Monday, February 11, 2008

Role Playing Online Behavior

Our fifth graders have certainly come through in a way I envisioned, yet feared at the same time: We've had our first incidence of cyberbullying on our private class Ning. There have been some questionable videoposts (questionable only in sense of humor--taste levels), and some interesting choices in screen names with religious identifiers (!?!). But what has finally happened in our class Ning is something that is happening on MySpace/Facebook, etc all the time. A student has posted rude information about another student on other people's pages. Imagine the boys bathroom walls, if you will. Instead of a black magic marker announcing the phone number of a girl you could call for a good time, you have a web page that everyone can read instead. Of coruse, I am dramatizing this--THAT'S NOT WHAT HAPPENED HERE. But, that's the idea of it. So, now I am given the opportunity educators dream of: I am a part of the conversation of how to behave kindly and appropriately online. I am a part of our Ning, and I saw it's public.

So, now I have to figure out the best way to show, rather than tell, what's wrong with our situation. My idea is a game show: Naughty or Nice. Another teacher and I will roleplay real situations that have happened online, but acted out as if they happened in the classroom. Then, we show some ideal interactions. Basically modeling behavior and showing what makes other choices unkind. Has anyone else ever approached the conversation differently? Successfully?

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