EDTECH 541: Will the Wall Come Down?

The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA, 1999 (106th Congress (Senate), 1999)) is a federal law enacted by Congress to address concerns about access to offensive content over the Internet on school and library computers. Unfortunatelty, Web 2.0 venues demand something that private and public sectors alike share; walled gardens. The Children’s Internet Protection Act mandates public schools have in place a filter to prevent predators from accessing impressionable children, or from children accessing the wealth of pornography and other harmful content.  According to the Pew Internet and American Life project,  learners are connected while not in school, with more than 80% of participants reporting they sleep with a cellphone by the bed. Today’s typical teen sends approximatelly 1500 text messages monthly. Mobile devices are closing the gap in the digital divide by giving less priviledged members of society access to the Internet. The rising popularity of social networking sites emphasizes that today’s students are social learners (Bull, 2010, pg 28-29).

Rather than pushing against the tide, schools can embrace the benefits of social networking technology in a safe and controlled environment designed specifically for the unique needs of K-12 education. These tools help support diversity and the development of communities through safe user friendly platforms that encourage dialogue and the sharing of perspectives, ideas and events.  Such environments can be found with educational vendors such as Gaggle.net. (2011)

A brief skim or an in-depth review of any day’s current events quickly reminds us of the myriad ways we share our home planet with others who–despite our differences in culture, ethnicity, and demographics–are likely to share foundational values of stewardship, spirituality, democracy, diversity, and language. Niel Postman (1995) identifies those values as “the five inclusive human narratives” (pg 144). 

Great and simple minds struggle to answer the ethical dilemmas which confront us at every angle, giving rise to questions such as those that Walter Parker, Akira Ninomya, and John Cogan (1999) framed in regard to societal equity and fairness; balancing privacy with open access to information; meeting human needs in the face of a fragile environment; coping with issues relating to the growing population, genetic engineering, and poverty; keeping local values while developing shared global values; and making ethics-based decisions on the issues?

In their Learning and Leading with Technolgoy article “Save the World with Web 2.0” Lauren Cifuentes, Zahira Merchant, and Omer Faruk Vural (November, 2010) maintain that human narratives merge well with the ethical questions to form an “activity framework for preparing students for global citizenship (pg 34).” Sample activities include having learners research the importance and impact of an issue prior to promoting their cause on social networks, blogs, wikis, global networking, and other Web 2.0 venues to raise awareness and save the world.(Lauren Cifuentes, 2010). When browsing for content enrichment, teachers find similar activities, but are stifled by policies and procedures that prohibit most Web 2.0 applcations.  When will the wall come down?

 

RESOURCES:

106th Congress (Senate). (1999, January 19). S.97.AS. Retrieved June 28, 2011, from Library of Congress: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c106:S.97.IS:

Bull, G. (2010). The Always-Connected Generation. (K. Conley, Ed.) Learning & Leading with Technology , 38 (3), 28-29.

Lauren Cifuentes, Z. M. (2010). Save the World with Web 2.0. Learning & Leading with Technology , 34-35.

Social Learning. (2011). Retrieved June 28, 2011, from Gaggle.net: https://gaggle.net/home/gaggle-apps/social-learning/#features

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