Beyond Classroom Tech Tips…

April 19, 2008

Creating Critical Consumers

Filed under: Professional Development,Social Networking — Donna DesRoches @ 11:24 pm
Tags: ,

Alec Couros was back in our school division this week. Our administrators arranged quite an intensive schedule for him and he spoke to students from grade 2 – 12, to teachers and to parents.

I had an opportunity to hear one of the presentations he made to parents and two things struck me in his comments. The first was that because the technology is not going to go away, we – parents and teachers – need to immerse ourselves in the technology so that we understand it and provide the guidance that kids need to use it wisely and ethically. If we don’t they will learn from each other – not always a bad thing – but parents and teachers can provide the foundation in social ethics that is often missing when students teach each other.

The second thing that struck me in Alec’s talk was the need to not only ensure that our students/children are critical consumers of information but that they are also critical producers.

I started to think of what this entails and generated a brainstormed list of what I thought students need to know to be critical producers:

  1. Knowing audience – where to post information (e.g. YouTube, GoogleVideo, FaceBook)
  2. Reading and understanding the ‘terms of service’ agreements posted post on social networking sites
  3. Providing attribution for other’s work/ideas used in the creation of a product
  4. Licensing one’s own work and providing terms for its use
  5. Knowing what personal information is necessary to create an online presence but also recognizing that certain information should not be shared
  6. Using appropriately the privacy settings on social networking sites where one’s work is posted and shared
  7. Respecting the rights and wishes of others to not have pictures or video of themselves posted online.
  8. Using photos and video of others with their permission
  9. Portraying other people in positive ways and not in ways that are hurtful or harmful.

What have I missed?

I also believe that these skills must be taught as students create and post their products online. This is not a separate information/technology literacy skill but an integral component of student production and should be built into the lessons and instructional strategies that we use



  1. I completely agree! I know that students need these skills, but we sometimes are forgetting to enforce them in our lessons when we really should be. If we can embed them into the lesson, as part of the lesson itself or the assignment, then students are more likely to take it seriously, and begin to consider these things on a regular basis (and hopefully on their own time). Thanks for posting the video, too! 🙂

    Comment by Priscilla — April 20, 2008 @ 4:48 pm | Reply

  2. This is specifically about blogs. I’m not sure how to define this but I also find a need for students to think about what they are saying. I’m blogging with grade 2-6 students and in the area of making comments I still have some students who’ll post a comment just for the sake of posting a comment. I realize this is partially my fault as we have to spend more time on quality comments but it is hard to get the students not to just type out the first thing in their heads. We need a writing process for blog (or other application) comments as well as for blog entries.

    Comment by Morag — April 20, 2008 @ 11:46 pm | Reply

  3. Morag – good point. I think writing a good comment takes skill and needs to be taught. Your comment sent me on a search and I found this great link from Anne Davis,, where she talks about the importance of comments and gives some very practical suggestions for teaching students how to make comment that make a difference.

    Comment by Donna DesRoches — April 21, 2008 @ 12:10 am | Reply

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