June 9th’s debate was on openness and sharing in schools is unfair to our students. We had Melinda and Altan on the agree side, and Sherrie and Dean on the disagree side. I tended to lean on the disagree side of the debate (With some reservations, find out more below).
Melinda and Altan did a great job highlighting the reasons we should be cautious when we encourage sharing and openness in the classroom. Their argument was around the following points.
- Privacy Issues
- Language Barrier
- Social Media
- Children’s Input
- Challenges of Openness
- Digital Etiquette
- Digital Rights
- Digital Literacy
- Digital Divide
- Use of Cellphones
- Digital Communication
Dean and Sherrie countered with an excellent Newscast and the Sherrie Meredith Report. These were some of their main points of persuading the viewers to lean to their side of the argument.
- Openness and Sharing provides more meaningful learning opportunities
- Learning on your own terms
- Take opportunities to teach about digital footprints
- Openness allows for opportunities for the 4Cs (and Connectivity)
- Educate to be informed posters
- The need to model for students good digital citizenship.
- Opportunities to connect globally.
- Learn at your own convenience
The Main Take-Aways
Throughout this debate, I pondered many of the points that were brought up on both sides. The inequity of the media release form for EAL families, openness and sharing and the 4Cs, educating students to become informed posters, consulting with students about posting online, and sharenting.
The Inequity of the Media Release Forms for EAL families
This resonated with me. Melinda and Altan highlighted that for the media release forms, parents are not always aware of what the media release form means and implies. I taught my first two years of teaching in Ogema, Saskatchewan. A small rural community with a large Filipino population, roughly 50% of our students. To be honest this situation never occurred to me. Melinda and Altan addressed this issue through some key points.
- These include translation apps (Such as my favourite, Microsoft Translate)
- Rewriting the form using a clear, simple explanation
- Examples, such as photos
- Educating about negative consequences.
These points are something that I will keep in mind while implementing and writing policies for parents around the implementation of technology in schools and the classroom. It will also provide opportunities to work and collaborate with our EAL consultant.
The Sherrie Meredith Report
I knew going into this blog post I would have to highlight Sherrie’s rant. Many of the points that she was sharing reiterate the importance of the underlying theme. The NEED for educators to implement and teach digital citizenship.
Sherrie addressing many points in her rant, but these are the ones that stood out to me.
Openness and sharing encourages the 4Cs
Sherrie discusses how openness and sharing encourage connectivity, communication, creativity, and collaboration. I would also argue that it allows for critical thinking as these are the skills that students will need to know in a world that promotes openness and sharing of resources.
We see numerous opportunities for openness and sharing and the connection of the 4Cs to global projects such as The Global Read Aloud. This project encourages classrooms to connect with one another and complete and reflect globally with different classrooms using tools such as Google Hangouts, Skype/Teams, Flipgrid, and Seesaw.
Educate Students to Become informed Online Posters
As educators, we need to be role models for our students and allow them to be informed posters online. This comes from the thoughtful implementation of digital citizenship embedded throughout the curriculum, as well as modeling for students.
Vicki Davis talks about the two essential approaches to digital citizenship curriculum. Proactive Knowledge and Experiential Knowledge. For more on the 9 Key Ps of proactive knowledge check out my previous blog post. Vicky highlights as educators we need to move beyond providing just touching on the points of “proactive” digital citizenship. Our students need to have experiences to become effective digital citizenship. Opportunities to teach these skills in blogging, and collaborating with others inside and outside of the school division. These opportunities allow for openness and sharing, while also providing teaching moments around digital citizenship.
Consulting with Students about posting online
This is something that I need to do better. As a consultant, I often go into classrooms and gain the teacher’s permission to take pictures of the students that I am working with. However, Sherrie brings up an excellent point on the importance of ensuring that we have asked the child for their permission to take pictures and the purpose of taking the pictures.
Melinda and Altan posted an article Posting About Your Kids Online Could Damage Their Futures. This article talks about how a child’s digital footprint starts before birth. Usually starting with ultrasound photos and due date announcements. The article discusses the term “Sharenting”, the act of parents putting information about their children online. I believe the threat of this concern is very real as much of children’s lives are documented on social media. This ties into Sherrie’s argument about ensuring that students know and understand the implications of posting online.
In conclusion, I tended to lean more to the disagree side, as I believe that openness and sharing provide excellent opportunities for digital citizenship conversations. It allows for the teaching of the 4Cs and to prepare students for the 21st Century. We have to be mindful. Mindful of what we are posting online, mindful that we are equitable, and everyone has the same understanding around policies around openness and sharing. As educators, we must still ask for permission from students if it is okay to take their picture, and we must teach them the implications of sharing data online. With the practices that Dean and Sherrie, and Altan and Melinda highlight we can provide opportunities for students to share in healthy digital spaces.