Monday, March 27, 2006

SITE 2006 - Final Post

Well, it usually is the case that the last day of the conference can be a real hit or miss proposition, and usually there are a greater number of misses because everyone - including the person determining hit and miss - are so tired at the end of it all that they are starting to slip. I've been there, so I really feel for those folks. Most of the sessions that I went to were rather soft, but the one that was really interesting was one on cyber ethics. Patty Yamano talked about the responsible use of technology and how that it is not merely enough to rely on AUP forms (eg)to tell students how to act online. She noted that the teachers who are best able to integrate technology into their classes are the ones that have the best idea as to how to get the point of ethics across to their students, but this leaves a massive gap as there are many teachers who don't have this skill. Patty likened this to driving without any training - possible but not something that you would want to do. My take on the situation is that the problem is that many teachers assume that technology will take care of itself outside the classroom, but by that measure, everything that is taught in school takes place outside as well - so what is the point of the entire exercise? It is not enough to tell students that the way that the act toward people and property in the real world is how they should act online, because the two worlds are not always parallel. Online, nobody knows that you are a dog, so kids may be interacting with monsters (both literally and figuratively) by following rules that may have kept them safe online. As kids grow older, there is also the issue of how the media deals with cyber ethics. Patty pointed out that for the most part hacking is seen as some virtuous thing that the "good guys" are able to do to help defeat the "bad guys". But we know that is not always true and even for the movies it is not the case, but hacking is certainly given a privileged position on the screen. We need to be sure that children know that actions that gain access to secured files are just as wrong as any other breaking and entering. Sounds self evident, but it may not be for many who as teachers don't understand what is really happening. Technorati Tags: