In today’s digital age, more and more emphasis is being placed on technology. In order to well prepare their students, teachers are faced with the challenge of incorporating technology into their classrooms while keeping the content safe for all students. Let’s face it, fourth and fifth grade students are going to be curious and “wander” into areas of the internet that are inappropriate. How can teachers prevent this?
There are many aspects teachers should consider when incorporating technology in their classrooms. For instance, should students be allowed to work individually while utilizing the internet or should all internet use be as a group? A “curious” student is more likely to search inappropriate material while working alone. If he or she is part of a group, I would imagine that if one were to try and stray from the lesson material, the others would either make them stop themselves or grab the teachers attention. Boundaries are another important aspect to consider. Whether its violence, sexual or explicit language, not all parents have the same moral value on what is appropriate and inappropriate. Which means that more than likely the students idea of what’s inappropriate will also differ. The best thing to do is to encourage each student to decide on their own what their comfort level is and stick to it.
Children’s Internet Protection Act, schools are required to use internet filters and implement other measures to protect children from harmful online content. However, children are becoming more and more clever and are finding ways around internet blockers. With this challenge, teachers should do what they do best and teach the students how to use the internet and what will be accepted or not. There are several ways to accomplish this. For example, teachers can set-up a list of appropriate websites in a “favorites” file and instruct the students to only visit those pages. Teachers should teach their students what to do if they happen to navigate to inappropriate areas of the web. They should also be sure that every students is aware and understands the schools policy on the deliberate viewing of inappropriate content and as well as the fact that all internet search content is stored on all internet devices. This not only serves for purposes of full disclosure, but hopefully will make the students stop and think of the consequences of their actions. Teachers are not only responsible to provide intellectual knowledge but also emotional knowledge to their students so that when posed with a challenge they are able to make the right decisions.