Sunday, May 23, 2010

Personal information, privacy, digital citizenship and education

(This post is paraphrased from a response given as part of a Web 2 in the IB classroom course. The original material is private therefore I cannot share it here)

I have been part of some interesting online discussions recently about students and what we should be encouraging/allowing them to post online. This is an important discussion to be having in our schools, and classrooms and with teh wider community. We need to find a balance between providing 21C learning opportunities for educators and their students and maintaining privacy through effective digital citizenship. I do not have a real problem with students putting related personal information online, within guidelines, as I fully believe we should be encouraging this and promoting best practice digital footprints/portfolios globally. There is no real point in hiding, the students deserve to have a global audience and to be learning how to manage this online identity. I believe this concept of what is 'personal information' has now evolved. In our flat classroom projects we do not encourage last names or telephone numbers, however in a recent project one classroom posted full student names. When queried the teacher informed us the parents had all given permission for this information to go online (an enlightened school? Does it really matter?). 

Emerging technologies allow others to find out about 'us' in many and varied ways. The important aspect to this is for students to understand how this works and, guided by their parents and teachers, be able to make their own decisions about what is public and what is private.
YouTube are VERY good now at taking material down if it breaches copyright. There was also a great segment on Click Online (Did you know they have over 1.7 million followers on Twitter??)this week about a blogger who has his account deleted because Google claimed he had breached copyright too many times. Copyright vs Fair Use is also another conversation that MUST be happening in schools and classrooms.

There are some further resources that you may wish to read about this:
What is your school's position on putting personal information online?  What about putting their learning online through a digital portfolio?  At BISS we are exploring digital portfolios and have completed a pilot implementation, with a full implementation starting next year for Grades 6-10.  More about this in a future blog post, I am working on this now!

1 comment:

Henrietta Miller said...

I am really interested in this as I started a blog with my year 5 students this year. Although many student blogs have full pictures of their students in identifying uniforms on them, I have decided to reveal first names only and that photographs should not show their faces. I feel this is a very grey area and what and what isn't appropriate for 10 years old to reveal is difficult. I am though constantly prompting cyber safety through blogging in an authentic way.

You can see what we are up t at http://year5rc.edublogs org/