Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Scare 'em or Share 'em?

From our 1:1 laptop Teacher Tech Training : MODULE #4

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Some people have strong feelings about being in the public domain (meaning their pictures, thoughts, interests... can be potentially accessed by people they don't know). Explain your feelings? How do we address these concerns as teachers and role models? How do we teach this?

ADULTS: I feel the potential benefits of sharing ideas and solutions, and feeling "connected" to others, far outweigh the risks of "exposure". It may be easy for me, since I am an extrovert, to open myself up for the world - but at the same time, I don't really put anything out there that I wouldn't want my mother or boss to read. I also feel that if my supervisor were to see something I posted...I had better be able to back it up in person.

If you are a dodgy personality or have a dodgy past...then yes, you may need to worry about this kind of new world. But, if you are of "good intention" and leverage the power of this medium...it can change the world.

KIDS: In the student world, we need to explicitly teach them about digital use & reputations.

RISKS: Discussions, debates, and even projects that get these kids to critically think about all media - whether it (as they do in grade 6) considers violence in cartoons, or the power of a posted image on their facebook, or the overwhelming urge to be online (as they might miss something).
  • How do they feel when they see a photo of some kid in a "compromising" situation that the world can see? Do they immediately judge them, or do they think, "big deal - that doesn't mean they are a bad kid, it's just a facebook thing"?
  • Do they think sending rude messages is acceptable if it was on paper and their parents saw it?
  • Do they think the photos and messages will be copied by others? Do they care if they are?
  • Explain that it's OK to "shut down" or appear "invisible". They don't have to be available 24/7!
  • P.E. is a great place for the discussion of a healthy lifestyle considering the time spent on screens.
BENEFITS: Then the other side of the coin is the potential of a digital reputation. Unlike "souping" up your resume with clubs, charity work, and extra-curricular - digital reputations can create "change" or as we say in PYP "action".
  • Start a facebook for humanitarian purposes as part of a unit to generate awareness on an issue. 
  • Twitter from a school trip they are on to share the experience with others
  • Connect with students around the world and have real world discussions in another language on Skype.
All of this "stuff" will follow us around for a long time. I believe we shouldn't scare these students into better use of this medium, but show them the power of using it for good intentions.

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