The Internet can be a chaotic element to integrate in a classroom environment if structure is not provided for students. When used inappropriately the Internet can cause serious problems. Teachers need to plan and prepare lessons for students who have a fundamental right to use the Internet safely and be free from issues such as harassment, cyber bullying and inappropriate content (Roblyer and Doering, 2013). The Department of Education and Communities [NSW DEC] have developed a range of resources to address cyberbullying on their School A to Z website (NSW DEC, 2015). The technology section contains and has links for a range of resources that students and parents can access including cyberbullying prevention policies (NSW DEC, n.d).
Other government initiatives to address concerns about the Internet have resulted in a range of safe and engaging resources for digital classroom environments such as Scootle. Teachers can use Scootle to provide ‘learning paths’ for students so that they can access a set of sequenced resources in a structured approach toward the management of digital learning. Scootle learning paths can help teachers develop students’ knowledge, understanding and skills in using the internet for research. Resources available on Scootle can guide students in developing their ability to analyse websites for their quality and subsequently use the more reliable websites for their research. Teachers can also use affordances of Web 2.0 learning management system (LMS) such as MOODLE to provide a social constructionist pedagogical approach to structuring student learning on the Internet (Barbary and Macneil, 2012). Most DEC schools have access to a MOODLE LMS that is located behind proxy filters to restrict student access to inappropriate content and monitor the online use of that resource. Providing course content using MOODLE and Scootle is a sound way for teachers to address the concerns inherent in using the Internet. Teachers need to TPACK their lessons on MOODLE as well so that they can encourage higher order thinking skills in students and utilise the social constructivist features of collaborative online learning spaces like MOODLE’s forum, Wiki, calendar and chat features. The MOODLE platform is also an Open Source project that is at the forefront of community development and this has resulted in a range of social networking [SN] features being integrated into the LMS. These features are a challenge for even experienced MOODLE administrators because of security issues and the potential for SN features to disrupt the pedagogical philosophy with issues like cyberbullying. Teachers and MOODLE administrators have an exciting future though if SN can be utilised fully in education environments to promote co-constructionist pedagogical philosophies in the way Hew and Cheung (2012) have outlined with case studies about Web 2.0 tools such as twitter, blogging and wikis.
Barbary, A. and Macneil, K. (2012). Module 1 – Getting Started with Moodle: Setting up and adding content. Self-Paced Guide. University of Ballarat. Retrieved from: http://federation.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/115575/Module1_GetStart_Self_234_web2.pdf
Hew, K.F. and Cheung, W.S. (2012). Use of Web 2.0 Technologies in K-12 and Higher Education: The Search for Evidence-based Practice, Educational Research Review (2012), doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2012.08.001
New South Wales Department of Education and Communities. (n.d.). cyberbullying. Retrieved from: https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/policies/student_serv/discipline/bullying/cyberbully.pdf
New South Wales Department of Education and Communities. (2015). cyberbullying. Retrieved from: http://www.schoolatoz.nsw.edu.au/technology/cyberbullying
Roblyer, M. and Doering, A. (2013). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching: Pearson New International Edition. Pearson Education Limited. Kindle Edition.