Our debate topic for this session was focused on openness and sharing in schools. The two teams were Altan and Melinda (FOR) and Sherrie and Dean (AGAINST)
Altan and Melinda prepared a compelling argument:
Three key themes they focused on included:
Privacy: language barriers, social media, input from children and "sharenting"
Openness: digital etiquette, digital rights, digital literacy, digital divide
Cellphones: digital communication
Sherrie and Dean focused on (in my opinion) a more realistic approach to this argument. I think Sherrie could be approached by the CBC to replace Rick Mercer for her "rant" - prairie style. Simply put, the Sharing with Sherrie segment was outstanding. She was realistic and pragmatic with her "rant" and it really resonated with me.
It was valuable to hear the insights from Dr. Varena Roberts and the positive examples she shared of age appropriate social media use by school including some Kindergarten age ones. I have heard other students share other examples of positive use of social media from the different grades they teach too. I am left with the perception that it is feasible to do, and with careful and thoughtful approach it isn't unfair for social media to be used in the classroom/schools. Dean & Sherrie provided an extended video interview with Dr. Roberts that was incredibly insightful. I think she was spot on with her question of
"WHO are we sharing our online presence to, who are we opening our minds to?"
They discussed practical examples of how teachers can implement openness and social media in the classroom. It isn't something that can be implemented with a flick of a switch, it is something that can be nurtured and developed.
There is no question that we need to evolve our thinking to be realistic with how society uses technology and not try to isolate how some schools isolate this issue. I value the opportunity for our kids to learn from other perspectives and to access global resources to enhance their learning. Growing up, I was fortunate to be able to travel extensively and see people from other cultures, beliefs, backgrounds, races and religions first hand. This provided me the opportunity to gain a broader perspective on life and appreciate that the world is much broader than my own community. Today, and especially during this pandemic, international travel is not an option. But it is critical for us to hear and explore world events and to be aware of what is happening. We need to embrace how we can make a positive contribution to the digital space and not be overly concerned about controlling what our kids see/experience.
Our conversation during class, and several of the articles that were shared as the annotated readings focused on the parents responsibility for not oversharing or "sharenting" too much of their childrens lives online. Is there a real or perceived issue of children's privacy being violated? Initially, when I signed up for Facebook in 2008 I found it to be a wonderful way to connect with my family and friends and share the growth and development of my son who was 3 years old at the time. My mother lived in Mexico for 6 months of the year and my two older brothers don't live in Calgary. Facebook acted as a connection for us and continues to do so today. Now my son is 15, and like many other teens he now has his own online presence. He doesn't often like me to post photos anymore, and now I ask his permission.
I am hopeful for the future implementation of intentional openess and social media in the classroom based on the rich discussion our class had during this debate.