The proposed RUP that I helped develop with a team of a dozen or so SAU educators is beginning to make its way to Board meetings for approval. This article in the Exeter Newsletter is the first mention of the new policy in the press. I thought the reporter did a reasonable job representing the discussion at the meeting, although his reference to Board members “expressing concerns about giving students more freedom on the web” was a bit heavy. There was discussion amongst the Board, and his quotes were accurate, but I’m afraid that the flavor of the discussion will be lost in translation. The Board didn’t express “concerns” more so than just want to try to understand the full scope of the new policy.
What also strikes me is the reporter’s use of the words “giving students more freedom on the web.” Are we really giving them “more freedom”, or are we simply teaching them how to exercise an already existing freedom in a responsible and meaningful way?
I wrote some time ago about the inequities between teaching students about the dangers that revolve around sex, drugs and alcohol, yet pay no attention to the possible dangers of being an uninformed and unequipped user of web2.0 technologies. In many ways, we have yet to acknowledge the freedom that our students already have and along with that their inability to use that freedom for personal, political, or social good. While I understand his point about new found freedoms within the school, it’s important recognize that we are simply attempting to mimic the freedoms that students have outside of school in an effort to teach them how to use those freedoms more wisely.