Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Privacy - Students Perspective

I have been following Alec Couros since I began working in the social media side of teaching.  His work always hits home for me and helps me understand things I find hazy. Alec has been in an ongoing conversation that began with a very unpleasant experience, the Flickr Perversion post.

In Alec's post, in particular, the argument between Alec and Dirk, some great points have been raised.  Although I am openly biased here, I agree with anAdd Imaged act the same as Alec. In short, I believe that it is our duty as "educational leaders" and parents to understand the openess of the internet, and do our best to control/influence our digital footprints and those of our children and possibly even students.  I, too, and discreet about what I post, but I do put my children and students on the internet.

This brings me to my conversation today.  I shared Alec's comment stream with my grade 10 class and had them discuss it in a respectful and safe manner, using our microblogging platform, Edmodo.  A number of students had great points and insights. The class was pretty evenly split between those you agree with Dirk, those who agree with Alec and those who see both sides.  A few comments stood out and I thought I would share.

Morgan - There are risks you take with putting things on the internet. Alec and Dirk both had fair points and in my mind both were right. We all take risks putting stuff on and are aware that there are people who are sick minded. You don't have to be on the internet to have a person who is not in the right state of mind do somthing that is absolutley disgusting. The fact that Dirk questioned Alec's parenting is stupid, Alec knew all the risks and still did it. Who cares if Dirk didn't agree with this. Everyone has a picture in a bathing suit and the thought that there are people in our society that have to take pictures of innocent people is absurd. Now a days everyone has pictures and I gurantee there are pictures of Dirk that he may not want on there in the future. We all take risks and it is innevitable eventually our lives will be on the internet.

Courtney - I believe that you should put your information online so that you what you have online. I side with Alec's belief. You should put your information online because it is better than fake information where people will discover what is real anyways. At swimming pools, people are in their bathing suits so if there is a picture online, it isn't that much different.

Kimberley - I agree with both sides of this arguement. I agree with Dirk when he stated that there is no reason for Alec to be surprised that someone has favorited a picture of his daughter. The fact of the matter is that there are sick people out there and you are taking that risk if you choose to put pictures of your family on the internet. I only agree with Alec in the sense that he is a father and has pride in his family. It was not smart of him, however, to think that he could put a picture of his daughter out there and then get upset over someone favoriting it. Sure, it is not morally right for a person to only favoite pre-teen pictures of girls but he made the decision to make the photo public. If he did not want this to happen, he should have thought twice before posting it.

Morgan replies to a previous message - Tyler getting your pictures on the internet can be done without you even putting them on. People can take pictures where ever they want. The man who favourited these picture's probably has taken pictures of innocent girls without any consent.

After our conversation, I showed the students a number of the links from above.  I showed them many of the pictures and videos I have put online. Many of these photos are of my family, children the same age as Alec's, and the very students involved in this discussion. Unfortunately, our conversation was cut short with the end of class.

I did hear a number of students discussing this topics a few hours later in the lunchroom. Their discussion, although based on the Flickr Perversion blog post, had turned to their feelings about their own pictures posted online.  

I look forward to our conversation tomorrow when I ask them to analyze their own digital footprints, including the photos and other information that is put online by others, like their teachers.

Stay tuned! 


sguilana said...

Great idea!
It seems to be that these are the kind of activities that educators have to deal with in class if we want to prepare our students for the challenges and opportunities of internet...
I am sure the students will all be engaged to think critically about their digital identity and the footprints they are leaving.
Congrats, good job! I will try it too with my students of English as a second language!

Ryan Nickell said...

You know why I love your blog? Because you don't separate teaching from students. You demonstrate that learning is universal - that topics that generate discussion among teachers can also generate discussion among students. Thanks for sharing this. And tell your students very impressive. They demonstrate analytical skills beyond their years.

Eldon said...

sguilana - I couldn't agree more. I believe that high school students are beyond what many are teaching. I could try to preach my theory to them, but I choose to let them choose and try to give them as much information as possible.

Ryan - Thanks. I believe learning is universal, especially in high school. Many issues I face as a young parent, teacher, community member and coach are the same or closely related to the issues of my students.

I will let my students know your compliment. Thank you.