Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Spy Time?

A parent sent me an interesting article today - Schools are using AI to track their students - and it has prompted some thoughts.

The gist of the article is that schools are now monitoring students every move online to protect them, which, unfortunately, while keeping kids safe, is also encroaching on their privacy.

It's an interesting dilemma. On the one hand, yes, schools have a responsibility to keep kids as safe as possible at school, online and off. Schools have the responsibility to help kids learn how to interact online and off, and how to be a responsible digital citizen. However, adolescences hits, turbulence ensues, and things happen.

That said, while we do have software at my school that both filters the internet, keeping key words on alert at all times and blocking inappropriate content, as well as monitors student work online, nothing is failsafe. Which is why it's so crucial that teachers know their students, and luckily, that relationship is in the forefront of everything we do.

If a teacher notices something off with a student, a behavior change or concerning comments, or catches someone searching for inappropriate content, then IT can go in and do a deep search of a student's online activity. But for a district or school to have someone constantly monitoring online activity? That would be a full time job and not necessarily the best use of time or money.

The disorganized chaos that is online changes so rapidly, it seems that time is best spent teaching teachers and kids to look for signs of unrest, vs monitor their every move. To be proactive instead of reactive. At least that's what we're trying to do!

All I have to say is that I am SO glad to have grown up when I did.  I feel like I got the best of both worlds - playing outside until the street lights came on, and excitedly waiting for the 1200bps modem to take over the phone lines so I could log into Prodigy and play Carmen SanDiego!  Growing up today?  Yikes!

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