Dean Shareski, a digital learning consultant in Saskatchewan, has a post/podcast on Facebook, filtering, and all that. He says that teachers in his division’s school struggle with how to keep students from wandering too far off task.
What I like about the post is that Shareski has the teachers tell what they’re doing. Three teachers share their views in print, followed by a recorded discussion between Shareski and a fourth teacher.
I wonder how many corporate organizations would start by asking rank-and-file workers (rather than up-and-comers at headquarters) for their views?
I’m impressed with the way the teachers want the students to learn how to be responsible not only for their own behavior, but for how they manage their time. Shareski’s audio interview with teacher Patricia Yeske is worth listening to–in no small part because, she says, “When those laptops [first] came in, I wanted everything locked down.”
A few points that stood out:
- By setting clear expectations early, Yeske says, students now freely ask, “Hey, can I go to such-and-such a site?” They’re understanding the contextual nature of access in a classroom; it’s not just yes-or-no.
- One obstacle I wondered about, and one Yeske mentions, is whether teachers are ready to justify to parents why the school does not block social networking sites like Facebook.
- Many of these high schoolers don’t have email; they have Facebook. That’s not only how they interact online with their friends; it’s also their digital backpack.
- For them, Facebook isn’t anything special; it’s just a regular tool.
As Shareski and Yeske talked about socializing at school, and then perhaps socializing as student began collaborating on a project, I thought about adult workplace socializing.
For me, some of the best projects have been those where I could move freely between the people and the task. Ruth Sizemore House touched on this in the incomprehensibly out-of-print book, The Human Side of Project Management–she had “Ruth’s radar” for project managers, with a task axis and a people axis.
There’s something similar for working adults: a way to maintain a dynamic balance between too little / too much focus on people, and too little / too much focus on the task.
I don’t often venture any more into the world of education, but I’m glad Dean’s sharing what he does.
Digital backpack photo by R.W.W. / Ambra Galassi.