I have a confession to make--I am determined to make this EDES 545 learning experience as powerful as possible for me---so that means I will learn by PLAY. In my experience, whenever I get my knickers in a knot about learning new technology, everything takes at least three times as long---sometimes more. Because of my, shall we say, vintage, technology has not always been my friend. However, I have learned a lot this last year from watching the high school students cram into Stelly's Secondary library where I work---they make a beeline for the computers--and where do they go to first?
They head for the social networking sites:Facebook, bebo, meebo. What they mostly look at is pictures of themselves and their friends. From this observation I know that using any photosharing site will have quite a bit of appeal for most high school students.
According to the 'rules of Stelly's library' students are NOT to be on these sites--mostly because it is assumed that if they're on bebo, they are not doing academic work. This is something I want to change--but I need to find the right person to collaborate with first, for what I have in mind. I want to work with the coolest First Nations teacher to design an assignment so that the FN students can legitimately be on the photosharing site. I want to use the technology to engage these students who don't have computers at home. These students want to do the same things the other kids are doing and I can imagine all kinds of powerful cultural presentations created on bebo/facebook/myspace....
I should back up here a little to talk about the make-up of Stelly's. Our school sits in the middle of farm fields,with the Saanich fairgrounds right across the street. Even though we are located only twenty minutes from downtown Victoria, BC we are a rural school. Our students come from both mutli-million dollar waterfront homes and four First Nations reserves. Some of our students regularly travel to Europe, and beyond, others don't ever leave the Peninsula. The diversity of our student composition is extreme.
I find myself especially drawn to befriend and support the students who don't have it all. So, back to bebo. The First Nations kids tend to use this site predominantly. I don't know why yet, but I want to design a project where they tell me why they should have access to this site.