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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A VIP (Very important post) from Alec Corous on DigitalCitizenship



I don't have much time to give thoughts on this post from Alec Couros, however, it is brilliant and a must read for anyone trying to understand what needs to be done in schools to teach digital citizenship skills.

It is NOT, I repeat NOT a post to share with your students because of references to some videos we should not repeat, nevertheless we should know that they are there.

Several of the videos shown are key discussion points for my digital literacy material.

I'm mad!

It is heart breaking and yet it is important. We cannot sit idly by and let the base and offensive go viral while we sit back and say

"tisk tisk, blogs, wikis, podcasts, social networks, they don't belong in school."

When we should be creating good material, we're creating no material.

Students have always needed help making sense of the world and having multiple viewpoints (other than that of their peers) is vital. We've relegated the Internet as n0-teacher space, telling teachers to stay away from myspace and facebook. What is wrong with us?

We have a lot of work to do and many people want to deny that there is anything to do but sit back and drink our coffee in the teacher's lounge and pretend that school is just business as usual.

Well, its not.

We're in a Hinge of History
As the great author Thomas Cahill postulates, there are turning points, very hinges of history upon which the history of the whole of mankind swing.

And if educators continue to stop their ears and say "Nah Nah Nah Nah, I can't hear you," what is to become of us?

To ignore the societal changes is to not only to be deaf, dumb, and mute but truly is educational malpractice.

It is about safety, privacy, literacy, and my goodness, it is about keeping our society a good and civilized place to live. And some of these videos are not just deplorable, but just plain uncivilized behavior that not even a cave man would enjoy watching!

Does it mean youtube is bad? NO!!!!!!

Does it mean online videos are bad? NO!!!!!!

It means that we have work to do.

Where do we start? Each of us in our own classroom, civilizing. Discussing. Helping students make educated, informed, and varied decisions, in the presence of both peer feedback and adult-led feedback.

Add our voice of dissension to the cacophony of people that say "As long as it is popular and gets a lot of views, it is OK." It's not! It's not ok! Who the heck cares if its popular!

And if you choose to sit here and read my blog, comfortable in your warm cozy chair and do nothing to change your world and create digital citizens in your sphere of influence then I'm afraid this big blue sphere is going to become quite an unpleasant place.

For all it takes is for those of us who should care to abdicate our responsibility to the excuse of "I'm about to retire" or "I'm just a newcomer" or "this won't be popular" or the deathknell of many a good educator, "I just don't want to get fired."

There is a big difference in being respectable and being popular.

It is time to pull character education out of the shelf and inject it and ourselves into the world which we have become with our voices and all we have.

I'm angry and working with a few others to plan some work with one of my classes specifically addressing digital citizenship.

Thank you, Alec, I'm fired up and mad!

Mad at myself for not doing more.

Mad at people praising depravity.

And dog gone it, I'm mad at the educators who are so all fired stuck in their own habits that they refuse to open their eyes and see the approaching army.

We've got to protect our students from the world, but you know what in Web 2.0 -- they ARE THE WORLD! If we don't talk about it, they create a peer-created opinionated world with goodness knows what type of mores and opinions about civilized behavior.

OK....I've got to stop blogging now. I'm still mad.

After reading Alec's post, if you're mad, do something about it and start with this.

What will you do to ensure that your students are effective digital citizens?

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