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    Should the classroom be closed to social networking web sites?

    Date: 01.28.10 | by Judge Tom.
    “Teachers and principals should meet kids where they live: online”.* There is an ongoing debate about the presence and use of social networking sites on campus. Some argue for its incorporation into classroom study while others prefer its absence because of the few students who might misuse the privilege to sign on.

    Photo by Mark van der Chij

    Media coverage of cases about unauthorized YouTube videos of teachers, fake profiles of principals and inappropriate sexual content has contributed to the present climate of fear, repression and discipline. A common response to student online misbehavior is suspension and blocking access to websites.

    Perhaps the opposite approach should be considered. Instead of limiting access to the Internet, students should be encouraged to channel their energy into studying by using their Internet skills. Interactive assignments using Facebook, MySpace and video sharing could enhance the learning experience. Teachers would need to gain technical skills to keep up with their students – a beneficial consequence of 21st century education.

    What do you think about using your digital skills to learn required subjects at school? Can you think of ways to use your cell phone camera or Facebook page to contribute to a class assignment? What is your school’s policy regarding the Internet and other technologies? Do you agree or disagree with it?

    *from “Fifth Period is Facebook” by Nicholas Bramble, November 27, 2009, Slate.com.

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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