Critical Issue: Teacher-Student Interaction Via Technology
In this post, Aaron Eyler expressed his views on interaction between students and teachers outside of school via technology. There were three specific sites that he focused on: Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging. He has a Facebook page, but he doesn't like it. He also mentioned it reminded him "more of a giant 'water cooler' than anything else." Even so, he will not friend request you, nor accept your friend request, no matter who you are. He loves Twitter, and sees it as a very valuable way to communicate; however, even if you choose to follow him, he will not follow you back. I assume that's because he'd rather keep his feed professional. And he understands that people today communicate more through text messages than with e-mail, so he set up a Google Voice number. He did this "so that parents, students, and staff members can text message [him] with relevant information or ask questions." What's nice about this is it operates like an e-mail address and text messages can be saved to folders. Mr. Eyler just asks that you keep the conversation professional, and he'll be happy to respond. He ends the post stating that "teachers are role models, and part of being a role model is modeling appropriate use of these technologies." This statement is a running theme for this class.
In response, I said I wasn't sure how open I would be. It made me think of a recent friend request I received from a counselor of mine, which seemed awkward and maybe even unprofessional? Then I pondered the question, "Would I feel the same if the request was from a student?" Mr. Chamberlain actually commented on this post and said he has no restrictions on communication. He is from a small community it was normal to be around teachers from the school. So having no restrictions seems to work for him. I do want my students to know that I care for them and want to be available for help, but I'm not sure at this point where I'd draw the line. So I guess that's where modeling appropriate use would come into play if I chose to allow many different forms of communication.
What People Say about You...
Mr. Eyler opened his post with this lesson: "always monitor what you say about people and what people say about you in a digital learning platform." He was in the midst of reading a new book by Lawrence Lessig when he came across a book talk online. He loved the Lessig's presentation style, but couldn't figure out the program he was using. Mr. Eyler tweeted about it, asking if anyone knew what it could be. Sure enough, he received a response from Lessig himself. Mr. Eyler didn't know what was "cooler." The fact that Lessig (with over 155,000 followers) monitors his stream and knows what everyone says about him, or that he took the time to respond. Mr. Eyler was very thankful. Later on, a similar situation came up where Mr. Eyler's students had a conversation about him, and he let them know he knew. He said it was "super valuable learning experience."
I told Mr. Eyler that I just recently started blogging, tweeting, etc. I mentioned that it can be a little disconcerting if one of my comments goes unnoticed (as far as I know). But I have to understand that sometimes, like in cases of having over 155,000 followers, it might be a bit challenging to keep up with everyone’s questions or comments. But when they do respond, it can make a big impact. It’s nice to be acknowledged.