During this course I learned about Mike Ribble’s nine pillars of digital citizenship. Although many of the concepts that he discusses are not new to me, the way Ribble clearly and concisely defines each pillar makes them easy to outline and share with others.
The articles and information on cyberbullying was enlightening. It is impressive that now all 50 states have laws against bullying, and most have language inclusive of cyberbullying (Gaggle, 2019). Reading about the cyberbullying of Ryan Halligan and Kylie Kenny was an important reminder of how impactful and powerful words and online acts can be. These powerful stories are examples that can be used to share with teachers so that they can remain vigilant when watching over their students.
I had never before seen the Monica Lewinski TED Talk. It is hard to believe that the Lewinski scandal was over 20 years ago. Watching the talk and considering how the scandal would have broken had it been in modern times led me to think both about the technology and spread of information, and the culture that we live in now.
I was in need of reviewing the copyright information. As I grow into being an instructional leader, I need to be more vigilant about following the copyright guidelines with fidelity. The many fair use exceptions to copyright are important to the work we do as teachers each day. Access to free and low-cost resources online helps keep teachers and students stocked with high-quality resources affordably. This is one reason that net neutrality is an important topic for educators. The readings from this course taught me a lot about the importance surrounding the conversation about net neutrality.
I feel that my best work in this class was my video on technology’s impact on digital citizenship. I learned about the timeline of when the smart phone exploded on to the market and how that impacted how we conduct our daily lives. Over the last 12 years, access to technology and the capabilities of our devices has dramatically changed how we do everything from driving to work, to grocery shopping, to taking a quiz. The data during that week about access to the internet identified by race, economic grouping, and gender is mostly reflected in what I have seen in the student population where I work.
The lessons that I have learned throughout this class apply to everyday life. Digital citizenship can no longer be separate from our real-world selves. Our digital and physical-world lives are too thoroughly intertwined to separate. Good citizenship practices and behaviors should extend to online interactions. As we secure our physical possessions and homes, we should keep safe our online worlds and digital information.
This course was especially challenging to me because of the amount of writing involved. The amount of writing that was requested was fair, but I have always struggled with the task. My favorite tasks in the course were the case studies. When given real-world examples to respond to, I feel like I am able to explain and provide a rationalization for my course of action. Going through this program with the same group of people provides some comfort in seeing familiar names on the discussion board every week.
As students move more of their interactions to online spaces, we must prepare them to maintain appropriate interactions within those spaces, and identify and manage harmful interactions. Students have long been provided with safety, behavior, and social learning opportunities in school. A logical extension of these lessons reaches into their online behavior and activities. The reach of the lessons that we the teachers provide for our students goes far beyond the classroom and into their daily lives, much of which happens through digital platforms. Digital safety and citizenship, community building, and lessons on appropriate relationship development are key to the social and emotional wellbeing of our students.
Cyberbullying is one important component of digital citizenship and safety that students, parents, and teachers need to be keenly aware of. If unreported and not dealt with appropriately, cyberbullying can have devastating consequences to the emotional and physical wellbeing of its victims. Cyberbullying is defined as “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other devices (Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W., 2015).” This bullying can be broken down into categories: flaming, harassment, denigration, impersonation, outing, trickery, exclusion, and cyberstalking (Siegle, D., 2010). Teaching students about the different types of cyberbullying gives them the vocabulary to identify, discuss, and report cyberbullying if it happens to them. It helps them identify the boundaries of what is appropriate behavior online. Having the vocabulary to communicate about cyberbullying is only one piece of the puzzle.
Comprehensive anti-bullying programs that dive deep into the culture of a school can promote a positive environment where the number of bullying incidents is reduced and a positive climate emerges (Ansary, N. S., et. al, 2015). According to Ansary’s research, a comprehensive anti-bullying program includes a number of different components, including promotion of positive school culture and climate, commitment to implementation with fidelity, clear response strategies, ongoing training for all faculty, students and staff, anti-bullying lessons/curriculum, and monitoring (2015).
One particularly dangerous realm of cyberbullying and cyber-crime occurs when children engage in bullying that involves the exchange or exposition of inappropriate pictures of other children. Although according to J. K. Mitchell, only a small percentage of students are engaging in this behavior, the severity of the act warrants attention (2012). It is important to instill in our students the potentially devastating consequences that engaging in these exchanges can have. Consequences can range from embarrassment, to criminal charges, to severe shame and trauma that leads to self-harm. Preventing these types of situations is in everyone’s best interest.
Setting our students and teachers up for success by developing a comprehensive and integrated digital citizenship, safety, and anti-bullying program is in the best interests of our school communities and the well-being of our students.
Ansary, N. S., Elias, M. J., Greene, M. B., & Green, S. (2015). Best practices to address or reduce bullying in schools. Kappan, 97(2), 30-35. Ansary_Elias_Greene_Green_Bullying.pdf
Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2015). Bullying beyond the schoolyard: Preventing and responding to cyperbullying. (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
Mitchell, K. J., Finkelhor, D., Jones, L. M., & Wolak, J. (2012). Prevalence and characteristics of youth sexting: A national study. Pedatrics, 129, 13-20. Mitchell_Prevalence_&_Characteristics_of_Youth_Sexting_2012.pdf
Siegle, D.(2010). Cyberbullying and sexting: Technology abuses of the 21st century. Gifted Child Today, 32(2), 14-16, 65. Siegle_Cyberbullying_and_Sexting.pdf
Authors, musicians, artists, and all creators should be able to lay claim to their intellectual property and original work if they choose. These creators, for the most part, should be able to be the ones who benefit from their creations, or at least choose who benefits from their creations. Copyright law exists to protect the creator’s rights to their work. Important exceptions to copyright apply for the greater benefit of society, and to preserve the ability of others to critique, study, and teach about the ideas of others even when copyright is in place. Without these exceptions, our society would miss out on many important and in-depth interactions with copyrighted material. The fair use exception to copyright allows more people to meaningfully interact with important copyrighted material in instructional settings. Opening up these resources to teachers can give students more rich learning experiences through diverse text and resource sets.
Copyright law is evolving each day as technology, media, and the definition of published expands each day. The platforms through which teachers can share resources, how to create protections, and the ephemeral nature of the internet are all considerations for fair use exemptions. This evolving set of factors creates a need to constantly revisit and question our compliance with copyright and what actually falls under the umbrella of fair use. Fortunately, our librarians are awesome stewards of our media and knowledge of copyright. They are important guides on our instructional and information journey.
It is important to model for our students and discuss copyright and intellectual property so that they may respect the laws as they become remixers, creators, and transformers. Having those important conversations about how some real person is at the creation end of whatever material they are using (or bootlegging), and the impact fair use and paid distribution have on their income, welfare, and ability to continue creating. One day they may be creators relying on a royalty check.
After reading the Hudson Institute’s White Paper on the Library of Congress and the Copyright Office, I felt very strongly that the librarians should absolutely be in charge of keeping safe the rights of those who create the material who the librarians so proudly preserve (Tepp and Oman, 2015). The notion of privatizing the preservation of the artifacts culture(s) that exist throughout our country made me worried. If only the parts culture that are deemed important enough to get documented and preserved are chosen by the wealthy supporters of the library, then the preserved culture will only reflect what is valued by a small segment of our society. We, as a country, are supposed to be moving towards visibility and representation of all groups.
The fair use exemption to copyright is important in building a rich learning experience for students, while copyright gives opportunity for a lesson in civic and social responsibility.
Tepp, S. & Oman, R. (2015). A 21st Century Copyright Office: The Conservative Case for Reform (white paper). Hudson Institute, Center for the Economics of the Internet. Retrieved from https://www.hudson.org/research/11772-a-21st-century-copyright-office-the-conservative-case-for-reform
In a world where teachers and students increasingly rely on the internet for information, knowledge of digital citizenship, privacy, and net neutrality are of growing importance. According to The Pew Research Center, the overwhelming majority of teenagers across all income levels access the internet every day – some on a nearly ongoing basis (Lenhart, 2015). As teachers, we are very comfortable with the notion of community and character education through schools. Extending our definition of community to online spaces is the next natural evolution. We teach our students safety in the physical community. Safety lessons can now extend to the online extension of our world. The lessons that we teach our students are for application in the real world. According to what the teens are telling us, much of their “real world” is happening through digital contexts (Perrin, 2015).
The internet is a dynamic environment that changes every second. Each interaction that we have online, whether it be with a human or with content, contributes to the future of how the internet is shaped. Data from clicks, views, likes, and searches are harvested by the companies that users interact with. An important lesson for our students is how to protect our data and our online interactions from unintended viewers. Students should be taught about the prized data trail that they leave as they simply search the internet for things that interest them. According to a 2015 poll, 93% of US Americans believe that being in control of who can get to their data is important (Madden, M., & Raine, L., 2015). To be in control of our data, users must first be aware of who is collecting it. Teachers can be a first line of informing our students on the value of their online data and how to control who can collect it if possible.
Equity of access is a twofold issue. Users access the internet varies across socioeconomic lines, with some groups relying more on smart phones as their primary devices, while other more affluent groups have multiple modes of access (Lenhart, 2015). Access to information, online educational opportunities, and the convenience that access to the internet affords is not available equally across all households across the United States (Perrin, 2015). This impacts access to opportunities across households.
The second issue concerning wealth and equity of access is net neutrality. Fortunately, the Federal Communication Commission elected to preserve the free and open internet (2015). This means that companies cannot pay an internet service provider (ISP) for prioritized performance on their networks, nor can a company pay to slow down or block a competitor’s traffic on a network (An introduction to net neutrality, 2014). The users would remain free to decide what resources they would favor. Companies would have to spend their money on good, old-fashioned advertising to promote their resources (Reardon, M., 2015). High-quality, free resources would rise to the top on their own merits, and still be accessible because the internet would remain an open marketplace.
This is especially important to educators, non-profits, and students because there are so many of us in search of high-quality resources and information. If the vast majority of online content was controlled by a few wealthy groups, the quality, variety, and veracity of that information would be suspect (Long, 2015). The internet is our modern-day, more inclusive public forum. Anyone and everyone can have a voice, and that is what makes the internet infinite.
Because of the many complex issues that users face when interacting online, it is important to start educating our students early about safety, citizenship, and the importance of fairness across the internet.
An introduction to net neutrality. (2014) Retrieved from http://www.marshalldata.com/2014/05/an-introduction-to-net-neutrality-what-it-is-what-it-means-for-you-and-what-you-can-do-about-it/ (Note: This is an introduction before the FCCs ruling)
Federal Communications Commission (2015). Open internet. Retrieved from https://www.fcc.gov/openinternet
Lenhart, A. (2015). Teen, social media and technology overview 2015. The Pew Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/09/teens-social-media-technology-2015/
Long, C. (2015). What net neutrality means for students and Educators. Retrieved from http://neatoday.org/2015/03/11/net-neutrality-means-students-educators/
Madden, M., & Raine, L. (2015). Americans' attitudes about privacy, security and surveillance. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/05/20/americans-attitudes-about-privacy-security-and-surveillance/
Perrin, A. (2015). Social networking usage: 2005-2015. Pew research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/files/2015/10/PI_2015-10-08_Social-Networking-Usage-2005-2015_FINAL.pdf
Reardon, M. (2015). 13 Things you need to know about the FCC’s net neutrality regulation. Retrieved from http://www.cnet.com/news/13-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-fccs-net-neutrality-regulation/
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