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Main Takeaways from CyberCitizenship

Picture from Hotel RoomI’ve not been looking forward to this weekend as much as I guess I should.  Yesterday, I was at the Cybercitizenship  Summit at Yahoo, in Sunnyvale, and on Tuesday, I’ll be in San Diego.  So rather than spend more than half a day on planes and in airports flying home, I’m just camped out in a mid-range 92 year old hotel in San Francisco.

It’s a nice small room with a descent work desk, and a view of what is probably a similarly aged apartment building across the street.  I’d rather be home, or have Brenda here with me, but I’ll make due — probably take some walks and work on some ideas that have been bouncing around in my head with Class Blogmeister.

Yesterday was good.  It was very good, although the theme was much more about cyber safety than information ethics.  I think that my very enthusiastically and perhaps even over the edge presentation promoting a more participatory web, the need for more aggressive education reform, and the outside-the-classroom information experiences of our children was probably a good way to start a conference, that was very much about the dangers that lurk on the Internet.

I’ll probably write more about it later, but the bottom line ideas that I took away were:

  • The danger is real, though many of the statistics that are shared are misleading.
  • There are some very compelling and well produced products out there.
  • Filtering technology needs to become more sophisticated.
  • Managing the filters should be a group endeavor by techs and classroom teachers.
  • More parent training.
  • More teacher training.
  • A whole lot more training on dealing with cyberbullying and legal liability.

The yearning I left with was for the day when, as communities are and should be concerned about the safety issues of the Internet, they are equally concerned that their children are still attending 19th century classrooms.

2¢ Worth

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  • k2theiely

    Thanks for the great keynote David. I am a big Music Man fan – thanks for sharing. I am a high school librarian and amazed that more teachers aren’t listening. Desks are still in rows, units continue to be reused (without upgrades), and teachers are talking to much. My professor at SJSU, David Loertscher, says that we are “boring students to death,” and I agree.

    Looks like you are in downtown SF. If you can make it over to the Mission, try Delfina for a great meal and Dotties is the best breakfast in the city.

  • http://edtechvalley.blogspot.com Kyle Brumbaugh

    Filtering is adults saying, “We know better than you do, and we are here to protect you.” Their motives are noble and true, yet we get ourselves into a situation where we create students (children) who do not have the skills to leave the nest. At what point do we say that students need to be able to navigate these waters by themselves? We allow children to drive in most states at 16 and we allow students to vote and be drafted into military service at 18, yet for both of those groups, where they receive their education to become productive citizens, we have a filtered Internet. It seems incongruent to me… but there are still those that persist that ‘we must save them from themselves.’

    This is one the discussions I have really wanted to have over the past 18 months, but no one else has joined in. I don’t know if I haven’t loud enough, there isn’t enough interest, or that we are afraid of opening ‘Pandora’s Box’ and not being able to close it again.

    The comment previous to this one is from one of our district librarians, who has really stepped forward in working with students toward the ‘Larger Definition of Literacy.’

    Enjoy your time in our little piece of the world…. If you are leaving from SFO, try looking back toward the coast about a mile…. You’ll see Capuchino High!

  • http://rhslibrary.org Thomas T Kaun

    Sorry I couldn’t make it down the road to Sunnyvale but in response to the previous commentator I do think that the solution has to be political rather than educational. The laws governing filtering come from the feds and generally are seen as protecting children. Unfortunately, we still haven’t figured out how to make filtering really work–and never will, IMHO. I’m at a high school in Marin County (CA) and my students, teachers, and I often run into sites which are filtered for no good reason. I can pretty easily get my district tech director to unblock sites but by then, given the nature of Web use, it’s too late.
    On the topic of boring students–I find it so refreshing to see kids really “get into something,” which does happen from time to time in my library!

    • http://2cents.davidwarlick.com Dave

      One of the small groups that I was with during one of the work sessions concluded that teachers should have the ability to open up sites on an as needed basis…

  • Pingback: education » Main Takeaways from CyberCitizenship

  • http://www.greenfield.k12.ca.us Donny Buckman

    In the interest of providing a little information from the chair of someone who manages the web filter for a school district please allow me to explain my tactics with respect to content filtering. The way I go about it is with the mindset that any student or teacher should be able to type any of the words from any of the California state standards into any search engine, and when the results are returned they should be able to follow every link presented without being filtered.

    When I go through the process of adding a new Universal Resource Locator (URL) to the filter database I actually personally evaluate the site to see which of the state standards can be illustrated or in any way taught by the content of the site. If I find that none can it is immediately blocked. This is the reason for blocking MySpace, Facebook, and other social networking sites. There is no educationally redeemable value to the sites that I include in the web filter in my opinion. I would be happy to remove a site from the filter after learning that I was in error, but it has never happened, not in 4 years of managing the filter single-handed.

  • Sharon Hayes


    I attended your fall conference in Burlington and am intrigued about your suggestions about how to handle the “filter discussion” in our school districts. I am disheartened to tell you that the above definition — “Filtering is adults saying, “We know better than you do, and we are here to protect you” — applies not only to children in our Vermont district, but also to anyone — teaching principals, school library media specialists, teachers, IAs — who is not the District Tech Guru.

    As a school library media specialist, who is well on her way to getting a master’s in IT, I wholeheartedly agree with the idea that we must teach our students how to find and evaluate information — by modeling how we do this and allowing students to practice so they can fulfill this task independently! When I create pathfinders for teachers and students, I make sure I explain which sites I included and why. It troubles me that sites like YouTube are blocked, when many educational videos exist at this site. I have heard about ScreenDoor, a filter that allows teachers to unblock sites they deem educational. Does the ScreenDoor product meet federal criteria for filters and could you please suggest other filters that allow flexibility while meeting the feds’ standards?

    I just listened to an interview with Joyce Valenza on Alan November’s site. I highly recommend it. Joyce speaks of the importance of flexibility and evaluation in 21st century learning. Indeed! I do hope you realize that many gray-haired SLMS (used to be librarians) are leading the charge for technology learning in our schools. And, yes, we need to be outspoken … champions of movements are rarely meek.

    Anyway, I appreciate your opinions and guidance on the great filter debate. Thank you!

Photo taken by Ewan McIntosh in a Taxi in Shanghai

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