new toy… same points

You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.
 ~ Abraham Lincoln (1809 – 1865)

If you have read this blog more than a couple of times you have undoubtedly come across my shameless reposting of TED Talks.  What can i say they are absolutely mind blowing.  A friend of mine posted this one on a recent post of his, it – even more than usual – blew my mind.
(no time?  jump to the 6 minute mark to see the demo without the history)

WOW!  Pretty incrdible.

So what do you see when you look at this?  It truly has the potential to drastically adjust life as we know it…
…however i have been thinking about this SixthSense technology in a highly simplified form. 

This device has the potential to fundamentally change the way in which we interact with technology – it would always be “there” – its benefits and detriments.  Personally,  i have battled administration and school policy over cellular phones  in the classroom, then of allowing YouTube onto our campus, then there was MySpace, FaceBook and an endless line of proxies that were blocked – ducked – and then reblocked.  How would you teach a class full of “sixth sensers”??  What would you block?  What would you allow?

If you believe (as i do) that some of the most important things we teach our students are responsibility and decision making then at some point you must give students the opportunity to BE responsible, to make a responsible decision, or to make an irresponsible decision and deal with its consequences.  As technology becomes more and more interwoven into our life, the importance of students demonstrating mastery  of these skills seem more and more important.

great cyber-bullying video

When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882)

Just last month i was wandering through the blogosphere reading some music blogs that interest me.  I was astounded by the comments that people were making, they were so severe.  Protected by anonymity it seems people aren’t really nice to each other.  I was disturbed by the fact that kys was an abbreviation that was thrown around like it was nothing.  Oh, you didn’t know either – kill yourself.  Disturbing.  In the same week my senior students reflected on this tragic article, to summarize their responses in a word:  harsh.

The importance of this new writing vehicle that we are a part of can not be understated and the direct instruction and consideration of commenting is something i believe has a place within the modern classroom.  A friend sent me this video this morning, which i found astoundingly powerful and will use to launch a lesson very soon:

Student Blog prompts:
What do you consider to be cyber bullying?  Can you share a time where you felt as though you were bullied online?  Can you think of an instance where perhaps your actions could have been considered bullying?  How did these experiences make you feel?  why?  What should you do if you feel that you are being bullied?