Educators have long been harvesting ideas from popular culture to imbue excitement into lessons and to engage learners. It's truly the definition of the teachable moment when we employ engaging current events such as elections, hurricanes, earthquakes, war, local events, or popular phenomena such as social networking to teach the knowledge acquisition and thinking skills that our student learners will need when they move into the workforce as adult earners. Of course, the current crop of social networking sites has generated both excitement and concern. Some schools have banned them entirely.
In my view, banning these sites is over-the-top. It damages the teacher-librarian's key roles in preparing learners to research well. You should see the plaintive notes I get from high school students on my blog asking how to get to MySpace, etc., and what the latest workarounds are. Sometimes normal sites such as the local newspaper are being blocked.
Access for Learning
If you're a regular reader of this column, you know I am a big supporter of teacher-librarians teaching Internet safety skills. I am incredulous at the number of schools and districts that block access to much of the Web and Internet. How can people teach essential contemporary skills without the most modern tools?
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