Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Journal 3 - Students Dig Up Dirt (NETS-T 4)

Morehouse, J. (2011). Students dig up dirt to learn about internet safety. Learning and Leading with Technology, 39(2), 34-35. Retrieved from

The article Students Dig Up Dirt To Learn About Internet Safety, by Jesse Morehouse, describes one of the ways in which technology students can learn about internet safety and appropriate internet behavior.  Morehouse, a high school technology teacher, explains that he always spends a portion of his class teaching about internet safety, but that in the past he struggled to get the students engaged.  Morehouse came up with a lesson plan that involves "data mining," which involves seeking out public information about a specific person based on what information they provide about themselves online.  Morehouse explains that his students are always shocked by how much they can find out about a person based on a very limited amount of know information.  This hands on approach helps students realize how much other people can find out about them, and hopefully prompts them to take a second look at the information they provide on their Facebooks, or other social media networks.

Q - Why is it important for teachers to instruct students in the area of internet safety instead of leaving it up to parents?

A - Since technology is a quickly growing field, and many students are already more technology savvy than their teachers, many schools have decided to incorporate technology into the classroom and lesson plans.  If teachers are bringing technology into the lives of his or her students, then they must also instruct those students on how to utilize that technology safely.  Of course, in an ideal world the parent would talk to their children about all the things they will encounter growing up, but this is just not the case.  Many parents are not aware of the technology their children are using, or how to use it themselves.  Therefore, it is important for teachers to supplement what their students are learning at home about internet safety. 

Q -Some may argue that acknowledging that students have Facebooks and helping them monitor the information made available on them will send the message that Facebook is an appropriate activity for the classroom.  How can teachers teach about safely using Facebook without condoning its use in the school?

A - Teachers can generalize these safety protocols to many tools and networks that can be found on the internet, including educational chat rooms and discussion forums, therefore the tips for being safe on the internet are not exclusive to Facebook.  Even so, the fact that most teenagers and young adults have a Facebook is common knowledge, and explaining the most important do-s and don't-s of internet safety in terms of Facebook will help make the information relevant for the students, increasing the probability that they will be interested and engaged.

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