The majority of schools prohibit the use of personal computer devices in school; and the students are also prohibited to use school computers to access any type of social networking site because they are regarded as a waste of time and a risk to the safety of the students, particularly talking about those in elementary. But as the years go by, we are more and more immersed in and with technology, so much that there will be a time where schools can no longer turn their heads from, nor shut their eyes to technology and will have to embrace it and look for ways to efficiently incorporate it into their curriculum, daily activities, and lesson plans.
I understand why schools are afraid to let technology be fully integrated. After all, it would just raise one more flag to watch out to make sure students are safe, that they aren’t taking risky actions nor engaging in dangerous or improper conversations. But, the way I see technology is surrounding us, schools should turn the tables, teach students how to be safe and take precautions, and allow them to make use of the tools and benefit from those in a safe and educational rich environment.
Taking twitter for example, a very simple to use but robust social network tool, teachers could easily take advantage of the easiness and accessibility that it provides for posting and have the classroom post summaries or list major key points of an article or chapter that they may be assigned to read. All thought each post is limited to 140 characters, many of the available tools, such as Tweet Caster (http://tweetcaster.com/), that allow you to post longer by adding a URL link (hyperlink) to your post that redirects to the full post when clicked.
One other way twitter can be utilized in the classroom, is by having students post (suggest) a hyperlink to a useful web resource, an interesting blog, video, or website that may further explain or exemplify a concept, or a related article, of the topic under study. Also students could tweet their reactions and/or comments to any book that they are reading.
It is only a matter of years before we are one-hundred times more dependent and involved with technology that we can even imagine. Today is the time that school can start taking action and incorporating technology devices and tools into their daily activities so that they do not become overwhelmed in the near future with so much technology that they won’t even know where to start, what, or how to use it.
Marco Cesar Saenz
Using Web Tools in the Classroom