Educators As Well As Parents Have A Responsibility Here!

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This week’s debate in #eci830, was about, Openness and sharing in schools is unfair to our kids. Once again I find myself sitting on the fence. I am torn as to what is “right”. I think this brings me back to how I closed last week’s blog, when Alec said you can do it right both ways, you just have to use it RIGHT”. I feel that is fitting here as well. Let me explain how I got here.

As a parent, I really like the idea of being connected with my child’s school and teachers. Being able to see what she is doing, working on and taking part in is exciting to me. My daughter is not in the school yet. However, our daycare is using a app called “HiMama” to communicate and share information with us. Until tonight, I had not given this much thought. I selfishly just liked being able to stay connected more while I am at work. However, after this week’s debate, I fear these pictures and information being used in a negative way or leaving a digital footprint that my child may not want. I asked myself questions like, are her teachers creating a positive digital footprint for her? Would my child want these pictures shared? How will this affect her later in life? Am I protecting her enough?

I found myself on the fence. I was back and forth with my thinking… there is probably not much harm in what is being shared at this point. However, then again, my child is at the mercy of her teachers online digital citizenship practices. Is her teacher going to make the right decisions? Follow best practices and policies. Is my child’s attention in the moment being sacrificed for that  picture?

Oh geeze, STOP Melinda. This is screaming helicopter parent….

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I get that digital technology is providing a growing variety of methods for school leaders and daycare’s to connect with parents anywhere, anytime.  However, social media can pose risks to students’ privacy, but these risks can be managed with informed, intentional use. There’s also a huge upside: Teachers can use social media to share best practices, provide an authentic audience for students’ work, cultivate and model digital citizenship among their students, and build more connected school communities. I believe this is a good reason to use it. I liked the below video because it ingrains the importance of teacher following some important guidelines to protect students privacy on social media.

 

Getting back to my thoughts overall about this week’s debate.

Team agree did a great job of presenting the possible dangers associated with posting online. During the debate the chat was hot and it seemed like the K-12 teachers were all over this. They were discussing new policies and practices being implemented all the time. Many of these teachers were finding it hard and discouraging to continue with online posts and communication because of this.  Privacy concerns is on everyone’s radar these days, and for good reason. Team disagree also did a great job of proposing what teachers need to be truly mindful of when posting online with students. They did outline some great concerns, I feel that the educational benefits and learning that takes place in this digital world somewhat out ways these concerns.

Ester, Kari and Shelly outlined during their debate, that sharing online is the reality of childhood of this generation. I would agree with this. As discussed in class as well as in previous blogs, I believe it is our responsibility, as adults and educators, to help children navigate this complex digital world in a more positive light.

One of the articles this week was, Building and Keeping a Positive Digital Identity: A Practical Approach for Educators, Students, and Parents. I particularly appreciated this quote from the authors, ”as learning becomes more digital, educators at all levels are instrumental in building students’ understanding about how technology impacts both their personal and future professional
lives. Educators are also instrumental in helping students develop lifelong habits to create and maintain a positive online identity.They said educators at ALL levels…. That is powerful to me because that starts early on with parents as the educators, as well as educators at the university levels and so on. I guess starting at my child’s daycare level is not looking so negative now. Creating a healthy digital footprint is so critical. This article addresses ways educators can help students to understand what their digital footprint/digital identity is all about. Moreover, teachings students how they are creating that identity each and every time they connect online and how that can impact them positively or negatively. We can do this by positive role modeling. As parents and educators, we cannot forget that our students need this guidance to help them understand what positive digital footprint are. The more you can teach students and empower them to make positive digital footprints, the better they will be moving forward in their future.

I think of these lessons as riding a bike. We don’t expect kids to jump on a bike and just ride independently. They start slow, maybe with a tricycle or a bicycle with training wheels and work up to more independence. This is no different with the online digital world. This world should not be a free for all. We are educators and parents have a responsibly here. Sharing positive pictures and information at school seems like the way of truly inter-grading and ensuring this is happening at all levels.

This is my daughter, Jayla and my nephew Zach. I started creating Jayla’s digital footprint while I was pregnant, and didn’t think much of it. I have no choice but to ensure I teach her what positive digital footprint looks like for this fasted paced, ever growing world.

I guess I can say I am no longer on the fence. I am ok with openness and sharing, we have to be! Just in a positive way with learning being at the core!

Thanks for reading! More to come next week!

 

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