As I said earlier, I don’t have high hopes for this being the year that schools begin to embrace social software in systemic ways and that 2007 may pose more challenges to that thinking. Case in point a couple of items in the aggregator this morning. First, from Michael Stephens, it appears that Illinois is going after DOPA: The State Version. You know the drill…no social networking in libraries, schools, outhouses, etc. And this won’t be the last bill or the last state to try to put it through.
Second, Chris Lehmann points to an article in the New York Times yesterday titled “Teenagers Misbehaving, for All Online to Watch.” As you can imagine, it’s not a great advertisment for the transparency of the Web these days.
Most suburban teenagers, it seems, can rattle off a litany of the latest teens-gone-wild offerings as though they were the local multiplex listings: boys holding cellphones under the lunch table to photograph up girls’ skirts; an innocent kiss at a party posted out of context on an ex-boyfriend’s Web site; someone bursting in on friends who are in the bathroom or sleeping, drinking or smoking; students goading teachers into tantrums; assaulting homeless people.
Chris expresses his concerns about what this all means, and notes, accurately, I think, that the stakes are getting higher, and he says that schools have to play a bigger role in educating kids about how to make “smart, safe and ethical choices.” The more I turn this in my own brain the more I get to the fact that this is cultural. It’s societal. And those of us who have whatever limited enlightenment into the workings of the world about these matters need to do more to educate all of our constituents.
Before any of this is going to get better, more folks who don’t have any concept of learning in social networks need to at least be shown the possibilities. Whether they embrace them into their own practice is something different altogether.