February 2009 Editor's Note: HELP YOURSELF
One of the biggest obstacles to providing a
modern and worthwhile experience for students these days is
that most of their teachers are out of touch. Take this sobering
statistic, for example: The 2008 National Cybersafety,
Cybersecurity, Cyberethics Baseline Study reports that less than
one-third of educators in the U.S. are comfortable giving guidance
on how to be safe in an online environment, including about
social networking and cyber predators. How are our schools
going to provide a true 21st-century education if educators aren’t
Web literate themselves?
Here’s another problem: educators won’t “get it” with an afterschool
workshop or some PowerPoint presentation at the next
faculty meeting. They have to log on and live in the same space
their charges live in. And they need to do it on their own.
The solution? This issue offers some incentives for educators to
get and stay online beyond just doing it for the kids. Peggy
Sheehy’s feature on professional development in Second Life
(page 28) provides a fascinating glimpse into what is a certifiable
phenomenon—the burgeoning community of education professionals
who meet, network, collaborate, research, and even have
some fun in the virtual world of Second Life. Peggy is one of the
pioneers in this space and continues to perform amazing work in
building this movement. Be sure to follow her lead.
Of course, it isn’t all sunshine and roses out there in cyberspace,
which is why our bloggers Bob Sprankle and Cheryl Oakes share
their experiences and advice on our back page. One other reason
to get online more: check out our completely redesigned Web
site at techlearning.com, where you can dive into hundreds of
articles, scroll through our new and improved forums, and even
leave us some feedback.