Internet Safety – Message Delivered

On Monday, September 10th, I had the opportunity to deliver my message that I had crafted on Internet Safety to our high school students. (Notes on the genesis of the new message). Unbeknown to me was that I had chosen to use a similar strategy to deliver the message  as other great people, such as Clarence Fisher (Remote Access – Internet Safety) and Christopher Sessums (Christopher D. Sessums :: Weblog -Teachable Moment: Cyberbullying) elected to use, as shared by Jeff Utecht (The Thinking Stick – Online Safety -Videos that get ’em). I tried to capture the conversation on my digital recorder, but there was a malfunction so I am unable to share it. I will try to recreate of the presentation. Unfortunately, individual nuisances are not captured in this description of the conversation.

I began my presentation by reading the first part of my post, about how I wanted to present a positive message rather than a negative one. I acknowledged that they were digital natives and the we the faculty were immigrants trying to assimilate into their world. I talked about my transformative experiences over the past 10 months and how social networking (blogs, nings, and twitter) and the connections that I have made as a result of these interactions have enriched my life in very profound ways. I also talked about how EduBloggerCon and NECC and the opportunity to meet so many great people face-to-fact enhanced these relationships. I acknowledged that these experiences have earned me my digital citizenship, on equal footing to each of them.

So that they could gain perspective, I showed them Did You Know 2.0  by Karl Fisch (Fischbowl) and Scott McLeod (Dangerously Irrelevant).  To further challenge them, I showed parts of  the vid-cast of Andrew Zolli’s NECC keynote, focusing on the section where he talks about the qualities of the millennial generation and how they share many qualities with that of the greatest generation, who was responsible for creating the foundation of the tools that we use day to day, including the Internet (via DARPA). I also shared the section where Zolli outines the types of problems that this generation of students may help solve to make the world a better place than how we are leaving it.

I next shared with the students about how glad that I was not a student, because they were living in a world which was much more public than mine had been. Relating to the speed of communication, first from an oral story telling tradition, to having access to limited written tradition, to the invention of the printing press, to today and the ability of someone to use the video portion of a cell-phone to record and post, within minutes, a mistake that they may have made. I talked about the example of Miss Teen South Carolina, and then showed two examples of videos of school events which are easily accessible via YouTube, the first a short video of our prom  and the second, a clip taken by one of our seniors goofing off and having fun. (This is what I think really reeled them in)

I then began to ask the questions that I posed in my blog post about how do they want to be thought of. We talked about their digital profile, including how they approach the commenting on YouTube and Facebook, which is often quick boosting banter, what I called smack talk, and how this is part of the profile that they are creating. They need to be careful about what they say and what they post.

I told that that my goal for the year was to:

  1. Provide the leadership to make sure that the school had the adequate resources to allow them to be 21st Century Learners
  2. That I provided the guidance and support to their teachers to make sure that they were given the opportunities to have experiences using these new tools for communication and to support their ever expanding personal learning networks so that they could begin create real-life solutions to problems and have interactions with others around the globe to help prepare them for the 21st Century.

I then focused my message to tell them that while we adults may be foreigners in their world, that we did have the resources to help them if they ran into a situation that they could not handle. If they found that their words or images were being used in a way which may be harmful to them, or if they felt that they were being harassed, that they needed to let us adults know. Our goal was to make sure that they were safe.

The feedback that I have gotten from fellow faculty was very flattering and positive. They commented on how the message was focused, direct, and positive. They commented on the fact that I hooked the students and how attentive they were. Many colleagues commented on how many conversations they overheard students having about the content.

All and all, a great presentation. I am happy about the tone and direction I choose and glad that it seems to have worked as well as it did. Only time will tell.

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