The advancement of the internet has made it extremely purposeful to discuss different methods and procedures so that are students can be safe when using technology in schools. Years ago, people were mostly concerned with certain security features of the internet such as publishing the name or names of individuals, typing and saving the street address of a person using a website, or paying for an item using a credit card. In addition, there was and still is the ongoing battle with adults blocking pornographic material from younger students on the internet. While there are state and federal laws that regulate these types of risks, a multitude of other dangers and security features still exist on the internet.
It is important to note that the number of people and the number of hours spent on the internet per day, compared to the amount of hours that people are abused via the internet is small. Most people use the internet at home, work, or school, everyday, and never encounter any type of security breach or abuse.
Through federal and state regulation, schools must follow the Child Internet Protection Act, which has schools do three different things: filter content that students access via the internet, monitor the activities of students when they access the internet, and have certain policies that students must follow when accessing the internet.
In addition to the topics discussed above, more and more users are using Web 2.0 tools to publish their own information on the internet. There are two different methods in which schools can block hazardous type of information from reaching their students. First, they can block all major websites that students use to find published material by random users of the internet. An example of a major website would be blogger.com. The second thing users can do, and the choice, I and many other soon to be educators and current educators agree to use, is to teach students how to navigate the web safely.
As students age and mature, less focus has to be placed on internet security and more on internet privacy. For example, as a third grade teacher I may want to monitor the websites and searched students may go onto the internet to view. In contrast, if I am teaching eleventh graders how to blog and connect with other students internationally, I may be more concerned with protecting that students privacy and personal information.
In addition, it is vitally important to decide as an educator which topics are internet appropriate and which ones are not. For example, discussing puberty with fifth graders may be more appropriate with a textbook, while explaining the usefulness of blogging may only be accurately taught using the internet. In addition to deciding which topic is best taught online, it is sometimes important for the teacher to have groundwork prepared for the lesson. It might not be the best idea for a teacher to state, “Go online and find some information on Ancient Egypt”. While the topic is clearly defined, it more or less gives students a free pass to go on any website until they get caught by the teacher. A better direction may be, “Students go onto our class homepage and click the link I have posted to the educational website on Ancient Egypt”. More specific, more topic relevant directions will help students stay on task when completing assignments.
With a well-versed educator, students can use the internet as a great tool for information and learning in the classroom.
KidsHealth, from The Nemours Foundation. "Internet Safety." 2010.
Richardson, Will. "The Read/Write Web." Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms.Corwin, 2009. 71-83.