Multi-faceted Refractions

Thoughts and Reflections from Vinnie Vrotny

Multi-faceted Refractions

Changing my Tune – Internet Safety for Students

August 14, 2007 · 5 Comments · teaching and learning

At the beginning of the school year, I schedule time to meet with the students in each of our grades to talk about our acceptable use policy and how students should conduct themselves on campus. I also use this opportunity to talk to the students about Internet Safety while using the various tools at home.

For the past eight or nine years, I have been focusing on the negative messages…

Don’t share your passwords

Don’t give personal information about yourself

Don’t download software

Don’t do this

Don’t do that

Don’t, don’t, don’t

Rather than focusing on the negative aspects this year, I am thinking about acknowledging the fact that our students are active in social networks, from Club Penguin, to Webkinz, to posting movies on YouTube, to using Facebook, to using school sanctioned tools, such as Moodle threaded discussions and wikis in the classroom. We expect our students to use these tools within the classroom and increasingly, we are asking them to use these tools to collaborate with students outside the classroom.

So this year, I am trying to craft a message along the lines of a twitter message that Steve Dembo sent in June, which has prompted me to think:

If people were to Google you, what conclusions would they make?

From observing your on-line communication, what kind of person would they believe you are? What type of thinker are you? What skills do they think that you have?

From looking at your digital self, would people think that you are full of creativity or are you a copy-cat, mimicking the works of others without any new original thought?

What do you do if your work is being misappropriated? What if you discover that there are images of you on other’s sites which are unflattering or potentially damaging?

I know that if others were to Google me, that they would get a once sided view of me as a Director of Technology and that it does not fully reflect the different facets of my life. I highlight several of them in my eight random things. There are some that my closest friends may not know about me.

I am hoping that this gets students understand that everything that they do has a consequence. Some are trivial, but others may be more long term and potentially damaging to their reputations and meeting goals that they have set for themselves. I am trying to develop a message that is sticky, that students will hear and remember, and hopefully take seriously.

I look forward to reading and hearing what others are planning, what their approaches to this all important first meeting are going to be. The messenger needs to deliver a new message or students will tune us out and miss out on our wisdom.

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