Freedom to Create in a Safe Environment – Week 5 Reading Response

Freedom to Create

For our reading this week we tackled the issue that educators are facing with technology.  It is not enough to just incorporate technology into the classroom.  Jenkins (2008) mentioned that just because a student does a book report in the form of a movie does not mean that we are learning with technology.  We have to find ways to incorporate technology in meaningful ways.  We also have to find a way to deal with the “fear” of technology as a distraction and teach our students “how” to learn using technology as well as how to be responsible and safe while doing so.

Here is a list of our readings:

Some recommended narratives:

There was one main issue that captured my attention during our reading and I chose to further explore it.

  • Teaching Internet Safety

Teaching Internet Safety

Teaching internet safety has to become part of our curriculum early on.  In most of my classes at UCD, this has been an issue that we have discussed and have continued to find ways to tackle.  I believe we need to start teaching this as early as kindergarten.  I work in a Title I school with 80% of our students on free and reduced lunch.  But, only three of the schools in our district are Title I schools, so we get a lot of support from our community through grants and sponsorships.  Our kindergarten students have 1:1 iPad and grades 1-5 have Chromebooks or the good old Triple Es (which we are trying to phase out).  What I am trying to say is we have access to the internet while at school despite the socioeconomic status of many of the students.  How do we teach our students to be safe without sounding like a broken record or Charlie Brown’s teacher?  An article I read by Robert Lucas, How to Keep Students Safe Online explored some myths about internet safety and some solutions.

First of all, internet safety is not locking down websites, Internet control, or the “criminalization of Facebook and Twitter”.  Instead, safety is taught through knowledge.  Lucas explores 5 ways that teachers can promote internet safety:  Parental involvement, give the students resources to teach them about internet safety via youtube and Google Family Safety, create scenarios, use private online communities, practice what you preach and have the students create a pledge.

I love the idea of creating scenarios for your students.  Just telling them about internet safety sounds mundane but if you give them actual scenarios, that knowledge would stick.  You could even take 3-5 minutes a day or week and give the students a scenario to work through and create solutions together.  If they have worked through this in class, when they are faced with difficult decisions on the internet they will be more likely to come up with healthy solutions.

The internet offers a world of knowledge and DIY communities.  I don’t want this knowledge to be limited because we “fear” what might happen.  Let’s give our children knowledge about “safe” use of the internet so they can grow and create!



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