Task: Can you recognize one or two voices and/or tones from the in the activity you completed this week? Do you notice these voices and/or tones in your current discussion board responses with students, if applicable? Discuss potential changes in your approach to discussions in the future. Take into account the need to rely less on hearing your own voice in favor of supporting participants reflections and learning.
Let me start by restating the activity. The task was to choose a role (Student, Principal, Teacher who wants social networks in the classroom, Parent in support of proposal or Parent opposed to proposal) and respond, with appropriate voice and tone, to the student association’s request to allow access to social networks at school. My initial response follows below.
As an educator who was stifled from fully utilizing technology, I stand before you today in support of opening up social networking to the student body. I have heard the concerns of Ms. Harris and Mr. Farmer. They are valid. But I believe to hide and shield students from these sites is the wrong course of action. My colonel in the Army taught me that it may be the Air “Defense” Artillery, but we don’t defend. We attack! I realized then that it was a philosophy I used my entire life as a student who was bullied. My parents taught me to fight back, and I did. Maybe not always in the right way, but I confronted adversity head-on. And I never had my lunch money taken! Ironically, one of my bullies later became a fraternity brother of mine. In the same way, I am not here to fight against you. Instead, I want you on my side. I want your input. I want our students to be prepared for their future – a future including more technology than we can even imagine today – and have the skills and tools to handle any obstacle they face. And that is why I am here today to announce that I am a pro-technology candidate for the school board. God bless you and God bless Ampipe High! Go Bulldogs!
The tone of my initial posting was Whimsical/Humorous/Imaginative. I posted playing the role of an pro-technology educator running for the school board. I interspersed hyperbole throughout my comments in order to sound like a politician on the campaign trail. When I was discussing my history of being bullied, while handled in a lighthearted manner, it was as a Personal Muse.
(Note: For those wondering, the Ampipe Bulldogs is from “All the Right Moves,” with Tom Cruise and Craig T, Nelson.)
In a response to a classmate’s post calling for an after-school program to educate students and parents on social networks, I posted the following:
I have some questions concerning your proposal for an after school program to educate parents and children on social networking.
1. Would it be mandatory? If not, what incentive would there be for people to attend?
2. Where is the money going to come from? In today’s age of budget tightening, how are you going to pay for a new after school program, especially one that might not be supported by the constituents?
While my tone could be construed as Curious/Informal, I think it clearly reads as if I am against the idea without knowing the answers to my questions. I could eliminate the first question in part one. For the second part, a better rephrasing might be, “In today’s age of budget tightening, how might we pay for a new after school program?” These changes would come off as less aggressive.
I don’t currently have discussion boards with my students (I teach in a face-to-face environment). At times, I catch myself using some of less desirable tones with my students. However, in my discussion board posts with my classmates, I make every effort to review my comments before sending to try to minimize any negative voices or tones. Unlike the spoken word, we get the chance to see our words before others “hear” them. While I should follow the old adage of thinking before speaking, a long time lag would be awkward. I would look funny to my students standing there and mentally backspacing (or deleting).