Students 'should get Bebo lessons'
CLASSES on Bebo and blogging should be compulsory in any new technology curriculum for second-level schools, a leading authority on computers has suggested.
Social-networking sites, such as Bebo, are the new "street-corner culture of the internet", according to James Greenslade, director of information and computing technologies (ICT) at the Tipperary Institute.
Announcing details of an 'Internet Experience in Education' conference, which will be held in the institute on May 22, Mr Greenslade said rather than being concerned about students' preoccupation with the likes of social networking and computer gaming, educators must embrace these phenomena and use them to advance the education of students.
He said that one of our priorities must be to teach responsible usage, but we must also realise that social networking could become a valuable educational tool.
Bebo and a number of other sites are banned in schools because of fears that students would spend too long on them.
There are also concerns over the use of social-networking sites for bullying or exploring unhealthy interests such as anorexia. And there is some evidence of 'pacts' being discussed online by youths who are contemplating suicide.
But Mr Greenslade took a more positive view. He said that as a country that was to the forefront in the ICT revolution, we should be staying at the top and harnessing the interest that students have in social networking to their and to our nation's advantage.
"Our first step is to educate the educators and bring this onto the curriculum.
"We have the best possible example in Ireland of the potential of internet usage for students through the success of teenage brothers Patrick and John Collison. They sold their company for €3.2m after coming up with an idea for software for heavy eBay users while online," he said.
What they didn't tell you about Bebo: Page 38