Many schools have begun utilizing the internet to engage their students in classroom work. They can share their students’ achievements online using blogs or websites like Seesaw or Slack, allowing parents to also engage with their children’s work. But can this process of posting students’ work and classroom activities be bad for students?
This was the topic of our debate this week. Ashley debated that sharing student work is unfair, while Dryden debated that openness has positive effects in the classroom.
Before getting started the class took a pre-vote, where Dryden had a majority vote. Despite the class vote, Ashley had some great points that she mentions in her video.
Ashley highlighted four main reasons why sharing student work is unfair to students:
- Student consent is not always considered
- Teachers are creating digital footprints for students
- Situations that can cause embarrassment and cyber-bullying
- Privacy settings do not ensure privacy
While consent is always important when dealing with class work and posting things online, typically only parent consent is considered. It’s similar to a parent deciding what photos you can post to your social media accounts. I don’t, and never have, ask my mom if I can post a selfie to Instagram–it’s my account. When posting student work online, teachers usually only ask for permission from the parents or guardians when they should be asking the children if they are comfortable with their work being online.
During the debate when we were talking about the issue of consent, one student mentioned that in a school she worked in they made sure all students were comfortable with sharing their work online. While this should be how it works, it’s not, and that experience is the exception and not the rule.
A huge issue is how teachers are taking control of a student’s digital identity by making them share their work online. When a student is able to independently create their digital identity, it will already be developed and will be difficult to change. Everything a person posts online will stay there forever, no matter how hard you try removing it. Not only that, but some social media can steal a person’s content and use it for themselves. This can also affect their digital identity because then their personal work is in the hands of someone else, and potential employers can find that. It can have detrimental effects on a child in their future.
Cyber-bullying is another issue that students can face when they have to post their content online. I have personal experience with this. The posts students make can be embarrassing, and as mentioned before cannot be easily removed. How often have you scrolled through your friends old Facebook and laughed at it together, or how many times have you looked at an Instagram of a person you didn’t like and made fun of it behind their back? These are posts that people have willingly published, how much more ridicule can a person have if they have to post school work and projects?
Finally, privacy is a huge issue when posting online. As mentioned in my post about my social media accounts, privacy settings on social media change constantly without your knowledge, and you can be posting things publically when you thought they were private. While a teacher may think that their student’s work and identity is hidden, they could unintentionally be posting their work publically for the whole world to see.
Dryden argued that sharing online results in greater learning for the classroom. With so much copyrighted content, it’s so much harder and expensive for teachers to teach. By sharing online, other teachers can use other ideas and incorporate them into their classroom.
Another positive is that openness and sharing are beneficial in the classroom. Allowing students to post their work online can result in better work being produced, as well as the development of self-confidence. Students can be proud of the work they made and want to show it to their parents and other students, and doing so online is a great and easy tool to do it.
After the debate, we took another vote and Ashley managed to sway a huge chunk of the class, myself included. I think the biggest issue is how educators and parents have more control over a student’s digital identity than the students when we over-share their work online. While sharing is beneficial and there are good things about it, the bad outweighs the good in this case.