Teaching Responsibility

This follows from my previous post about schools needing to start teaching digital literacy/online responsibility, but now my thoughts are supported by others in the education community.

In their commentary, “Moving From ‘Acceptable’ to ‘Responsible’ Use in a Web 2.0 World” posted on Education Week, Jim Bosco & Keith Krueger encourage schools to move from the common “Acceptable Use” policies to a “Responsible Use” concept.

This concept would have districts rethinking how they incorporate and utilize these new technologies to “expand and enrich learning for our students.” They concur that there are many concerns, and that yes, students need to be kept safe online.  Yet, by refusing to allow students to work online in school, students are not afforded the incredible opportunity to learn to be responsible and critical thinkers of a tool that they use constantly outside of school, and will be using long after their formal learning is over. We owe it to our children to have school — the place we accept as where they learn and grow to become productive adults – also be a place that can help them learn to responsibly navigate the online world.

Banning mobiles etc., certainly is one way to keep kids safe. But truly, is that wise? Kids use them outside of school, and will use them once they are out of school. We are truly missing out on an incredible opportunity — not only to take full advantage of all the great things these digital tools offer, but to teach our kids how to avoid dangerous situations online and how to use critical thinking skills to determine what informaiton is accurate and what is not.

The authors refer districts to CoSN’s guide to Acceptable Use Policies – it is worth reading.

I close with the words of the authors that perfectly summarize this concept:

The great educational philosopher John Dewey gave us important advice: “If we teach today’s students as we did yesterday’s, we are robbing them of tomorrow.” Responsible use of the Internet is a critical aspect in the lives of our students today, as well as a vital ingredient in how they will live their lives after their formal schooling is done. The best we can do for students is to empower them to function responsibly in a world where they will have many choices.

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