Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Learning and Media

One of the most interesting things about our Tagline, Our Reality (created by Marcia Howell) is that it is universal in it's being. In other words, Our Reality really refers to the concept of learning and sharing in the reality of our youth. Looking to have them explain to us, adults, how life looks from their view or angle.  What's more, it asks Youth to consider what is reality and who defines reality.
But what is most important about this is the need for teachers to include this "reality" in the classroom learning space. At moments, we must consider how much learning goes on outside of our classroom walls. Learning that is not included in the classroom because it does not fit into the curriculum or will not be tested on. 
More specifically, I will refer to Bud the Teacher's Blog and his most recent posting about a student who blogs and twitters about her college course at NYU. One of the most intereting aspects of this article is that Bud raises some excellent points about where to draw the line. What is the new ettiquette for global communication and sharing one's opinions and of course, free speech. 
One can definitely understand elements of both side of the argument here. Invasions of privacy, teacher-student relationship and the need to process learning and environment using tools we are most comfortable with, i.e. blogs, twitter etc.
What I continually come back to however, is the need to re-adjust our understanding of ettiquette in the digital media world.  In fact, before posting this, I felt the need to look up the ettiquette on referring to someone else's post, or referencing someone else's post. Thanks to CafeMama's article on Ettiquette, I discovered one way how to properly do this. 
Now thinking internally about this for a minute, really what I have done is asked myself, personally, to consider what is the right thing to do, what is fair and just. This really gets down to the essence of character traits. And it is here that I will once again argue for the need to strongly build character education in our youth so that our  new social norms are constructed from positive character and leadership trait skills. From this we can derive ettituette in the new digital era. 
So the questions that Bud the Teacher raises below, are more than worth spending time to think about:
  • In a world where the tools and the access are no longer (and
    probably never really were) within the control of “us,” the educators,
    what limits do we set on their use at school that actually begin to
    balance students’ rights to communicate and reflect and process with
    the  legitimate educational and institutional need to control some of
    what is and isn’t “public” information?
  • How do we balance minors’ needs with the fact that we work for public institutions and should be open to public oversight?
  • How does transparency mesh with some of the more delicate issues in the classroom?
  • Where do students’ rights to talk about their experiences begin to conflict with other students’ right to privacy?
  • Are public school classrooms fundamentally public spaces or private ones?  (Or that funky hybrid in-between?)

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