When it comes to learning about the intricate facets of 21st century technology, I was very excited coming into this week’s topic on privacy concerns. One of the main reasons why I was so anxious to learn more about this topic was because I need to know how I can protect my students when implementing Web 2.0 tools into my classroom curriculum. Unfortunately, it is difficult to ignore the heightened awareness surrounding cyberbullying amongst other risks that come with using the Internet. In particular, the use of blogs and social networking sites can draw some attention for concern. I have to agree with Schrum and Levin’s “educative and common-sense approach to the legal, safety, and ethical issues that school leaders and teachers need to consider when using technology and the Internet for teaching and learning” (2009). Teachers need to model and discuss these “common-sense” practices for their students. It would be foolish for teachers not to educate their students about privacy concerns when using technology, when in reality; students are using the Internet far more often outside of the classroom in comparison to its usage inside the classroom. This form of education will allow students to directly connect what they are learning in school with the activities they participate in leisurely outside of school. I think it comes naturally for teachers to actively model appropriate behavior and consistently enforce consequences when it comes to our students. However, it is important not to forget some of our most influential and significant students outside of the classroom: our students’ parents.
Many parents may be extremely weary of the use of technology in their child’s education. They may feel as though the Internet is out there for the entire world to see and there is little monitoring that can be done to protect their son or daughter. Some may find it unnecessary to use such tools as blogs, social networks, and wikis to supplement learning. In their eyes their “old school” education provided them with all the necessary tools and knowledge for success. I feel one of the most effective ways to suppress parent apprehension towards Web 2.0 tools comes at no surprise to many teachers—it begins with education. A parent’s main concern, paralleling a teacher’s number one concern, is protecting the safety of their son or daughter. We cannot blame parents for their worry. However, if we want to be able to explore how big of an impact technology can play in our classroom then we need to educate our parents about how and why we are going to do this. Many parents simply just aren’t aware. It is the teacher’s obligation to educate parents through models of how technology can allow their child’s education to go beyond the classroom walls. We need to present the material in a way that highlight’s the technologies’ ability to guide students to use their critical thinking skills. Most importantly, we need to reassure parents that their child’s privacy is protected through demonstrating the ways in which the classroom teacher can monitor student work. There must be a sense of trust established between the parents and the teacher. I thought this YouTube video titled “No Parent Left Behind” was a great way to introduce parents to 21st century learning and its implications for today’s classroom. A classroom teacher created the video. It even directs parents to view the “Did You Know?” video.
We too, should look into providing parent workshops by reaching out to our school administrators or PTA. These presentations can also shed light on school policies when it comes to inappropriate behavior when using technology. Parents need to see that there would be consequences not only in the classroom but also, within the school at large. Parents can also engage in a social networking site called “Digi Parent” where parents can collaborate with each other on learning about 21st century tools. Participating in this type of social network would also give parents a taste of their son or daughter’s world.