A Tale of Two Press Releases

It was earlier this month that the Ontario College of Teachers released an advisory entitled "Advisory on the Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media" accompanied by a YouTube video that delved into some of the issues.  The main stream media was all over it immediately with headlines like:

  • Teachers told not to "friend" students on Facebook
  • Ontario teachers advised to avoid students on Net
  • Report advises Ontario teachers not to interact with their students on Facebook

The media just couldn’t get these stories out quickly enough.  While the advisory was full of good advice, the reports elected to focus on things that might go wrong.  I had more than one person who felt their profession marginalized by the news reports.  As I blogged at the time, this didn’t come out of the blue.  Technology conferences like the Educational Computing Organization of Ontario’s annual event and the Ontario Teachers’ Federation’s Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century have very actively been working with members to get the best use of the available technologies.

In fact, with the exception of preparing and writing standardized tests, teachers are encouraged and supported in their efforts to differentiate instruction for students and to use the best possible tools available.  For many teachers, research, writing, publishing, problem solving, critical thinking, editing, and so much more can be enhanced with the appropriate use of technology in safe ways.  Unfortunately, these types of things didn’t make the report.

Today, the Educational Computing Organization of Ontario issued a press release of its own.  "ECOO Encourages Responsible Use of Social Media".  This release doesn’t talk about the "other side" of the story.  It explains, just like the OCT advisory, that social media can be used very powerfully.  In the news release, ECOO’s president, Bill MacKenzie speaks on behalf of his organization:

ECOO believes that students need help learning how to navigate, evaluate, and effectively use technologies safely and appropriately. “Not all students are ‘digital natives’ with the innate ability to navigate these new technologies effortlessly,” says MacKenzie. “Our teachers have a responsibility to lead by example, demonstrating and teaching the appropriate use of technology and social media.” 

So, I went about looking for media coverage of the ECOO News Release.  I couldn’t find a thing as of the time of this writing.  If anyone does find reference to it, please let me know in the comments below.

Fortunately, the Ontario Curriculum does include Media Literacy as a topic.  What a great comparison of what makes it to the media and what doesn’t.  Fortunately, we do have paper.li for web publishing.  It may end up there.

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3 Replies to “A Tale of Two Press Releases”

  1. Hey Doug! Have you reached the magical 100,000? If so, congrats!

    I had some email discussion with Bill about how best to get this word out about the ECOO media release. I will share the link with Curriculum Forum members today and I hope to put it on the OTF web site as well.

    I mentioned it to the OPC folks at the meeting yesterday and ‘challenged’ them (posted the ‘challenge’ on Twitter) to work with OTF, ECOO and others to find the common ground and encourage positive modeling of the use of social media as the ECOO release states. Our students need to learn the safe and appropriate use of these tools.

    Like

  2. Hey, Cyndie. Not quite yet but that will come, I suppose.

    The world needs to recognize that all of this is changing daily and made up on the fly. Normally, we would take a “pass” on a moving target but the power and potential is so great that it needs to be taught. The ethics and proper use are something that students need to understand and where better to learn and apply it in the classroom?

    Like

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