Earlier this week, as I was discussing my lawbreaking activities, Dean addressed a similar subject, writing about how all of us, especially in education, are being driven to a life of crime by bad laws.
He’s talking about the personal privacy laws, including those directed at specifically at children, that don’t fit with the current reality of the web.
We live in the cloud and we don’t particularly care where the cloud is located. Many would argue we should care. Many see privacy concerns being ignored by people like me. I don’t think that’s true. This once again is tied closely to helping our students and teachers develop and understand their online identities. I understand the intent of the law is to protect our information and privacy and schools do have an obligation to protect. However the challenge is that these laws completely miss the affordances and opportunities that exist for students as they publish and share online.
Although Dean is commenting on Canadian policies, things are very similar here in the US.
We spend way too much time and energy in the futile pursuit of trying to shield students from exposure on the web and miss many great opportunities to help them learn to establish and maintain their online identities.
Instead of blocking Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and the new school filtering favorite around here Pinterest, teach kids (and more than a few adults) how to read the terms of service and what all those privacy settings mean.
As an alternative to yet another traditional term paper, let’s work on effective ways of crafting media to share ideas with an international audience. Or even start with something as seemingly simple as writing an effective blog comment.
The whole alphabet soup of laws (COPPA, CIPPA, FIPPA*), not to mention our current attitudes, need to be revised. There are better ways to use our instructional and legal efforts than in a losing battle to keep kids and their thoughts (good and bad) behind an increasingly porous wall.
* That last one is Canadian. Ask Dean. :-)