Today I Felt Like a Teacher

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

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Today was one of those days that teachers live for. I enjoyed pretty much the full attention (as much as or more than I expected) of three blocks of my Resource Room English Language Arts classes, collaborative teaching with our tech integrator, the technology department assistant director and my teaching assistants. Then to top it off we taught a something that was pertinent to the students today – how to re-set their Facebook Privacy settings.

It was the culminating project in my digital safety curriculum and while there were some concerns about Facebook being allowed in school, there were no issues, very few tech glitches and from my vantage point it was a very successful experiment/day.

We have worked since February break, on digital safety and during a class one of the students brought up that they didn’t know how to block or get rid of “friends” they didn’t want anymore. That student also complained that when they deleted them that they were still able to see what they were writing on Facebook.

This seemed to me to something that a lot of people not just students have issues with – the privacy settings on Facebook and I told the student that I would look into whether we could do something in class around Facebook. There has been “drama” created in school as a result of posts on Facebook and this was looked at as a way to help with some of those issues.

So I asked my classes if they were interested in learning how to set their Facebook privacy setting and they were all for it and as one student said that he was pretty “jacked” about being able to brag to other students that they would be able to go on Facebook during school.

I have been on setting this up since then, getting all the permissions to do this experimental project, which was enthusiastically received by the Principal, Tech Dept and Tech Integrator, putting together the lesson plan and getting the notification/permission/invitation letters out to the parents. It was fun collaborating with other professionals who know a lot more than I do about technology and they were instrumental in helping me to get things set up so that everything went smoothly, ensuring that I had eyes in the back of my head, during the actual project today and helping to facilitate the class.

Today we bypassed the filters and allowed my students to sign on to their personal Facebook accounts (those who wanted to and had parental permission – a few students didn’t want to take part) or buddy up if they didn’t have one or permission. It was noisy and the students appeared to have fun, they were engaged and were asking lots of questions about why we were recommending certain settings (Where these were their personal Facebook accounts.

We made it clear from the start that they did not have to change any setting if they did not want to), I thought we all learned a lot about Privacy Settings in Facebook and digital safety. It was great to hear them use and understand terms, vocabulary and ideas that had been taught over the past couple of months, showing that they had listened and learned during the digital safety classes. Especially in front of other teachers and one of the parents who showed up to observe.

This project was a graded activity and all the students that were there today grades reflect the positive attitudes, questions, participation and yes – appropriate use of Facebook during class.  This was my version of a “final exam” for their digital safety course and I believe it was a more accurate picture of how much students learned during their digital safety classes then a pen and paper test would have.
Change can be scary and as far as we could tell today was the first time that Facebook was part of a lesson in our school district, so we were very conservative in what we did and allowed the students to do. As they say Rome wasn’t built in a day, but we did lay the first bricks.

By the way did I tell everyone how cool my tech department and tech integrator are!!!!!!!   They are Awesome.

Today is one of those reasons that I teach, I felt that I made a difference, had some fun and taught my students something that will help them beyond school. It felt good to be a teacher today.

What have you done to make a difference today?