Hello ECI830’ers and beyond,
Now, I assume most of you didn’t vote for pizza…but I did notice that most of you did vote for disagreeing with the fact the “Openness and sharing in schools is unfair to our children” and I can’t 100% say that I disagree with you. I utilize many technological tools in my classroom that allow for sharing and openness and I, to this point have seen nothing but positive benefit from it. Shelly, Esther and Kari did a wonderful job explaining the benefits to using sharing in our classrooms. However, like my teammate Amy mentions in her post, I would not know nearly as much about the risks of sharing online than I do now if it hadn’t been for my reasearch for this debate. I think both sides presented very good arguments – I just think that Amy, Joe and I presented arguments that are absolutely food for thought as move forward with this much openness and sharing where as Shelly, Esther, and Kari presented facts that show us the immense short term benefits only. Check out our opening statements below:
As you just saw, the disagree group broke their argument down into 3 main points, the first, that technology is the reality of today’s childhood. In the article they posted, “Building and Keeping a Positive Digital Identity” it breaks down 5 main questions that we need to be asking to ensure kids are safe and protected when they share online. I suppose the crucial thing is that we are doing our due diligence and ensuring the groundwork is laid for our students so they can understand and be safe in the world they are growing up in. Knowledge is power and avoidance is unrealistic so I think education is key.
The next point the disagree group brings up is that sharing and openness promotes connectivity. I can’t disagree with this point as my own classroom Facebook page does just that. I hear non-stop that parents love being able to see what happens in our day, look at photos, ask good questions, etc. Our families are on social media and technology so allowing to connect with their kids this way is not an extra step.
The final point the disagree group makes is that we as educators can model and promote creating a positive digital footprint. Children, regardless of when they are born, are not born just knowing what to post and what to do and say online. This always comes with mistakes and speed bumps. Teachers can help guide their students down this winding road and ensure that mistakes and missteps are only small. In the article “Post No Photos, Leave No Trace: Children’s digital footprint management strategies” it reminds us that children around the age of 12, should be capable of curating their own digital footprints. However, it also mentions that there is sometimes a divide in what the student or child wants in their footprint and what the adults around them want, which in turn makes their decisions stressful and their feelings about their footprint negative. This is the perfect transition into a recap of our points, as we rebutted with the fact that children don’t feel empowered when the adults in their lives are doing something for them!
Our main points outlined the significant privacy and safety concerns with being online as well as outlining the small amount of long term data we have on how our information and digital footprints will be used in the future. We concluded with the fact that we could be causing undue stress and anxiety in our kids by posting images, work or video without their consent. Although I struggled arguing some of these points, I will say, it was eye opening to actually consider of the cons of our practice. There is absolutely research that suggests that there are serious consequences to posting so much of our kids online. You can watch our opening statement to hear a more in-depth explanation of these reasons, however, I would like to highlight one of the best reads in our posted literature this week. It is an article titled, “Dangers of Posting Pictures Online I Is your Child at Risk?” by Robyn Trevaud. This is a short read but quotes the BBC Poll we site in our video that addresses the implications of what we post online not only for ourselves, but for our kids. It highlights the potential for anxiety and stress in dealing with social media and their un-chosen online presence. She says there are three main points that parents should consider. This ties into school in my opinion, because we work so closely with our families and our social media is pretty much solely for the purpose of staying connected, they are:
Utilize privacy controls and ensure that the image can only be viewed by a closed group containing your close friends and family
Be mindful of metadata – be sure to turn off geo-location enabled services
Always seek permission from other parents before posting images which include their children
Another piece I would like to highlight, was one of the points we used in our rebuttal to the disagree group, they said, “we are empowering youth by allowing them to curate their digital footprint” but as much as I help curate my students’, I don’t know if I am actually empowering them to create a positive digital footprint, because in reality, I am the one creating it for them. I love the idea of the voice this power gives them, the authority and reach and I believe whole heartily in teaching digital citizenship, but I don’t know if we are empowering them but choosing work and telling them what to take pictures of, or what to write. As I mentioned above, knowledge is power and kids need to know and have guidelines but I am still on the fence if empowerment is what we are giving them…
One huge piece that I honestly didn’t even consider, is a point that my classmate Rakan brings up in his blog post this week, he points out that we need to be mindful of openness and sharing on account of our students’ religious and cultural beliefs. Our country and city are becoming more multi-cultural and diverse every day and the standard of what is alright and what is not, as far as pictures, where they are posted, if and when they are taken, etc. is drastically different among them. Although the option not to sign the media release would obviously be given, there are much stricter policies that are not covered on those forms such as children’s photos’ simply being taken, or posted in hallways. This is another dimension that I, ignorantly didn’t even consider. Thank you Rakan for bringing this important piece to light.
Overall, although I am sore loser, I really appreciated the quality of the debate this week! I saw value in the other sides arguments as well as the points that our classmates brought up in the chat and discussion. So, like Joe’s wife brought up about his “post lose rage”, I had that too…but I’ve composed myself and I’m back…mostly. 😉
“Educating the mind, without educating the heart,
is no education at all.”