MIL Activity 6.4
What are the risks and challenges teachers are likely to face in using social networking for educational purposes?
The risks are less than the challenges.
One risk that teachers need to take is to share more of the power in the student-teacher relationship. Students who are given opportunities to exercise their critical thinking skills and abilities to assess and select will usually commit more to a learning activity, as well as learn ancillary skills, such as reflection and responsibility. Some teachers find loosening their control over the selection and processing of activities very difficult, almost impossible. Taking this risk will almost always improve learning.
One challenge can be runaway success. Sometimes students take activities so seriously that they don’t want to stop when new curriculum needs to be studied. Teachers need to find ways to allow enjoyable activities to continue, possibly outside of class time.
Another challenge can be organizational, where teachers need to know where student materials are stored and can be accessed so that projects can be stored and re-started to fit timetables and to assess and evaluate student work.
Security can be another challenge. Some websites have better security and storage, so that students can be confident that unwanted eyes and hands do not hack their work. Students need to design strong passwords, then remember them so they are not blocked from their own content.
A recent challenge has emerged in the form of copyright. Student work is creative and copyrighted to the student, yet some websites claim copyright over their work. Some websites even use student work to promote the websites’ products, thus monetizing student-made texts without either their consent or recompense. This phenomenon provides teachers with opportunities to help students understand copyright, business models and ethics.