Friday, November 22, 2013

Ensuring Safe Internet Use

As I reflect on the reading from Rachel A. Karchmer the first key idea which comes to mind is how the  meaning and details of internet safety has changed since the writing of the article.  The study mentions " a third method of protecting students from inappropriate material was to completely prohibit online searches. The district that Cindy, the sixth grade teacher, worked for chose to do this.  Whenever Cindy wanted her students to use information on the internet for research, she would have to conduct searches herself on the specified topics and bookmark the sites for her students to view during class.  This controlled the students' Internet use and also put the burden of conducting student research on the teacher."  I would maintain that Cindy's approach did not allow the students to learn critical skills such as how to conduct searches or determine the validity of a site.  I am curious to learn more about current trends in acceptable use policies in districts.  I wonder how often they are revised in response to changes in "New Literacies" and "new literacies".

The topic of safe internet use came up this week in my unit lesson on Google + communities for teachers.  We discovered that our students did not have access to Google +.  Our discussion motivated me try to clarify our districts policy on access to various sites.  After three hours of phone calls and emails I learned that we are currently in the process of revising our Acceptable Use Policy.  There are also some "negotiations" or conversations with Google about the long term usage of Google products and the costs to the district.  All of the information learned is helpful in preparing teachers to utilize the internet in compliance with the law and district policy.

Karchmer, R.A. (2001). The Journey Ahead: Thirteen Teachers Report How the Internet Influences Literacy and Literacy Instruction in Their K-12 Classrooms. Reading Research Quarterly, 36, 442-467.

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