Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ohio EA- Don't social network; Maine LTI- Do

eSchool News reports that the Ohio Teachers' Union discourages use of social networking sites:
"Teachers, watch what you post online": That, in effect, was the message the Ohio Education Association (OEA), the state’s largest teachers union, delivered to Ohio educators in a memo it sent last month.
The memo strongly discouraged teachers from using social-networking web sites such as MySpace and Facebook to create personal profiles or communicate with students.
“OEA advises members not to join [these sites], and for existing users to complete the steps involved in removing their profiles,” the memo said. “While this advice might seem extreme, the dangers of participating in these two sites outweigh the benefits.”
Contrast this message with that of Maine's 21st Century Skills initiative:
While there are many subject-specific skills that are essential in making a successful transition from high school to college, there are three cross-disciplinary skills that are particularly important in this transition: autonomous reading/thinking/analysis, broad information literacy, and comfort in the use of electronic social networks.
This controversy seems to be the raw material for an authentic application for our students of the Showing Evidence tool at the Intel education site.
Using the interactive features of Showing Evidence, students make a claim, identify evidence, evaluate the quality of that evidence, explain how the evidence either supports or weakens their claim, and then make a conclusion based on the evidence. This thinking tool supports activities where students need to debate differences, reach conclusions, and organize ideas.
Let the debates begin!

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