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Kennedy, Michelle OLTD 506 2013 Boundaries Paper

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Throughout the province of British Columbia, many school districts and policy-makers grapple
over concerns with use of online technology, such as Web 2.0, cloud computing and social networking
and the implications its use has on issues of privacy, safety and equity for both students and teachers.
Educators would be remiss not to see the value of Web 2.0, and social networking as not only as an
information delivery tool in the classroom, but as a means of teaching digital literacy and bringing about
meaningful connections and collaboration. Fundamental to the integration of technology and social
media is a purposeful, best educational practice approach, which includes equitable means to
technology tools; educators must protect both the integrity of the school and working environment
and the safety, security and privacy of students [and] staff (Vancouver School Board, 2013).
Technology has given us opportunities to connect and network like never before, and it seems
that this connected and social revolution is here to stay. Technology connects people for a variety of
purposes, and has helped to redefine how people create or establish relationships, opening up
opportunities for individuals to enhance communication, social connections and technical skills
(Clarke-Pearson & Schurgin O'Keeffe, 2011). Over recent years, the online world has seen a growth in
cloud computing, Web 2.0 and social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter as venues for
communication and making connections to others. It is important to make the distinction between Web
2.0, cloud computing and social networking. Web 2.0. refers to sites that use the Internet for sharing
content, communications and collaboration; cloud computing refers to the use of remote servers across
the Internet to store, manage and process data. (Hengstler J. , 2013f); social networking sites allow
individuals to communicate through photos, video and audio (Facebook, Twitter, and Wordpress, etc.).
A recent study reported on Dailytech.com found that 81 percent of adolescence (ages 12-17) are
spending much of their time socializing on social networks like Facebook (94%), Twitter (24%), and
Instagram (11%) (as cited by Kaiser, 2003, The Dailytech.com). These statistics are significant for
educators, as we need to meet our students where they aredeeply embedded within the social realm
of technology.
Professor R.H. (Bob) Fryer states we must, Start from where learners are, with their interests
(Fryer, 2013). Many students are already using and are comfortable with [social media] (Tarte, 2013).
What educators must do is find purposeful ways to integrate it into practice. Purposeful, good
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educational practice for using social media must fit some of the following principles as set out by Arthur
Chickering and Zelda Gamson (1987):
Encouraging contact between students and faculty (2) developing reciprocity and cooperation
among students (3) encouraging active learning (4) providing prompt feedback (5) emphasizing
time on task (6) communicating high expectations (7) respecting diverse talents and ways of
learning (Chickering & Gamson, 1987).
The Social Web is rapidly changing our educational landscape, and J. Tarte (2013) is correct
asserting our current and future state of affairs: call it social media as if it's some completely isolated
thing, but in a few years it's just going to be called 'teaching and learning' in school (Tarte, 2013). As a
relatively new phenomenon, the Social Web is one where producers of online content directly engage
in discussions, collaborations, etc. with an audience(s) and build networks of people with whom to
engage (Hengstler J. , 2013c). This seemingly simple description is further broadened, such that Mark
Stelzner (2009) delineates social media from social networks where, social media are the tools for
sharing and discussing information. Social networks is the use of communities of is interest to connect
to others" (Stelzner, 2009), which have emerged as a dominant form of social organization
(Lankshear & Knobel, 2011). boyd & Ellisons (2007) research in this area expand the definition of a
social network:
We define social network sites as web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a
public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with
whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those
made by others within the system (boyd & Ellison, Social network sites: Definition, history &
scholarship., 2007).
The growing phenomenon of using social media and social networks as a way to connect is a
fascinating aspect of society. The offshoot of fostering a digital presence in social network is the lasting
digital footprint that remains. Julia Hengstler) (2012)describes the term digital footprint as an
aggregation of all your digital activities in all the digital environments you navigate. In her work,
Digital Professionalism and Digital Footprints (2012), Hengstler presents research by L. Indvik (2010), in
which Todays children are developing digital footprints earlier than ever Indvik found that by 2 years
old, 92% of all American children already had some digital presence (As cited in Hengstler, 2013, Digital
Professionalism and Digital Footprints, OLTD 506). As educators, it is important to prepare our students
Kennedy, Michelle OLTD 506 2013 Boundaries Paper
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to become effective digital citizens by being aware and carefully managing their digital footprintsusing
social networks for both social and strategic, professional associations (Lankshear & Knobel, 2011).
Little is known about the lasting impact of our digital footprint, but the reality is everything leaves a
digital footprint. Whatever gets posted or created online may never go away (Office of the Privacy
Commissioner of Canada, 2013).
In Julia Hengstlers (2011), Managing your digital footprint: Ostriches v. Eagles, she discusses the
perils of teachers being ostriches by taking a passive roleespecially with regard to their own
[professional] reputationeducators and groups put themselves at risk . For educators, social media
and social networks are new and foreboding territory; in many cases, there is a distinct lack of
knowledge, limited guidance, and few resources available to help one navigating the potential risks of
using social media in the classroom. Consequently, many educators act like an ostrichwith their heads
buried deeply in the sandfumbling along, excited by the burgeoning opportunities with new
technology, while the potential for peril lurks in the periphery. As Julia Hengstler (2011) notes, there
are few examples of school or institutional policies that proactively manage and scaffold use of Web
2.0 and social networking technologiesbeyond blocking and banning.
The issue of professional misconduct or a lack of professional judgment is a concern with the
use of social media in the classroom (and in some cases, at home). Educators in British Columbia carry a
professional duty of care, and conduct as set out by the BCTF Standards and Teacher Regulation
Branches Code of Ethics. The problems lie with an unclear policy and limited educational leadership to
scaffold educators use of this technology to further allow them to contribute to their professionalism
(Hengstler J. , 2011). Educators require progressive policies in place along with those proactive
groupsthe eagles (Hengstler J. , 2011) providing support to educators for scaffolding students
responsible use of this technology (Hengstler J. , 2011). The inherent potential of Web 2.0 in the
classroom must be mitigated by the risks associated with technology in the classroom. The perception
of riskrests on five pillars, that is (1) knowledge (2) skills and training (3) practice and experience (4)
guidelines and policy (5) confidence (Hengstler, 2012). Without knowledge, skills and training, we are
limited in our ability to model best practices in managing digital footprints to our students and
colleagues, and in leaving the online experience to children and youth without mature models and
examples is both dangerous and professionally irresponsible (Kuehn, 2010).
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For many parents, the beginning of a new school year brings excitement mixed with feelings of
apprehension. Trepidation comes in many forms, but with the rise of blogging and use of social media in
the classroom, parents may be unaware of the implications and risks around allowing the school to
display a childs name or picture in a newspaper or on a blog. Are parents fully informed about the risks
associated with online participation? Will a privacy consent form fully protect your child from a breach
in privacy? Parents may be in the dark when it comes to risk associated with online participation as
Hengstler (2013) states in A K-12 Primer for British Columbia Teachers Posting Students Work Online,
Risks associated with online participation are not regularized and many parents and guardians are not
well aware of the potential risks, how they can be managed, and what steps the educator and school
can take if there is an e-safety incident.
In his blog in the Huffington Post, Mark Weinstein (2013) questions whether privacy is dead,
stating that individual privacy is being eroded It was sexy and exciting to be broadcasting everywhere
until we realized, Look at this digital trail. I wouldn't really want my future (or current) spouse, kids,
friends or employer to see that. It wasn't meant for them.... and I can't delete it... uh oh. In
Weinsteins (2013) reflection on privacy, he conclusively states that privacy is not dead, but is coming
back to where it fits in with individuals, societies and corporations. In circumventing our loss of
privacy, British Columbia created the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act or FIPPA,
which was designed to make public bodies more accountable to the public and to protect personal
privacy (Province of British Columbia, 2013). Julia Hengstler writes that FIPPA ensures that any public
body--like a school--or its service providers must obtain informed consent from you before your
personal information can be stored outside of Canadian soil , and it also governs how personal
information should be handled--even on Canadian soil (Hengstler J. , 2013d).
Online technology, including Web 2.0 and social networking provide an opportunity for
discovery, learning, community and collaboration building, but the privacy laws and regulations seem
restrictive and daunting. In Making Sense of Privacy and Publicity danah boyd (2010) clearly
articulates her perspective on privacy, such that, You have to choose to limit access rather than
assuming that it won't spread very far. And, needless to say, people make a lot of mistakes learning
this. Educators are making mistakes. Often, school district have a basic or generic consent form for
students and parents, and beyond this, there is little guidance about online policies and regulations
around using technology and social media in the classroom, as well, they may also be uninformed of
privacy legislation, as Julia Hengstler (2013a) writes, teachers and schools are using Web 2.0 and
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social mediaand may be in total ignorance of the new legislative requirements (Hengstler J. ,
2013a). Intimidating as the regulations are, educators must anticipate risk and take proactive rather
than reactive measures (Cavoukian, 2011) in order to protect students; the onus is on public bodies
(schools and educators) to make sure that our students personal information and data is secureit is
our legal requirement.
In light of the increasing use of mobile technologies, educators are beginning to take heed of the
policies and procedures in place for acceptable use; however, educators also must recognize the
important role of education in using digital technology appropriately, particularly as it applies to safety
on the internet. Hengstler (2013) contends that our ability to make good decisions regarding the use
of social media or social networking is based on our knowledge, training (what we are taught),
experience (what we have practice at doing), and our confidence" (Hengstler, 2013, Welcome to
Foundations & Boundaries, D2L), and with the use of social media comes an element of risk to yourself
and others. The fabric of social media is to be openor as danah boyd (2012) refers to as radical
transparency, that is, the idea of putting yourself out to the rest of society makes you seem more
honest. boyd (2012) asks, Is society better off when everything is out in the open?. To open yourself
up and reveal intimate details of your life or others lives involves an element of risk, that is, you risk
damaging your own reputation (or worse) or perhaps others.
For todays youth, the internet and social media is very natural to themthey dont know a
world without it and with this brings a certain level of ease with using technology as a tool for
socialization. A large part of this generations social and emotional development is occurring while on
the Internet and on cell phones (Clarke-Pearson & Schurgin O'Keeffe, 2011), and much of the
interactions are positive, but some individuals are using technology as a tool for harm against others. It
has been noted that marginalized youth often become the targets of online cyberbulling, such that,
Many of the things that make youth targets of offline bullying poverty , disability, being a member of
a visible minority group and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) status increase the odds of
being a target of cyberbullying (Media Smarts. (n.d)).
Is cyberbullying an epidemic that is out of control among youth today? The statistics on
prevalence of cyberbulling as compared to face-to-face (offline) bullying are largely analogous. Hinduja
& Patchins (2010) report showed the prevalence of traditional face-to-face bullying ranged from 6.5%
to 27.7% for aggression and 10.9% to 29.3% for victimization, and the prevalence of cyberbullying for
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aggression was 9.1% to 23.1% and 5.7 to18.3% for victimization (Hinduja & Patchin, 2010). According to
the report, the most commonly-reported form of cyberbullying offending was: Posted something
online about another person to make others laugh (23.1%) while the most frequent form of
victimization was: Received an upsetting email from someone you know (18.3%) (Hinduja & Patchin,
2010). Cyberbulling may not be significantly higher in an online environment, but regardless of the
statistics, and the exaggerated alarmist views of cyberbullying, or technopanic, or panic typically
based on irrational fears and inflated threats (Thierer, 2012), that exists around this issue, it remains a
serious concern, and must be discussed and dealt with in our education system.
Within the scope of the risks involved in using social media, it is apropos that the First Nations
language revitalization activist, Dustin Rivers, was taught that people are watching you and that your
actions and your behaviour reflect on your family and, when you are outside of your community, on
your people as well (Arcand, 2011). Educating students about digital literacy is crucial as their
limited capacity for self-regulation and susceptibility to peer pressure, children and adolescents are at
some risk as they navigate and experiment with social media (Clarke-Pearson & Schurgin O'Keeffe,
2011). Engaging in forms of social media has introduced a variety of issues that have significant negative
ramifications on todays youth; problems such as cyberbullying, trolling, sexting, revenge porn, online
sexual predators (and grooming). As such, the education system must ensure the use policy and
procedures in dealing with online risks, and it is necessary for educators to teach students how to
ethically and effectively manage social media and their digital footprint.
As a profession, we need to look at the ethical concerns of access for all students. We tend to
think that the internet is ubiquitous, but there is a disparity between those that have access and those
who do not. Having fast, reliable Internet access is a basic human right, (Crawford, S., as cited in
Goodman J., 2013, The Digital Divide Is Still Leaving Americans Behind). This widespread issue is known
as the digital divide, which is the economic inequality between groupsin terms of access to, use of, or
knowledge of information communication technologies (Wikipedia, 2013). For many Canadians, the
online gap is wide as a result of poverty, education, race, and geographic isolation, etc. Marginalization
brings about reduced opportunities to fully take part in economic, political and social processes
(Bullock-Rest, Hourcade, & Schelhowe, 2010). Is access to the online world a basic human right? To
answer this, we look to the ubiquity of the online world, along with the requirement for digital skills,
which creates a new imbalance in our society, one in which marginalized individuals or groups, such as
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the First Peoples of British Columbia, are threatened by basic [human rights] issues of fairness and
equal opportunity (Bullock-Rest, Hourcade, & Schelhowe, 2010).
The treatment of the First Nations people in BC is shamefulan embarrassment that will
forever leave a stain on our reputation as Canadians. As a result of the assimilation practices that
resonated throughout the early and mid 20
century, the Aboriginal people of Canada suffered
considerable indignities, which precipitated grave cultural damage. In terms of loss of identity and
culture, it is shocking to read that, only 5.1 percent of B.C. First Nations people are fluent speakers of
their language, which puts all 32 of the languages included in the study as severely endangered, nearly
extinct, or already sleeping (extinct) (as cited in Arcand, J., 2011,Language Warrior). This statistic is
significant when discussing the connectivity gap that is pervasive online, as the pre-eminent language
of the Internet (Hengstler J. , 2013e) is predominantly English; leaving me somewhat skeptical about a
positive cultural outlook for First Nations given this modern day technological form of assimilationor
cyber-imperialism (Pannekoek, 2001).
Technology does have the potential to further marginalize the Aboriginal culture, and as
Pannekoek (2001) argues, The colonial pursuit of geopolitical rationalization has historically relied on
other languages to endorse a politics of subordination. Cyber-English, the first world English without a
territorial base, has reformulated classic notions of universal imperial benefit (Pannekoek, 2001). In his
(pessimistic) view, he continues to contend that there too few First Nations whose first language is their
parent language, as such, the tendency is to treat the language as an object of curiosity (Pannekoek,
However, I would argue programs such as, Pathways to Technology show a growing awareness
of the digital divide that does exist with the First Nation peoples, and with increased connectivity, the
internet will help to reinforce community, to build protective barriers and to politicize their
marginalization (Pannekoek, 2001), as witnessed with the Idle No More movement across Canada.
Many First Nations, such as language revitalization activist, Dustin Rivers (as cited in Arcand, J., 2011,
Language Warrior), are using social media and the internet for the cultural betterment and
preservation of heritage. Perhaps in the coming years, we will notice a shift in the digital divide for First
Nations people, and perhaps will facilitate more opportunities to fully take part in economic, political
and social processes in British Columbia.
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More than ever before, the use of technology is creating exciting and meaningful conversations
in the field of education, and educators are beginning to adopt social media for educational purposes.
Social media has great potential in education; yielding the ability to foster engaged, creative, reflective,
and critical thinkers along with ethical citizens. Many educators are excited by the opportunities that
come with new technology, and are looking for guidance in their use of technologies in the classroom,
and as social media and web 2.0 are relatively new technologies, still in their infancythere will be
issues that educators must take into consideration. Issues such as student privacy, safety and equity are
of great concern to both teachers and parents. Given the prevalence and use of social media and
related digital technologies, the government of British Columbia, along with some school districts, has
created policy and regulations that aim to address privacy and risk related issues for both professional
and private purposes. Further guidance in policy development is needed to protect teachers and
students working and communicating in online environments.

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