While it’s important to protect students from danger at school, some in the education community also recognize that giving them access to all the benefits of the web is just as integral to their education.
Two interesting articles have come up in this vein.
– The Racine Unified School District recently removed the firewalls that blocked students from many websites at school. Blocking access is typical of school districts across the country in order to shield young eyes and ears from inappropriate material. But Tim Peltz, director of information systems in Racine, made the renegade move, knowing that he’ll have to train teachers and administrators and formulate a fair policy. Read Edutopia’s interview with Tim Peltz about why he decided to take the leap.
“The Internet is a right, whereas previously it was seen as a privilege,” said Peltz, who is 33 and has two young daughters. “If you take the Internet away, it’s kind of like saying, ‘You can’t have this textbook.'”
– Scare tactics don’t help, and quite the opposite, teaching students about appropriate online behavior will enable them to “evaluate potential risks online,” according to a recent article in eschoolnews. The Online Safety and Technology Working Group (OSTWG) suggested that the government “promote nationwide education in digital citizenship and media literacy as the cornerstone of Internet safety.”
Recommendations include creating a web-based clearinghouse of online safety education research, avoiding scare tactics, promoting digital citizenship at all grade levels, establishing industry best practices for effective internet safety education programs, and looking to young people as experts in the online and digital media arenas by involving them in risk-prevention education.