Mission Statement & Online Activity…

The Mission Statement of Portmarnock Community School (the school I teach in) reads

  • To instil a spirit of intellectual enquiry and academic endeavour
    • To foster the desire for participation and challenge
    • To build individual and compassionate men and women of character

How many of us have ever considered our Mission Statement in the light of the online activity we promote in our schools?

Teacher and Moodler Matt Bury writes

Almost all websites have surveillance software in place, otherwise known as analytics, that gathers user data, i.e. users’ IP addresses, operating system and browser details, cookies from previously visited sites, navigation and mouse movements, etc., which can be aggregated to compile comprehensive profiles on individual users. What websites do with this data is of paramount importance to teachers’ and learners’ personal privacy. We should insist on using websites whose revenue strategies are transparent and aligned with our policies and mission statement (My emphasis).

This is quiet a challenge – students are sometimes let “play games” in the computer room with all sorts of advertising flickering on the screen.

I use the RTÉ (Irish state broadcaster) Player in some classes and occasionally have an “interval” advertisement for alcohol.

Bury’s recent blog posting is entitled a Thorny Issue: Protecting teachers’ and learners’ right to privacy. You can read it here (about six pages).

Bury starts from the premise “Learners’ personal privacy and data security are our responsibility if we require them to use web services.”

I have become interested recently in how websites collect information on my browsing habits. Do websites collect information on our schools browsing habits?

I blogged about this previously and promoted the Firefox extension, Targeted Advertising Cookie Opt-Out (here).

I am currently reflecting on geotagging (through Twitter) and trying to get my head around the advantages and disadvantages of same (see my last post).

The purpose of this reflection is to bring something worthwhile to my colleagues and the students I teach.

I promote and have blogged often about digital citizenship – that is where I can meet the mission statement requirement to foster a desire for participation and challenge.

Bury is directing us to consider in a deeper way about what happens when we introduce teachers and colleagues to the web – it is more than Internet safety in the traditional sense – it is an Internet savviness or shrewdness.

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