Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Their Space: Educating Digitally Ethical Teens #sxswedu #theirspace

Notes from SXSWedu 2012 Concurrent Session

Kalmus (@TedKalmus) & de Haan (@TeachWithIntent) (TeachWithIntent.com)

Storify Archive of this Session (also embedded below): http://is.gd/ethicalyouth

Students like to track themselves online when shown how to do that. About three years ago presenters started to notice a shift to more social media use by middle schoolers. Had questions about how to deal with 10 and 11 year olds and their concrete thinking.

20% of the 6th graders they surveyed in their Seattle school had Facebook accounts. By high school, this rises to 90%. Smart phones also have a high adoption rate.

One of the things they think about is moving kids into a position of reflective growth - how to they see themselves as learners and what is the environment I'm moving in like? Then add an ethical layer - how do I operate in these environments. Help kids leverage all of the resources available to them as they assess where they are and what they want.

When students move outside of the classroom, they have to apply what they learn. That's why meta-cognition is so important.

Time and space do not have the same meaning for kids today that they do to us. The internal sense of change adolescents have is still out of sync with what is really happening around them.

2009 - Meeting of the Minds - important work from Common Sense Media on perceptions of social media ethics.

Cyberbullying is a difficult concept to define for adolescents, but if you talk about "flaming" or "posing", you can have more meaningful interaction. We latch on to what we recognize.

de Haan found a video via a Google Alert of a video shot on a school field trip of students setting a bush on fire, including students jumping over and through it. Also includes footage of teachers intervening, saying things they probably would not want on camera. Students also shared their names online.

These same students would tell you that at school they would never post their full names or identifying information. But that applies to school for them. It's not generalized to their outside of school behavior.

What were you thinking? - That's how we as adults react. We have to process the cognitive dissonance and lack of transference.

Kids between 11 and 14 go through the greatest period of brain development after age four. The parts of the brain that deal with planning and cause and effect are firing for the first time. They often refer to trial-and error tactics to figure things out, much like they did when they were toddlers. There is often superficial evaluation of online communities. Subject to a lot of polling feedback.

They are unaware of the digital tattoo - the permanence of data. This permanence can be a positive thing. It often has to be set before the students in very concrete ways to help them process what they are doing. The gaffes they commit in early teens can set the stage for what they do when they are 16, 17, etc.

A woman who works for a company that offers memberships to Tweens for movie editing noted that when they suspend accounts for inappropriate use, parents often step in and question the company's actions.

Presenters point out that parents have to be brought in on these conversations and helped to understand the consequences of online activity. In their school, they now have 8th graders who do presentations for parents (after a great deal of training).

If you ask a 10 year old if they have a digital identity, they will say no, even if they've been on Club Penguin. We are creating a division that does not exist for them. Digital identity is part of their total identity, not separate.

Young people still fallaciously think that the sender controls the message and that misrepresentation does not equal lying. Adults think their digital representations should line up with who they really are. Students are still finding their identities, so this idea does not resonate with them.

Digital Identity: A representation of self created by self or others, definded through accessible digital information, as perceived by a viewer (self or other).

Can you move fluidly back and forth between who you are online and who we are in real life? Teens have the opportunity and onus of branding themselves online.

We don't stop teaching kids about driving they day they get their driver's licenses. Students with the healthiest online identities have ongoing conversations with their parents, who are mentoring them as they cultivate their online presence.

Adults in children's lives need to be managers, coaches, and mentors.

A practical thing these educators have done with students: give them real world scenarios and have them classify as if someone's actions were being intentional or unintentional and whether it had a negative impact or positive impact. Ex: Your mom posts an old photo of you running naked through a sprinkler. Intentional to hurt? Unintentional? Negative or positive impact? This answer varies depending on the student. Same question can be asked in real-world situations, like sexting. (Photo of classification grid used with students: http://yfrog.com/kk1lmalj)

Another example: Use media to talk about perception, reality vs. unreality. Examples: Ender's Game, The Hunger Games, Inception, Matrix.

Navigating in the public space takes practice, reflection, and will include missteps.

Below is the online archive of this presentation: