeting new people online.
- Do use social networking sites, but teach students appropriate use so they can reap the benefits such a helping each other with school work and learning from others everywhere.
- Students need to know that even after they delete their information from an online community that they no longer want to be a part of, their information will still show up as comments on other people’s blogs or profiles.
- Teachers should participate in an online community so that they can oversee the goings-on and learn what the students are learning.
Personally, I liked the recommendation that was made to allow students to use social networking sites to do school related work and that requests be made of the more popular sites to provide resources for student use.
Th final recommendation was to “Encourage social networking sites to make deletion of personal data a one-click operation, or as near to that as possible.”
The survey questions and results were interesting. There are comments from students about what teenagers recommend regarding parents’ attitudes toward online communities and other items about the students personal online behavior including the reasons that they enjoy the internet.