For the last several weeks I have been leading an online workshop through the ICE (Illinois Computing Educators) Summer Series, titled "Your Guide to Becoming a Digital Educator." We are reading and reflecting on the many facets of "teaching digital" -- from learning about digital natives, digital immigrants, and the importance of 21st century literacy, to exploring Web 2.0 tools such as blogs and wikis.
I am impressed with the conversations taking place. Some concerns have been brought up regarding Internet safety:
Teacher "S" writes: My K-6 students don't take it seriously at all, and we even had a police officer come in to talk with them about Internet predators. At my school we had some particular issues with student MySpace accounts, and it turns out that one is supposed to be at least 14 to even open an account. My oldest students are 12 and many of them already have accounts. I don't know how to get them to take safety seriously.
Teacher "L" (High School AP teacher) responds: My students think they know what a "weirdo" looks like on line...they don't think that a 32 yr. old could be posing as a student at a local high school! The kids at my school say that nobody really uses My Space anymore and that Facebook is more popular. When our Principal sent a letter warning parents about the dangers of myspace the kids mocked it in the school newspaper.
Are these concerns widespread? What about resources such as CyberSmart, iSafe or NetSmartz? Are parents and schools on the same page? If not, why not?