The saga of Great Debate continues, this week under the contentious topic “Openness and sharing in schools is unfair to kids”. The great debate in which Amy R, Dani, and Joe argued for the agree with stance and Kari, Esther and Shelly argued the disagree stance. Although by the Initially results one would think it was a one-sided debate, that was definitely not the case. Going into this debate I was already leaning towards disagreeing because of my previous experiences but both sides argued their positions well and gave much upon to reflect this week as I was examining through the recommended readings from both teams.
One of the key reasons why we think that openness and sharing in schools are unfair to children is the question of privacy and having so much information about children online. As the article Dangers of Posting Pictures Online and Rethink Sharing Back to School Photos also narrates the fear about the potential risks of exposure to a world of danger. Online activity leaves a mark, a digital footprint; irrespective whether it is good or bad, everything which we share online can always be traced and it is permanent. These activities can have a significant impact on the one’s future and will either nourish or tarnish their future. The greater the proportion of our identity we give online the more data there is circulating about our behavior. As argued by the agree side there are many potential risks but having said that we cannot sideline the benefits of openness and sharing work online.
Now that being said, there is always concern about Openness and sharing, is not this the reason why we teach digital citizenship and the importance of digital footprints in schools? Is not this the reason why we use social media, various digital tools in education, to educate our children the appropriate use of internet and shape a proper online behavior? Agree with it or not I believe that a good digital presence and a positive digital footprint is very important and essential for the future of our students. As teachers, it is our responsibility that we help them to construct one and that can
only happen if we start from a young age. I comprehend the potential risks of over-sharing or a misuse of social media and open sharing sites but that must not stop us promoting the responsible ways of using the technology and this must become a learning opportunity for our students. The fact is that we live in a world of exchange and technology. We must ensure our students face this world with the right skills, be prepared and well adapted for the future. The digital literacy and citizenship skills are so essential for future development of our students and I believe most of us agree to this fact.
Openness and sharing are very important and essential for the growth of today’s digital citizen. sharing the work of our students gives them good motivation to improve their work. Seeing their work published online can inspire a sense of self-esteem and confidence in students, it helps them develop their self-esteem because they have the opportunity to be recognized for their hard work and commitment. Students will be encouraged by the fact that their work is online for everyone to see, which can give them the confidence boost they need to give the best of themselves.
Sharing the student’s work online also works for the benefit of other students by offering a valuable experience. If students can see a good example, they are more likely to improve their skills and knowledge base. In addition, students can better understand how to perform a well-qualified task and what mistakes to avoid seeing the work of others and use this knowledge for their future projects. I totally agree when Esther states in her blog post that, as parents and teachers, we are responsible for shaping a positive digital footprint for younger generations. Today’s children are online and are already publishing, so it is our responsibility to set forth a proper guideline and pave the road for them, in order to protect them we need to educate them ways to promote their positive digital identity. The article Building and Keeping a Positive Digital Identity shared by the disagree team is excellent resources and guidelines for Educators, Students, and Parents to build a positive digital identity.
Finally, Technology, sharing, digital tools, and social media have become an integral part of our youth and schools should not be an exception. This medium offers an ocean of resources for students in learning and interactivity, there is no doubt that student benefit using them but as an educator, I feel that it is our duty to tailor our students in becoming positive and efficient digital citizens. It is often claimed that openness and sharing and using various digital tools is a distraction and potential risk but when it is carefully used it can be a useful tool and a medium rather than distraction or a disaster and that is where we educators come in, if we are properly equipped with the right knowledge of the technology which we are using and promoting in our classrooms and exploiting the concept up to the fullest that is when we can deliver it to our students and make them a positive contributors and excel in this digital world.