Sorry, but I disagree. I don't want to be the creepy adult lurking in the kids tree house. Just like I wouldn't join in my kids slumber party. However, I would darn well supervise the slumber party, and let the kids know I was going to checking in on them from time to time. The same is true of online spaces. Students should not be allowed to develop the false impression that adults don't frequent the internet. Employers are checking on potential employees, students should know that adults are online.
My comment on his blog is below:
I replied to this post in my own blog about two months ago: http://jorgie-learning.blogspot.com/2009/01/what-if.html But wanted to make a comment here. The argument, and concern I have is if we abandon these spaces to the kids and basically let them have their "hangout" we are then throwing them to the sharks. If we as adults are fearful of being to available to students or to out there, then the only adults in that environment are the dangerous ones, or the ones who are willing to snub their noses at convention, if instead we as adults and educators firmly stake our claim in that world, and then model good behavior by good clean appropriate conduct we are doing not just students, but the whole online environment a huge favor.I actually think it is a really good idea to set up guidelines about what we think is appropriate with our online interactions with students and will make some suggestions the topic of a future post.
IMHO it is vital though that we set explicit (in the being clear sense not the other sense) guidelines with students for example:
I will add you as a friend if you request, I don't request students as friends.
Whatever we are comfortable with is what we should set up ahead of time. Also, involve the powers that be. Explain to administrators why and what you are doing. No principal wants to find out after there is an accusation of misconduct that you are online friends with a student.
I also wonder what Edna Mode means when she states I keep the number to a minimum? If we selectively choose which students we accept as friends we run the risk of alienating some students and giving the impression that we favor some. For instance, if a teacher only accepted young men, it might give the impression of impropriety.