A little more conversation

Digital citizenship. Its a term buzzing around education right now as technology becomes more and more integrated in our schools. Often, the conversation focuses on how students use social media, encouraging them to post or text only safe, appropriate pictures, protecting passwords and not getting lost in their phones.  I agree that all of that is important, but I’ve found when I start to initiate those conversations, students start to glaze over.  They’ve heard it all before.  They nod and agree then go back to trying to sneak a look at their cellphones under the table or send a quick Skype message on their laptop.

Photo Credit: francisco_osorio via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: francisco_osorio via Compfight cc

Maybe there are other sides of the issue that could be make this a more interesting and effective conversation.  A fellow COETAILer recently shared this article bringing up an interesting discussion on internet file sharing and piracy.  I can imagine a classroom divided on the topic and a fierce debate ensuing.  Let’s give the students the reins and let them search for support of their arguments. Maybe they’ll come across something like this

But according to Game of Thrones director, David Petrarca, piracy is not a bad thing and “may do more good than harm” by contributing to the buzz around the series.

Photo Credit: Brian Rinker via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Brian Rinker via Compfight cc

Now we’ve got a conversation going. Has the idea of usage and legality changed over the years?  How does piracy affect the media industry?  Is it ok to illegally download a movie or show?  Are ethics and moral standards constantly shifting throughout time?

As students search through the data, the websites, the opinions, the laws, they are learning, discussing, critically analyzing sources and becoming stronger digital citizens.  This is something they know and is real to them.  Especially in a place like Ghana where a majority of popular media sites are considered “out of market” and unavailable for viewing.

We all know that students are much more likely to become engaged if they are interested in a topic or it has some sort of personal application to them.  So let’s stop preaching to them about how to use the internet and let them tell us what’s right and wrong.  But they should do it with research and reasoning, not just because they want to watch some good TV.  Then maybe the conversation can continue into those basic ideas we mentioned above.  In fact, it probably will organically.


Hopefully at some point it will even come around to figuring out how to get rid of this.

flickr photo by nordique http://flickr.com/photos/nordique/9732206672 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license
flickr photo by nordique http://flickr.com/photos/nordique/9732206672 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license




7 Replies to “A little more conversation”

  1. It’s a generational thing, my father and brother both work in film industry. My Dad remembers pre-digital error less low-balling of deals, more honesty. A lot more cut-throat and not necessarily in quality. That being said, the industry doesn’t do itself many favours, I get frustrated when I want to pay for content but can’t because it’s geoblocked.


    1. Yes. Unbelievably frustrating to see all the content available on my AppleTV that I can’t access. I’m very curious to see how the HBONow plays out. If I read correctly it gives access without cable subscription. Could be a game changer.

  2. To be fair we often discuss the pupils use of materials and not the teachers use. I am often searching around to see what I can find and (although I never claim it to be mine) it is often hard to give correct credit as we are building on work found from multiple places, who have in tern found it somewhere else. I wonder have you completed the lesson you were discussing in this piece? If have have how did it go? I have given both the boring glaze over lesson – though we searched for class members on the board and looked at the GPS search other phone options (pupils full details and locations popping up on the board)…this made for an interesting privacy lesson as they were truly shocked. Who knows if it changed anything, but I guess we can but try. The copyright stuff I find a lot harder. I want them to play with material already out there, and build on it as I do. However, I also want to prepare them for the reality of working in a world were copyright is a law and one you don’t want to break. My film club created a film and used famous music. They had it on Facebook (before I caught it) and wee told to remove it and any further copyright issues would see their account frozen – copyright infringement is real and we need to both prepare pupils for its existence, however with so many loop holes we also need to have some fun with it!

    1. I wish I could say that I had taught this lesson. Quite honestly, i made it up as I went along with the reading. I hope to work it in somewhere down the road though.

      I like the idea of the GPS search other phone idea. I’m still figuring some of that out myself. So many ways we can have lessons where we learn along with the kids. Especially with the ever evolving technology.

  3. Hey I am thinking about doing the 2nd option for the final project – teaching the “stuff” you have mentioned above. Do you fancy working on it together?

  4. Ahh.. I’d love too, but I’ve already started working on a redoing our RUA project with Matt. If you end up teaching this, let me know how it goes though.

  5. Great post! I agree about the power of conversations about digital citizenship as opposed to lessons and lectures. We too often resort to fear mongering and patronizing students about ethics. Why not have a conversation? In the pas, I have used a simple statistic as a conversation starter. But I like how you take it a little further than I do by posing a question and making it a debate. In my experience, students love to debate, so why not use it as a way to structure conversations about safety and citizenship? Thanks again!

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