Is Openness and Sharing Unfair to Students?

Hello everyone!

This week in EDTC 400, we had a debate and I was one of the people leading it!

For this week’s EDTC 400 debate, the topic was “openness and sharing in schools is unfair to students”. I was on the agree side and Dryden was on the disagree side. At the beginning of the debate, it looked like I was in for an uphill battle; 89% of the class disagreed with the topic and only 11% were on my side of the debate. By the end of the debate, it was a 50/50 tie between both sides.

Before the Debate

Prior to doing my research for this debate, I was very much on the disagree side of this debate (I accidentally signed up for the agree side), but the more that I researched I began to sway between both sides and was more convinced that I was in agreement with the statement “openness and sharing in schools is unfair to students”. There are a lot of risks that come with openness and sharing online in schools and teachers must be careful of what they are sharing about their students online.

Before I researched this topic, I based my opinion on my work experience. Many of the children that I work with have a difficult time communicating their thoughts and often do not talk about their day at school. Some of the teachers of the children that I work with use Seesaw, or other technology as a way to share information with the parents. The parents can see what their child is doing at school and then can use this information to spark some conversation with their child. These teachers are using technology to share what students are doing and giving parents insight on their child’s day that they would not have gotten otherwise. From this knowledge, I thought that openness and sharing in schools was fair to students, but from my research, I realized that there is a lot more at stake than parents being able to know what is going on in a student’s life.

My Side

From my research, I noticed that there was four major concerns with sharing student work or images online. The four concerns are:

  1. Student consent is not always considered
  2. Teachers are creating a digital footprint for students instead of students creating it themselves.
  3. Posting pictures and work online may create situations that can cause student embarrassment or cyberbullying.
  4. Privacy settings do not always ensure privacy.

These four concerns were the basis of my side of the argument and you can watch my video below. Along with creating my video, I made a quick blog post to explain my side of the debate as well as the research that I did. You can find that post here.

Dryden’s Side

Dryden made a very good counter argument; he created a YouTube video that is below. The major points of Dryden’s side of the argument was that teachers should be sharing their knowledge with students, teachers should be open to change and that by sharing, teachers can build trust and gain feedback from their students and their families.

Openness in schools and in education is crucial. As discussed in the “Openness to Ideas, Perspectives and Change Yields Trust in the Classroom” article, openness can encourage trust in the classroom. Openness with families and students will encourage more communication and trust. Sharing is also part of education, as discussed in the “Chapter 6: Why Openness in Education?” article. Teachers must share their knowledge with students, but also they must share resources with other educators. Sharing resources with fellow educators opens teachers up to different information that they can use in their classrooms.

Overall, the debate went very well. I heard a lot of different opinions on the topic of openness and sharing in schools. I learnt a lot from my fellow classmates and there was a lot of good discussion that I was able to participate in.

Student Consent

One of the major things that I was arguing for was that openness and sharing in schools is that schools are contributing to a student’s digital identity, sometimes without a student’s consent. Many of the online templates that can be used to get parental permission to share student work or images online did not include a space for students to give THEIR consent for a teacher to share their image or work online. I think it is very important for teachers to get student permission before they share student work or images online because at the end of the day, it is a student’s digital identity that is being altered, not their parents. In order to build trust between students and families, teachers must respect student’s wishes when it comes to sharing work or images online. If teachers wish to post student work online, they must ensure they have student and parental consent in order to respect a student’s wishes.

Parental Curiosity

Along with the concern of student consent, there was discussion about parents being able to learn more about what their child is doing at school. Many parents are curious about what their child is doing at school and blogging and posting student work or images online is a way for parents to stay connected with their student’s school life. There is a concern that some parents may use the blog or website as a way to keep tabs on their student, but this should not be the main goal of the blog. This blog should be a way to showcase what the class is doing and some of the good work that students are doing at school. This blog or website can also be a way for parents to get an idea of what their child is doing at school and use this information as a starting point to have a conversation with their child. When parents use the blog or website as a way to start conversations with their child, students can share as much as they want to with their parents.

Sharing Online

The final major topic that I found the class discussed a lot about was that sharing online is okay, but it must be done properly. This was one of my major takeaways from this debate. I do not think that teachers and students should never share anything online about students, but there are precautions that teachers must make if they are going to be sharing student work or images online. This article is a great article that gives recommendations about sharing student work online. I think it is important for teachers to understand that when they are sharing student work or images online, they are putting it on the internet, and the internet is forever. It can be very difficult, almost impossible, to completely delete things from the internet.

Along with some dangers of sharing student work online, there are some benefits of sharing student work online. When teachers share good examples of student work online, it encourages other students to strive to do their best and have pride in the work that they have done. Sharing student work online with student permission is a great way for teachers to share resources with other educators. Other educators can use the good examples as a way to create their own similar assignment and will have an idea of what the end product should look like.

Conclusion

Overall, I do not think that sharing student work or images online is completely bad. I think there are many risks that can come with sharing student images and work online, but with the right precautions, teachers should be able to minimize this risk. Teachers should not be sharing identifiable work or images online without a student’s consent. When teachers post student images and work online, they are contributing to the student’s emerging digital identity and this is something that students should be creating themselves when they have learnt about digital citizenship. When students are included in the discussion and being asked if they approve of an image or work being posted online, they are included in the process of contributing to their digital identity. Teachers must be cautious about what they are posting because the internet is forever and a student’s digital identity will be with them forever as well. Teachers must ensure that student safety and well-being are the top priorities when they are sharing student work online. Sharing student images and work online is something teachers can do when student and parental consent is given, and student safety and well-being are considered.

Thank you for reading my blog post! Leave your thoughts on this debate in the comments below.

Ashley Osachoff

6 thoughts on “Is Openness and Sharing Unfair to Students?

  1. Hi Ashley! I completely agree I think there are many benefits to sharing students work, however, it needs to be done with precautions and consent from the student and some situations the parent. I think this can also reflect to field trip consent forms, some parents will sign the consent form even if the child is very uncomfortable attending! Just some thoughts! You did an awesome job on the debate assignment and this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It was amazing how many people you managed to convert to the other side! Perhaps the reason why was because initially you were on the opposing side but have managed to sway yourself to the other side when you were getting deeper and deeper into your research?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Ashley!
    I think you did a really great job with your debate! I was on Dryden’s side to start but you definitely brought up some points that made me second guess my thoughts and opinions. I still think that openness and sharing is beneficial if done appropriately! I also believe that consent is key, which you highlighted perfectly! You supported your side of the debate very well! Great work!
    -Lauren

    Like

  4. Ashley, thank you so much for sharing your work and thoughts on this interesting debate! Like Daniel mentioned, it is interesting that you found yourself converted to the other side after completing research for your debate. I am seeming to find myself consistently torn in these debates (and think I will continue to be for the duration of the semester). Thanks again for sharing what you have learned in your ed tech debate!

    Like

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