Thursday, September 29, 2011

The product being sold

(I tried to find the original source of the above cartoon, but alas I could not, if someone can help me with this, that would be great. it has been reposted numerous time and it does not have any credits attached.)

Last week I had the pleasure to teach 2 lessons to year 7 about their digital tattoo in conjunction with their unit on "Identity - who am I?" in English.

I had them search me to find what they could, I explained that I have had an online presence for a long time and I would be interested to see what they found. They found my blog, my twitter account, my locked down Facebook page, a few photo's. They collected this data and put it together and basically came up with general and common information about me. The most information they found was what was supplied on our schools website.

They then Googled themselves and found far more information than they expected. They found blogs they created in year 6 that were supposed to have private settings, they found images on flickr that their friends of families had taken and tagged while on holidays, they found information their own parents had put on the internet, and they found too much information on the school website and in the online newsletters. They were shocked that their digital tattoo had been created without their knowledge and consent. Many went home and talked about their findings with their parents, who then also Googled themselves and also were shocked at what they found about themselves.

Other issues we talked about was how Google tracks their every search and customises the search results for them. We all did the same search and then compared search results - they were again astonished at the differences between their results page. I then explained how mobile phones worked with sim cards and GPS, we watched the videos Digital dossier and Think before you post.

The next lesson we focused on Information privacy, watching and discussing the brilliant 2 minute video on it from Brain POP. Then discussed how if you are not going to give random people in the street your information and photo's (or even get undressed in front of them) - why would do it on the internet? We also watched this very clever video on Digital Citizenship to stimulate discussion on the types of behaviour required to be a good digital citizen. And finally we looked at bullying video Talent Show.

We discussed how when you sign up for free stuff - like Facebook, Neopets, etc that your information is sold to advertisers and spam generators. They exclaimed how unfair it all was, and we then had a discussion about reading the terms of agreement ('but they are so long and boring miss", "intentionally I replied - "and have you noticed they are also always written in capital letters as that is the hardest font to read?")

At the end of it all (I felt we were rushed a bit to cover what we did) I asked one of the students what was the main idea was of what I was trying to help them learn his reply "Think before you post, you don't need to share everything with everyone". Just what I needed to hear!

After a few days from these lessons the discussion continued in class and I believe the students of these classes will be taking their complaint about the school sharing so much information through the website and newsletter to the student council which will then be presented to the Principal as a pressing issue. They will be preparing a formal complaint using their best communication skills in writing - nothing like authentic action to make them use language better!


Carmel said...

What powerful teaching, well done. Your influence spreads way beyond the walls of your library. Thanks for inspiration once more.

Jessica said...

Excellent article. This is going to be such an important issue in the future, and you are doing a great service to talk about it within the context of library services. Thank you!