Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ethics for the Information Age Ch. 6

Viruses, cookies, spy ware, worms and Trojan horses are all computer related things that I wish did not pertain to me. On our home computer, we have programs in place to defend against these things. For me it is frustrating to have to remember to update though. The world of computers is changing so rapidly that our defensive program can not keep up. My husband's job has him accessing the web on a regular basis and we have picked up viruses and Trojan horses more than once causing us to buy new computers. I understand that some of viruses could actually enable companies to strengthen their systems, but it is still such a hassle that the viruses even exist. My personal experience with these things has not been a good one.

Ethics for the Information Age Ch. 5

Identity theft is something I have no personal experience with. At least two of my friends have dealt with it head on though. One of the cases happened because somebody stole a pre-approved credit card application from her mailbox. They filled it out with a new address and within 2 weeks were spending her credit rating into the dumpster. She did not even know anything was wrong until she was denied a mortgage many weeks later. After 16 mos. it was resolved, but it probably would have been easier to change her name and start over. The person was never caught or punished, but my friend still has to provide proof of her innocence when applying for new credit. The credit card company acknowledged that the change of address should have been a red flag and they have now change their policy to require an extra approval step. People who are at work when their mail is delivered need to be aware of the possibility of this happening. My friend was held financially responsible for some of the damage and her future credit score will be affected.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Article - Larry Magid: Keeping Kids Safe On-Line

Another article concerning on line safety that makes sense. There is no way we as teachers can block every harmful site. We need to limit our focus on training the students safe ways to access the internet. SafeKids and SafeTeens are wonderful resources that we can inform parents about and then let them fulfill their role of parenting. I especially like that SafeTeens was written for teens to access, since they do not always listen to their parents.

Article - Keeping Kids Safe Online

This article addresses exactly what we have been discussing on the Discussion Board. I totally agree with the article. We as educators need to do our job and teach students how to safely access technology. Just blocking certain sites and information is not going to help the students when they are on their own. Empowering our students is our ultimate job.

I know as a parent, I clicked on the link for The Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use and am looking at better ways to help my kids learn.

Article - How Teachers View Technology

This article validates what I already thought to be true. Newer teachers and those who have had training are the most comfortable with technology in the classroom. Technology is a double edged sword. If used correctly, technology can enhance every angle of teaching, but if technology is misused in any way or not prepared for it can be a detriment. Newer teachers have more tech savvy because they are new. Teachers that have been teaching for a number of years need to be willing to get updated training in technology. How can we as educators teach students who come to us better prepared than we ourselves are?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Article -Here Comes the E-Rate! (E-gads!)

This article was written in 1997. I am sure there is now newer information than this available. I am glad it was a step that was taken. Staying connected with technology is something that every student should have the privilege of. I wonder if every district is now, 10 years later, finally online. I noticed that this ruling also effects libraries and rural health service organizations. Is somebody responsible for checking and making sure the guidelines?

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Article - Laptops, Handhelds, or Tablet PCs?

Laptops and Handhelds I have heard of, but what are tablets? This is something I will investigate when I have time or should I say money. I like that my school has laptops available. I will probably be checking one out for continuous use next year. I will use it with my "Blue clicker unit". My mind went totally blank on what it is really called. I have seen some handheld units, but never used. If the school would purchase I would be willing to give it a whirl. I can imagine it might have some benefits. I do tell my boys periodically though that technology is not always the best way. Sometimes the dead- tree-way is still best. Usually this is said when talking about learning Algebra or some other form of Math. I just have to word it differently when talking to my youngest because he is very earth friendly. If he had his way, we would probably write in dirt with sticks as long as it did not injure worms or some micro beings that depend on the dirt to live in. I would never turn don't something that will make my life easier. Although I sometimes wonder if cell phones and portable computers just add to the stress by never allowing out of reach to our jobs and other contact. I have heard some truck drivers consider the time they have in route and love the fact that they can't be bothered, it is just them and the open road. But with the addition of technology, I wonder if they can still say that?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Article-Filtering Software: The Educators Speak Out

I understand that filtering of the web is a controversial subject. There are good reasons both for and against filtering. It seems to me that the biggest concern mentioned against filtering is time. For example : It takes time away from a lesson if sites the teacher found at home can not be accessed at school, it takes time to have a restricted site unblocked, it takes time to figure out an alternative website, it takes time to check out every site we want our students to use, etc. Aren't our students worth the time?
Robin Smith said, "That doesn't mean we shouldn't also educate children to do their own filtering. The ethical use of computers should be taught in elementary school and continually reinforced. Education is key to providing students with the skills they need to use computers and the Internet outside of the school setting. Many parents do not have filtering at home, but they want to be sure their child is not exposed to anything inappropriate at school. That is sort of a double standard, but that's the way it is." I agree. Not only do we have to make sure we protect our students, but we have to train them to protect themselves.
Filtering is a necessary part of today's world. Can filtering limit access to some information? Of course! But the biggest benefit of filtering for myself at the Kindergarten level is lessening how much time I spend worrying about content and allowing more of my focus to be on teaching.

The Blue Nowhere 2

How scary is the thought that the guy could walk into a school and convince the staff that he was Uncle Irv. The school followed protocol and it still wasn't enough. They had passwords and pictures to match, but the guy was able to find all the right answers online. Even eight year old Samantha was convinced that the man was her uncle. Maybe fearing technology is not such a bad thing. Social Engineering is a new fact of life. How do I teach my kiddos to protect themselves? Is any measure ever going to be enough? One possible solution: DNA Samples for everyone authorized to pick a child up on file and checked. Where is the funding coming from for that one though?

The Blue Nowhere

When I first saw the book I did not looking forward to reading. I figured I would have to make myself finish the book, but that has not been the case. Since I am reading this simultaneaously with Internet & Computer Ethics for Kids I understand more of the terminology than before.

In the beginning of the Blue Nowhere, I could not believe how angry I became with Lara Gibson for leaving the bar with someone she wasn't 100% sure she knew. She should have trusted her instincts and had an employee walk her to the car. If she had truly known the friend's cousin he would have understood. Maybe my upbringing has a something to do with that. My dad always told me to trust my instincts and never ever doubt them. If my instincts were wrong I could always apologize later.

I am aware just how dangerous a place the web is, but I did not know there were hackers who did nothing else. Did hacking start as an innocent game or was there always evil intentions?
I have met students who could do more with computers than me. Do I need to be concerned they are future hackers? There are lists of symptoms of addicts, is there one for hackers? Hmm. . .