in which I attempt to be a rockstar teacher librarian :)

From “Minors and Internet Interactivity: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights” – ALA

“Prohibiting children and young adults from using social networking sites does not teach safe behavior and leaves youth without the necessary knowledge and skills to protect their privacy or engage in responsible speech.  Instead of restricting or denying access to the Internet, librarians and teachers should educate minors to participate responsibly, ethically, and safely.”

This statement, I feel, was the clearest and most undramatic that emerged from this week’s IST 611 readings. I particularly appreciate the effort ALA makes to ensure that their guidelines and suggestions apply to librarians and teachers while preserving the right of parents to make the best choice for their child.

One of the questions posed to use this week is:
How important should / will the teacher-librarian be in providing the additional educational component required of CIPA?

The educational component referred to is as such, “The Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act directs E-rate applicants to also certify that their CIPA-required Internet safety policies provide for the education of students regarding appropriate online behavior including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and regarding cyberbullying awareness and response.” More information on this revision is available via the Federal Communication Commission 11-125 Report.

What do I conclude based on the above two readings (and numerous others which I shan’t direct you to)? Not only should we be educating our students, as school librarians, in how to act and conduct ourselves on social media, social networks, chat rooms, and other corners of the wide Internet space, but we must do so.

Classroom teachers are often strapped to get through the curriculum within the school year. The additional burden of the Common Core standards implementation is time-consuming and most likely to be a long process for many teachers. In the meantime, and continuing through, we have an opportunity to teach students (as demanded above) in conjunction with our belief in intellectual freedom, our knowledge of information fluency skills and societal demands upon today’s students, and the immediacy with which we must approach our students and begin teaching not only appropriate behavior, but appropriate and useful applications.

What do you think? Do we have time in our school day to accomplish this? Will we be supported if we do? I, personally, think we’re in a great position to take on this role – assuming we find the time to do so.

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Comments on: "Intellectual Freedom & Online Safety" (2)

  1. An excellent choice of quote to begin with. You’re right, it does sum up the issue clearly and with a minimum of drama. There can be a lot of drama around this issue, eh? You made a valid point, too, about taking the time to teach about internet safety. I can see many teachers claiming that their teaching plates are full, and pushing this responsibility more onto the school librarian. Which is fine, it fits well with our role, as long as there is school wide consistency and buy-in and the librarian isn’t trying to address a complex issue alone in a vacuum.

  2. Marilyn Arnone said:

    I agree that school librarians are in a perfect position to take this on this role. It is not something that is taught in a single lesson or unit but rather as a weaving thread throughout all projects where there is an opportunity to evaluate resources. And Milly’s response brings up the important point of “buy-in” and consistency within the school community in how to handle issues related to appropriateness of sites and/or student behavior.

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