Ethics & Intellectual Freedom

Knowledge Quest 39(1) articles I read:

Everyone Does It: Teaching Ethical Use of Social Technology by Annette Lamb

Internet Filtering 2.0: Checking Intellectual Freedom and Participative Practices at the Schoolhouse Door by Barbara Jansen

This week we are talking about Intellectual Freedom and Ethics. The Coatney chapter on Intellectual Freedom was a nice overview of the different parts of intellectual freedom you run into in schools. Adams addresses collection development, reconsideration of library media material, school filters, privacy, and advocating for intellectual freedom with in the school. In particular I liked the quote she pulled out on filters, “Filter a website, and you protect a student for a day. Educate students about online safety in the real world environment, and you protect your child for a lifetime” (p. 54). That quote elegantly summed up my feelings very well.

A lot of times when I think about Intellectual Freedom, my mind usually jumps from copyright to ethics, to online life management skills. I am particularly interested in the latter, especially with teenagers. I feel that they need to not only feel trusted by their school, but they also need help, and a place to discuss issues that come up in an online setting. Real life, and online life are not completely transferable, therefor, sometimes it is like comparing apples to oranges. I believe schools have a responsibility to their students to not only provide access to Web 2.0 tools, but also to teach them how to think and act ethically.

The two articles I read from Knowledge Quest focused a lot on this idea of needing to make sure students can access Web 2.0, and by denying them access, we are denying them their right to free speech, and free expression. While at the same time, it is necessary that students have a place where they learn more about ethical practices, and ways to think ethically. Lamb’s piece had a very Piagian thought behind it, focusing on where your students are developmentally. Students in elementary school are going to differ from teenagers on how they think about ethics. Teaching ethics is not so much about what is right and wrong, but more helpful to help develop moral reasoning.

Lastly, these readings reminded me that I wanted to read It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by Danah Boyd. I think I’m so interested in this topic of moral reasoning, and teenagers use of Web 2.0 partly because the teenage years are a vulnerable time, and I feel that social media may in some ways increase that vulnerability. I also feel that from my own experience, my generation, and before me, we all had to learn the ropes of the Internet and Internet safety on our own, and as things change. We didn’t talk about online life management. While I’ve made it, and in high school already felt I was thinking outside of “Everyone is doing it” mentality, I think it could be a powerful addition to students’ curriculum.


2 thoughts on “Ethics & Intellectual Freedom

  1. kmfont says:

    “online life management skills” is a phrase you use here and mentioned in class today. I’ve never heard it phrased this way but see it as a very powerful statement.

    • foresterkma says:

      I’m not entirely sure where I picked up/came up with that phrase, but it is something I’ve been playing around with since I came to SI. I think we assume that our regular life skills are transferable to online, which I think some are, but the anonymity of the internet, and/or it’s ephemeral appearance presents a different set of issues.

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