Meeting strangers is a good thing.
So often our fears about technological connectivity center around the fear of what sorts of strangers our students might bump into out there online. Fact is: we should want them to meet strangers. That’s the point. You don’t make the world better by isolating yourself; you make the world better by engaging with it and sharing opinions, ideas, and observations with all sorts of people. Our task as teachers -- and as parents -- is to help our kids understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy relations between strangers online. One way to do this is by modeling the behaviors we expect of digital citizens in the classroom everyday. That's not an option anymore; it's part of our job description. We are all health professionals now.
This rings true of what Alan November said at ITEC last year, that students need to interact with this wide, expansive world, and we as teachers need to be evaluated on how well we facilitate that interaction. We cannot let our fears of that expansive world get in the way of learning, much as we can't let our fears of certain ideologies that past world regimes had get in the way of teaching history about those regimes.
Moving away from isolation and toward networked sharing... how well is your school doing this?