Kim’s Blog

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In Response to February 11th Class

The subject of our class on February 10, 2009 was Popular Issues in (Digital) Media Literacy.  Near the beginning of the class we started to discuss the difference between literacy and skills but I don’t think we solidified a difference between the two for students in a classroom or students in our communities for that matter.  In my mind, I see literacy as the ability to communicate through reading, writing, speaking and listening.  I see skills as the ability to apply literacy.  As the world of technology grows which in essence makes the world smaller, it is vital to prepare our students with skills in order to communicate effectively and thereby become literate citizens by applying skills effectively.

During the class we also explored viral videos.  One such video we viewed was David After the Dentist.  My first impression was to laugh, because it was funny.  But then I began to think of the ramifications of this video.  Who knows what reasons the parents decided to video tape their child after the dentist or play it on the internet.  After the class my feelings about the video have altered.  I don’t know what rights parents, teachers or adults have to place pictures or videos of children on the internet.  I am not comfortable, as I have already stated in previous entries, to place pictures or videos of my own children nor my students online.  Our school division has parent consent forms for using pictures of students but the permission forms are very difficult to read and understand all the while being quite vague.  Back to David… how many times have we as teens and adults laughed at someone in a stupor.  It can be very funny but it can also be very serious.  This poor boy was under an influence (with good reason) but is this something that the world needs to see?  Other kids may see this video, think it’s funny, and find ways to mimic the video for the entertainment of their friends while seriously damaging their brains and bodies.  Maybe this video just goes to taste and personally, I find the video in bad taste.

I don’t think the David video is necessarily offensive, but there are of course sites that are offensive to some and not others.  As a basic right, people who find things offensive can stay away from those things which may be offensive and it seems to me that staying away from offensive material on the internet is easy.  However, schools are places which contain as many opinions as there are students.  Often in an effort to hide the offensive, many sites are blocked and inaccessible to students.  Teachers are often scared into staying away from a variety of sites.  I have heard a number of times “I would never use YouTube”.  Instead of becoming educated on how to use technology and teach students to become critical thinkers, we are now banning content on the internet as many libraries ban books for content.  It is just as important to teach kids to think about what they read and assess the content for truth.  We need to teach kids to search for supporting arguments to support what they learn.  We also need to teach kids about responsibility.  Sure, it’s easy to write nasty things about another person when they aren’t there to look in the eye or defend themselves but that doesn’t mean that it’s right – this is often a difficult lesson to learn.  Kids also need to learn that words are not always read as they are said and many meanings can be derived from the same words.  We also need to teach kids that the words they write and the videos they post can be seen by anyone at anytime, even in the future.  We need to educate our students, not scare them.  And remind them that before they post a video from the latest party with them in a compromised position or under the influence, this may be the first impression a future employer may get upon looking them up on the net.



  jackie wrote @

Kim I too had mixed feelings about the video. At first I laughed but then I started thinking about poor David and how he felt when he watched the video. I did enjoy our last though,!

  Rob Jacobs wrote @

Technology has created a situation in which a semi permanent record of our lives can be made or our interactions with our real and virtual networks of friends, family, peers, co-workers, etc.

Our students may have a public running record of their lives (both good and bad). A digital dossier.

How should we approach the subjects and projects we have our students work on. Will an employer look up a 9th grade social studies project? Will an employer look at a You Tube video of you as a small kids coming back from the dentist?

Interesting times!

  Paul kolenick wrote @

Thanks kim, I enjoyed reading your commentary on the video. My five year old has recently had dental work done and various levels of anasthetic, and must admit my reaction to the video was mixed. I wonder, as you have, about the rights of the child to have his experiences recorded. You’ve given me something to think about, thank-you.

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