I am just finishing reading “Security vs. Access” by LeAnne Robinson, Abbie Brown, and Tim Green. This summer I attended ISTE 2010 in Denver, Colorado. This is my second trip there and each year the trip has been a life changing experience for me. Not only do I meet fabulous thinkers, I am presented with oodles of ISTE books at ISTE Central. For me, these are hard to pass up. I’m an English teacher that loves non-fiction. ISTE books are great inspirational reads to me.
I chose this book because I’m moving teaching positions from a high school to a middle school. At the high school I have enjoyed a freedom online in my classroom and with my students. As I move to the middle school I would expect more restrictions with the age group I’m teaching. With this in mind, I need to educate myself on the subject of safety in the middle school.
You can read the Table of Contents here if you want. It’s a quick read at 132 pages. The book does a fine job balancing the desire eager teachers like myself want to feed, with the necessity of protecting our youth from making poor choices, on the internet and with school network access. Actually, it does a fine job explaining why teachers need to understand this complex topic to protect themselves from devastating their career.
Here is a list of topics the book discusses: Inappropriate content, Predators, or Ensnaring Young People, Misuse of Mobile Communication Devices and Cyberbullying, Network Securty vs. Access, Inappropriate Uses of the Network, Copyright Infringement, Data and Identity Theft, Exercising Professional Responsibility, and lastly the National Educational Technology Standards. The book has logical pattern as it discusses the threat, misconceptions, and recommendations for each chapter.
I really think I need to be prepared to understand cyberbullying. In the high school, I’m sure it went on, but not in the digital classroom. Rather it existed on Facebook. Of course that does not make it okay, but I was not aware of the significance. With middle schoolers, I might see a more evident use of cyberbullying in my classroom. This book addresses measures I can employ to prevent cyberbullying in my classroom.
I benefited from the scenarios of each chapter as I often caught myself thinking, “Gee, what would I do if this happened to me?” The situations the authors present have happened to real teachers. There are several recommendations and policy suggestions I can use in my classroom. I like the idea of obtaining verbage from experience sources. I really feel there is content here I can use to help parents feel more at ease.
As a parent, I found the book insightful when reading the chapter on predators. To quote the book: “The real threat is an adult preying on young people by presenting himself or herself as someone who is sympathetic, likeable, and trustworthy, and suggesting that having sex with him or her would somehow be a positive experience” (31). As a parent, that statement frightens me. Those people are harder to point out to my daughter and son because they could be friends or relatives of their friends. Worse yet, the predator will use friendship to get closer to my children. Great, now I’m not going to sleep tonight.
Towards the end of the book they provide a works cited with many of their resources being online. And of course, they end with the National Educational Technology Standards, which is just a nice lil’ freebie.