|Mr. Bill Genereux|
On March 25, 2011, I commented on his post titled "Kids At Work". In this post, he discussed a video from Jonathan Dale, a middle school teacher in Idaho. Mr. Dale video recorded his 5th grade students conducting a hands-on science experiment in the classroom. In the video, Mr. Dale is showing his students how to separate salt and pepper from a water solution. Any teacher who actually has passion for what they do would enjoy watching this video because you see students working together and having fun while learning. He does close-up shots on some of the children's faces and even uses their names; the classroom is also slightly loud and "chaotic". He has shared this video and is receiving some, well, unpleasant attention.
As we all know, their are risks when it comes to putting personal information about ourselves on the internet and people sometimes"freak out" when you put a child's picture/video on the internet for anyone to see. Mr. Genereux points out that, yes, there may be a few risks in sharing these things, but there are also risks in NOT sharing them. He also makes a good point when he says: "Because Jonathan Dale has taken the time to create and share a video, we get to see a positive message about school in a time when such messages are rare. I wish a thousand teachers would do what Dale is doing!" This cannot be said any better.
In my response to Mr. Genereux's post, I started off by replying to his comment about some people having a problem, or being uncomfortable, with the volume and chaoticness of the classroom. So what if it gets a little noisy and sometimes a little chaotic, seeing students actually enjoy learning is truly amazing; what better type of classroom is there? I also told him that I felt withholding videos such as Mr. Dale's, is also "damaging" and I shared a segment of one of my previous posts:
” “Ideas do not belong to us individually but they belong to us as a culture. We as educators must be in the business of sharing ideas freely.” This is such a powerful statement by Richard Miller. The internet, this virtual world, allows us to share our knowledge with people all over the world. As educators, if we are not sharing our ideas with other people, how can we even begin to say that we are doing our jobs?”
On March 26, 2011, Mr. Genereux made a post titled "Risks of Hidden Metadata", in which he shared a video from a newscast about the dangers of uploading pictures to the internet from smartphones. Being a smartphone user, this was very eye opening and I suggest everyone watch it! I immediately went in and changed the settings on my phone. It talks about the location detecting software that phones tend to come with now. For example, you can "check-in" your location on facebook and let everyone know where you are. Well, if you have tthis geotagging enabled for certain apps on your phone, you can upload pictures to the internet and anyone can see your EXACT location. The used an example and a mom took pictures of her daughter in their home in the daughters bedroom. They then uploaded the photos and they were able to pinpoint the photo's exact location to the child's bedroom, scary, right? This just goes to show how important it is that we know how to use, and protect ouselves from, the technology we have.
Mr. Genereux's response to the video pointed out several thought provoking points. First of all, he said, "If a picture of my kids appears in the newspaper along with their hometown, anyone with minimal technology skills could search the internet for the town name and their last name and easily come up with their home address. This feat has been possible for at least the past decade and a half. In fact, kids’ pictures have been appearing in newspapers and addresses in telephone books for decades, so why should I be freaked out if pictures from my phone provides the same information?" This is so true. People act like the internet is so dangerous but when compared to other forms of communication, such as a newspaper, you just about as many risks. Mr. Genereux very clearly states that this is merely because we don't fully understand all the newer technology and therefore we fear it, even though crime and serial killers existed way before computers were around.
Second, Mr. Genereux states, "I am far more concerned about the five registered offenders living in and around my hometown than I am about some “internet boogieman” who may be lurking out there, waiting to find my kids through hidden metadata in pictures of them posted online. The research is clear that posting personal information online does not by itself increase the risk to kids for victimization by predators. The real risk comes from risky behaviors of kids, and from parents who aren’t paying attention to them." A great deal of the "risks" we take when using the internet can be prevented simply from knowing how to use what we have and tweeking a few settings we have.