Online Responsibility: Do You Have It?

Plain and Simple. Using a computer for school just makes everything easier, but without teaching online responsibility you could be making it harder on yourself and your students.

Here’s a little background on where I’m coming from:

I remember back when I was in grade school every assignment had to be hand-written with a pencil on an 8″ x 10″ piece of lined paper. The rule was to write on every other line and no matter how hard I tried, I still smudged the lead all over my paper and hand.

The giant electronic boxes that they called computers sat in the back corner of the classroom and could only be used by students during recess.  There was always a long line with a sign-up sheet to wait and play Oregon Trail. Please tell me you remember Oregon Trail!

There was a small computer lab in the library on which I remember playing SimCity; other than that, computers weren’t a part of my learning experience. As I got older, computers were used more for academics and it became acceptable to type your papers. Computers became more widely used in high school; however even then they weren’t the centerpiece of my educational experience.

Today, schools are dependent on computers for learning. Although everything can be found online, where in this learning environment should the line be drawn? Just a few years ago, Internet content was limited and people were still trying to figure out how it worked. Worrying about security wasn’t as much of an issue as it is today. Now, security can make it more difficult to check upcoming assignments than it is to actually complete them.

We were never really taught how to be responsible online. We taught ourselves. My home computer was mostly used for games or instant message. My friends and I would wait and stare into the screen with the scratchy phone dial tone in the background waiting for the connection to AOL.  When the little yellow man finished running it was time to be social and talk to the 5 friends I had online.

For me, the Internet was first used for fun and then used for work. With time, I learned to balance my Internet use between leisure and work. Today’s students, however, have a lot more to worry about when dealing with their online presence.

I understand why schools have to be cautious in how they incorporate the web with education. Many sites that are available and accessible at home (e.g. Facebook) are blocked from school computers. This gives students two extremes of exposure: no access at school and full access at home.  Schools should be the middleman; schools should be teaching online responsibility.

This is something we should all consider thinking about: teaching our students the importance of online responsibility. The earlier these skills and ideas are implemented into everyday learning, the easier they will become second nature. Teaching this sense of responsibility has the potential to open many doors for students and contribute to their greater success in the future.

Homework:

  • How does your school use the Internet?
  • Does your school have high online security?
  • What websites/online functions are not accessible to use on your school computers?
  • What ideas do you have to continue teaching online responsibility and keeping students safe online?

Related Links:

Online, How Much Security is Too Much?“, by David Pogue

3 Ways For Kids to ACE Social Media“, by Marjie Knudsen

Social Networking Under Age 13: Some ed experts views“, by Anne Collier

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