Integrating Technology and Teaching

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Internet Awareness, Web Quests Module #7

I f you want motivation that exceeds the very real human costs that unlimited and untrained access to the internet can incur, how about the personal risk of a lawsuit, or living with the consequence to yourself, your family, or someone else getting hurt, physically, financially, or spiritually. File sharing, emails, chatrooms, blogging, and all the other great things to be done through the internet come with the risk that someone will abuse the freedom, or our trust.

The previous sentence is sensational, and intended as an attention getter. But the message is clear. People of all ages, no matter the gender, or social status, from all walks of life, that have one thing in common, namely surfing the internet, are exposed to risk.

The risk can be from misinformation, loss of personal privacy, or much more serious. Stalker and pedophiles can identify and access their victims by posing as young people on a chatroom. They would look for chatroom participants that show a dissatisfaction with homelife, or an inordinate interest in sex, and then lure the children to a spot to meet the supposed "peer". By then it might be too late.

The internet has many sites which advertise products in a way that is inappropriate for younger children, or that dupes the naive surfer in to providing credit information that should never be sent over the internet. Our blogs are subject to marketing that uses profile information to match up with other people looking for partners on the internet.

The anonymity of the web provides cowards with an ideal method of striking at their victims from behind a wall of invulnerability. The school bully might ridicule a rival student, much the same way some political satirists ridicule the president of the united States, with impunity. Damage can be done and not much in the way of consequences can be imposed on the offender. I have had my business reputation and the competence of employees impuned and though I might guess who said it, the viewer does not get the chance to hear both sides of the story, so it is unfair at the least.

I intend to insure that all students that use the web for information are monitored, and have been thoroughly prepared to cope with the aforementioned problems. Our school does indeed use the horseshoe shaped computer lab, and does make the teacher directly responsible for monitoring the monitors. In addition we are aware of how to centrally track website usage by computer, and each student is instructed to maintain privacy fro their password and ID, and the ID can be traced for which sites it has visited.

Web Quests are a way of providing a structured pre determined course through a set of web based resources in order to develop a lesson plan. The quest may also be designed for fun, or to accomplish an objective. In the case of one webquest the objective is to provide resources and motivation for the intrepid questor to develop a policy for insuring web safety in his or her work, school, or home environment. But chiefly the concern here is to the student, and indirectly to the teacher as the first person responsible for the well being of the student while he or she is in school.

Webquests can be used for all sorts of other purposes, and if carefully structured help channel and guide the questor through the intended web experience and hopefully through some very good learning opportunities. They can be used to self conduct a participant through a guided set of challenges that are not necessarily on different parts of the internet, but are all contained in one website. The particular one that Dr. Dodge developed at San Diego University is the original one and is very interesting. Just Google dodge at san Diego and you will be there. Good Luck.


At 5:55 PM, Blogger Dale said...

Hi David:
Spectacular! You have created a first-rate blog based on your work with computer technology in education. All activities were completed on time (in fact you were among the first 10 people in a class of 110 to complete all course requirements and clearly meet the course objectives). Many of your posts were in the category of "way above average".
Best wishes for your upcoming Practicum in Professional Semester I.


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