After viewing a camera phone video of students staging a mock fight, Chicago school administrators are pondering whether to hold classes to teach responsible use of the Internet, according to the Chicago Tribune.
School officials saw students staring at a cellular phone watching a video of a staged fight — shoving matches — by eighth graders in a bathroom. The students, from Benjamin Middle School, were going to post the video on YouTube, the article says.
The students were suspended for one to four days and their parents were called in to school. Officials “are considering offering classes on blogging and video techniques to channel misguided activities into productive learning,” the Chicago Tribune says. I think all schools — beginning with the elementary grades — should teach classes about technology and the Internet.
Teaching the teachers
Unfortunately, many teachers and officials are apprehensive that their students know more about technology than they do, and they are often correct. That says more about the competence of educators than the students.
The article reports that since 2006 almost 1,000 security personnel at Chicago’s public school have been trained about popular Web sites, such as MySpace, Facebook and Xenga, “to help maintain safety.” Schools officials tell the Chicago Tribune that a student who goes into a bathroom to shoot a video could slip and hurt slip and hit his or her head. Officials also say the mock fights could turn into real fights.
All that certainly is true. But it’s not just security personnel who should be up to speed on the dangers — and advantages — of the Internet. The Internet cuts across all disciplines.
Chicago school officials say the current code of conduct for students doesn’t address such issues as YouTube or staging fake fights, and they might ask the school board to update the codes. Good idea. It’s also a good idea to make sure teachers and administrators are updated on the Internet.