Last night I conducted my parent workshop on Teen Social Networking sites (like MySpace, Facebook, Xanga, and more.) The plan was to have a general PTO meeting for the first fifteen minutes, followed by twenty minute sessions on an assortment of topics including:
- Social Networking & Teens (Mine)
- How are We Doing? An informal roundtable discussion about school concerns
- Reading Our School Report Cards
- Life After Middle School
These were planned as a response to a survey on parent concerns and requests for more information. Upon arriving, parents “signed up” for three of the five sessions. After the parents arrived, all signed up for the session I was doing, and so my principal asked me to do an extended time with the large group, allow for questions and answers, and then the parents could go to one of their next session.
My session lasted 45 minutes, and focused on defining social networks, identifying positive and negative concerns with the sites, and showing a few examples of some of the more popular sites (screenshots since we do not have access to them at school.) I also explained that our school filters, or blocks these sites, and that we do not give instruction about these tools because the district has deemed then inappropriate for school. I explained that we as a school were aware though that many students (even those legally under age according to licensing by the sites standards) were using the tools, and therefore we were giving the session for that purpose. The presentation included tips and other information.
Murphy’s Law was at it for this presentation too, as my assigned location was the auditorium, which had speakers and sound system, mounted projector and electronic roll down screen, and plenty of good seating. I spent my afternoon before our parent workshops setting up the other teachers’ rooms for laptops, projectors, screens, and ensuring they had all their needs since all I needed was my laptop connected to the brand new state of the art auditorium connections. The evenings events were to begin at 5:30, so at 4:30 I went to take my laptop in to set up, only to discover the roll top for the power to everything was locked, and the ONE person with the key was gone for the day and unavailable. Of course you know I had to SCRAMBLE to get a projector, screen, speakers, and all ready. So at 5:15 I was soaking with sweat, but ready and frazzled. I need to remember to ALWAYS expect the unexpected.
The session went well, and I have decided to submit my presentation as a proposal to a couple of other conferences, including the South Carolina School Administrator’s Summer Leadership Institute, South Carolina’s EdTech Conference, and the South Carolina Association of School Librarian’s Annual Conference. I am also considering the Greenville (SC) Upstate Technology Conference. I feel that even though most schools block these tools, educators need to have familiarity with them, and be able to knowledgeably speak to parents as well. Even at my own school, the social networking sites bring issues into the building that guidance and administration have to deal with regularly, and more than likely classroom teachers too.
PowerPoint (on SlideShare)
The PowerPoint Discussion Guide (in Word)
Cyberbullying Video Talent Show (from YouTube)
Cyberbullying Video Kitchen (from YouTube)
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