The article "The Web We Need to Give Students" really got me thinking about how to lessen the restrictions we place on students with technology while still protecting them as students. I teach middle school, specifically sixth grade. These are young kids who don't always make the best decisions when it comes to using technology. The article addresses giving college students and some high school students a domain to be created and used as they see fit. I began to wonder if we are doing too little as educators of younger students to prepare them for a task like this. We teach digital citizenship with emphasis on how students interact with social media like Instagram and Snapchat. What if we added in some of the elements that they will likely see and use later in their school careers? I think that process begins with loosening the reins on what they can and can't have access to. If they are taught early, how to access what they need, what is and isn't appropriate to put out there on a personal site or elsewhere, and how to address certain audiences they would be better prepared to create something like an eportfolio later in their school careers.
For lack of a better comparison, to become a licensed driver you take driver's ed. They teach you about situations that exist, and prepare you for things that may not exist yet. I got my license in a time where cell phones and texting didn't exist, but I was able apply to apply the knowledge I had about distractions while driving to the cell phone situation. If we build a base of knowledge for students early and equip them to navigate the digital world safely and effectively they will become more confident in how they interact with the digital world.
Of course the is no solution that will be infallible. There will still be students who will not adhere to guidelines and will end up abusing the technology that was meant to benefit them. The vast majority of students would at least hang on to pieces of what they've learned and use them to develop their digital presence. If we want students to have a voice and take ownership of their learning, then we have to let them take some risks and figure things out on their own. If we first equip them with tools and guides that they can apply as they go, I believe they will be successful in creating a digital presence that positively reflects who they are.
Watters, A. (2019, June 25). The Web We Need To Give Students. Retrieved December 07, 2020, from https://brightthemag.com/the-web-we-need-to-give-students-311d97713713