Sunday, August 29, 2010

Facebook Social Networking...Yea or Nay between Students and Teachers?

The discussion of Facebook usage (Social Networking) between teachers and students contains a number of points, all which merit discussion. I come from the position of a parent who is a bit computer savvy. I participate in a number of Social Networking sites and enjoy the ease of communication that they afford. My son (who has now graduated) joined in the MySpace revolution shortly after it became fashionable. As a parent, I felt it my responsibility to monitor his usage. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case with all students. Of course, once he was of high school age, I no longer logged into his account to monitor, but did remain “friended” so that I still had some connection to his “friends”. As emailing, cell phone and texting usage became more common, it was not unusual for teachers, particularly coaches, to contact him via these devices. This type of networking has been in use for quite some time without much notice or discussion. Whether it’s heightened awareness or whatever the reason, Social Networking between students and teachers has become a current point of discussion.

If we look at Social Networking at its bare bones as a way to connect and communicate with others, many schools already have some type of this program in place. At my son’s school, it was “Access”, where each student had a login and could view their grades, homework updates, email teachers, etc. The difference between this and Facebook would be that it is monitored by the school district, to a certain extent, and doesn’t have areas for personal information in the way of photos and discussion between other students. It is simply a tool to make available information to the student and if need be, communication to and from the teacher. It also grants parents a separate log in. In effect, we have already been Social Networking.

Some of the recent discussion I have heard has come from those who are not in favor of using Facebook between students and teachers, whether it be due to wanting to keep their personal lives separate or for fear of predators, and from those who are in favor citing positive implications that come from the ease of communication and of building relationships in a learning environment.

To address some of the concerns of protection of privacy on both the student and the teacher’s part, some could choose to go the route of professionals in the Facebook arena. Many have created a professional or work/business account and kept their personal account private. This allows selective monitoring of their personal details. Teachers could use an account set aside specifically for communication with students and parents, and students could use a separate account so that their personal photos and interpersonal discussions with friends would be kept separate. If Social Networking did become the chosen way of communication between students and teachers, this may be a viable option available to those who are against opening themselves up to what they feel would be a personal violation of their private lives.

Aside from the issue of those who want to keep their personal life separate also comes the aspect of making the way for predators more available, meaning those who might be in a position of teaching, coaching, etc. Predators are a topic I am familiar with, as a parent of one of my son’s friends was convicted of heinous acts just a couple of years ago. He was a coach and had ease of access to the boys. Yes, we need to be on our guard against these predators, but that should not stop us from moving forward with advancements which are coming into everyday usage in our own homes. Awareness and monitoring are key. These people will use everything available to them and choosing to not participate in certain programs will not guarantee that they will not try to communicate. We must just continue to be diligent in keeping open communication and monitoring of our children, no matter how much they protest.

The benefits from the use of Social Networking are fairly evident. Increased communication in a forum type setting that is very comfortable with most youth today as well as opportunity to build relationships that make way for continued education.

All that being said, I am in favor of Social Networking between students and teachers. Social Networking is a good tool and has become a mainstay in today’s environment. Education should take advantage of every opportunity to reach and interact with our youth.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pamper

So what do you do to pamper yourself?

I've been thinking lately, that it's time for me to indulge myself in a n evening of pampering. I have a lovely footbath that Joe gave me one year for Christmas. Giving myself a soak and pedicure with some pretty polish is always so relaxing. Indulging in some nice lotion/body cream that smells wonderful. And then some satin pajamas. Lighting some scented candles, instrumental music and my lit water fountain. Maybe even a nice cup of tea. Yeah, that sounds just about perfect.

I think it's time.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

List of Humorous Thoughts and Realizations from 2009

So, I was feeling a wee bit creative the other night, but not enought to really write anything...so I was reflecting on the past year and came up with this list of humorous thoughts and realizations. I thought some of them may be relatable so I figured I'd post them and challenge others to do the same. =)

1. If you decide to write a list of humorous thoughts and realizations from the previous year and it takes 30 minutes to think of the first one, you probably need to make some changes in the New Year.

2. If you decide you are going to write a historical family novel and you tell “everyone” you know, then you really should actually start writing it.

3. If you find yourself drifting at work and wondering how many crops you still need to harvest in Farmville to purchase the villa, you may need to re-evaluate your computer time.

4. If the highlight of your day is exclaiming “Yay!! ‘Glee’ is on tonight!!” then you probably need to get out more (but I don’t really care cause it’s the highlight of my week!)

5. If you are scrounging for change before you leave for work in the morning and you can’t find any so you decide to drive to the cash machine, it’s a good sign your latte addiction has returned.

6. If you tell your husband you want a puppy and he says no, then later says ok, you know he still loves you.

7. If you want to lose 30 pounds, do it the old fashioned way; diet and exercise as opposed to unrelated surgery and hospital stay.

8. If you start to think turning 50 is hard, don’t think about it and be happy to just “be”.

9. If you cry at almost every commercial on tv, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are hormonal…you could just be experiencing an extremely high level of emotions due to the fact that you are on some extremely high levels of pain meds.

10. If you are having trouble adjusting to the fact that your son now sports a beard, just be thankful that he can.

11. If you have a brother who buys you a Coleman folding chair with fold out table for Christmas, you know he got the message from you using his all summer at the baseball games.

12. If your husband plays in a band, you don’t really want to attend all the gigs, unlike what you thought when you were younger and wondered where all the wives were.

13. If you leave a box of Christmas cards sitting on the computer desk in front of you, they will not address and mail themselves, no matter how much you think about it.

14. If you open your yard to feral cats, more are sure to come as they have some type of feral underground railroad that makes regular stops at approved depots.

15. If you are laid up and time seems to stand still, the world does not experience the same effect outside your four walls and you are now residing in the twilight zone.

16. If you drink two large Red Bulls at night, you may have a little trouble going to sleep, no matter how much you say the caffeine doesn’t bother you.

17. If you get a spray tan and you still aren’t tan, you are just pale, will always be pale, and should learn to get over it.

18. If your son joins a Facebook group titled “Yeah, ok, yes, yeah, yeah, ok, yes, ok, I know, ok, yes, BYE MOM”, and then another group titled “MOM, CHILL, IT WAS JUST A JOKE”, he still loves you and doesn’t really mean to be sarcastic. ;)

19. If you are going to your son’s baseball game and you have more stuff than you can physically carry to the field yourself, it may be time to invest in a wheelbarrow/shopping cart/flatbed – or bribe someone else’s kid with a candy bar to help you out.

20. If you are at the point of hitting the snooze alarm three times and then dragging yourself out of bed in the morning, you are back to your old self and life is good.

AND FOR GOOD MEASURE…

21. If your husband reads this and then says, “You have too much time on your hands”, just respond by saying, “Be nice, or I’ll write another one about you.”

Beginings...Again...

I realized that I had this Blogger account, set up to view and post to other blogs, but never really thought to use it for myself. I have a Live Journal account from years back, but never really caught on to using it for much other than to make icons for it. Guess I'm a little more creative visually than I am to writing. Still, the mood does hit me upon occasion, and I enjoy jotting down tidbits of my life, random thoughts, and fun adventures. So, without further guilding the lilly, I begin this blog...again, so to speak.