Transforming learning through global collaboration
DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP ~ GLOBAL AWARENESS
Written by Maureen Tumenas & Bill Krakower
Not a new dream.... Video telephony as imagined in the year 2000, as imagined in 1910.
However, governments around the globe have different ideas about how we can communicate online.
So, what is blocked, what is not and how does this affect digital citizenship?
One of the most important things we teach our students is to be ethical online. If, in order to connect to one another, in order to use certain tools, teachers and students must use a VPN or in some other way circumvent the established rules and procedures. Is this what we want our students to learn? Is OK to break the rules when you don’t agree with them? Or are we to teach them that government censorship interferes with free speech? Or shall we avoid these issues altogether? My reality, dealing with younger students, is that I do not have to confront the issue. If, however, you are working with older students, who in many countries are used to using twitter, facebook, youtube, etc. to communicate, you must set up and adhere to guidelines which are respectful of all students from all nations, without asking them to break rules. Is this possible? I don’t know. Is this a question that Flat Classroom resolved long ago?
If our own students circumvent the firewalls, set up proxy servers, etc, they are in violation of AUP policies. These policies were set up to protect the students, and the institutions. Is it OK to expect students and teachers in other countries to go around the barriers set up by the governments or local authorities in their countries? Should we ask our students to connect via Sina Weibo (Chinese equivalent of Twitter), so that the students in China do not have to use a VPN. This is soon to be available in with an English interface. Are we unwilling to subject our students to the restraints that their peers face in China or other nations with strong government run internet filters.
I honestly don’t know the answers to these questions. If, in order to participate in a Flat Classroom project, my kids had to jump into a VPN- I would probably say no. I would expect the project to be able to offer a level playing field for my students, tools that everyone can use. Is this always the case in our projects? Again, I don’t know the answer to this.
“Foreign-run VPNs illegal in China: govt.” “If there is no strict legal punishments on the violators in cyberspace, the negative factors will run wild to destroy the Internet order and even incite online violence, which will bring great damage to people and society.” This is the Chinese govt rationale.
“Rays” of Understanding:Global Awareness:
Safety is the most important part of doing any project no matter if it is online or offline. In today’s world students need to become experts in both become safe online and when they are out in the real world. Students need to be aware of what they should look out for when they are online and need to realize that not everyone are who they say the are.
Flat Classroom Five Step Guide
Copyright laws vary differently across the world. Fair Use is very different between what is allowed for unpublished school work and allowed for social media. This can have major effects on working on collaborative projects such as Flat Classroom Projects. Students and teachers need to be aware of what the they upload will be bound by different laws depending on where the website company is based.
For Flat Classroom Projects some guidelines:
As nationality transcends culture we must be aware of different expectations around sharing information, personal space, and be wary of discussions of a political nature. What does this mean in a flatclassroom project? What is it and what does it look like? 1. Are there global differences in netiquette? I don’t think so. It seems like we have developed some overarching guidelines online.Some Guidelines for Flatclassroom Projects
Two of the biggest barriers in global projects are time zone and language issues.Today we have the tools to help overcome some of these issues. We can use Timebridge or other scheduling tools to help schedule meetings. Access to the world clock either through the web, apps or even our watches, can help make us more aware of what our peers around the world are doing and help our students understand time zones, differences in climate between the North and South hemispheres, different school and vacation schedules. These are all considerations as we plan and progress through our global projects.
How can we overcome the language barriers between countries? We have tools that can help us, such as Google translate, but as many of us are aware, this tool and others like it cannot guarantee a correct translation. Mistakes can and will be made, and all parties need to understand and appreciate the limitations posed by any translation software. Even regional differences and dialects within the same language can cause issues and we, as teachers and students, must always be aware of these potential pitfalls. If we can discuss these with our peers and our students, ahead of time, we can help avoid problems as we try to collaborate with one another.
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Developing a strong PLN is critical as we work in a global environment. Some area of the world are easier to connect with, either due to language barriers or lack of, or because time zones make synchronous collaboration easier. Being or becoming a visible presence online is an important skill to teach our students. Students and teachers must also understand that different parts of the world can have a greater influences on your presences on Social Media. Some parts of the world have a great presences where some are not as strong as others.
Internet Censorship in China
The Political Transformation of the Middle East and Africa
How strict are Chinese copyright laws?
A Brief Introduction of Copyright and Its Different Aspects - Nepal