Trying to Integrate Technology into HS English & Special Education
Education, High school, Local School Stuff, Michigan, Student, Teacher, Technology, Web 2.0 February 20, 2009
A few of you have been following the Denny’s Grand Slam debacle at my school (see previous posts if you want the details). I kept searching for a way to make this a teachable moment. Fortunately for me (but not for the school) the local newspaper published an article about what occurred. The article itself was innocuous but the online comments…… Just let me say that I was embarrassed for our community and our school. The impressions left by the commenters were by in large negative. I’m not sure I would want my children to live near or attend school with these people. Fortunately, I know that the people who commented are not typical of the community as a whole. This is still a good place to raise kids.
At the end of that week, I printed out the article and the comments, giving a copy to each student. I asked them read and respond to the comments in a blog post. The post was to focus on the impression that a reader was left with after reading the comments. They also had to examine the quality of the comments using our criteria for commenting on blogs and to discuss what effect anonymity has on the content of posts. (I gave them more details/directions in the assignment post. I’ve linked it here for your examination.)
This assignment caused a lot of discussion in class. Initially, they wanted to respond to what was said, but as the hour progressed most students got the point. The assignment was really about how you present yourself online. They came to realize that making hateful comments adds nothing to the discussion and ends up making the writer look bad. They were able to see real life examples of how some people misuse technology and the harm this misuse causes. I think they started to appreciate why I expect them to clearly identify and truthfully representing themselves online.
Not all of the students got their posts finished. Some are still working on them. Still, I invite you to read their responses. This trimester ends on March 6th, so all posts should be done by then. I get a new group of sophomores on March 9th and I plan to repeat this assignment for them. I’ll keep you posted.