We need to be mindful of political spin

This blog is in response to the online cyber safety course I recently completed. I have been fortunate enough to have been to two separate parent cyber safety sessions run by my children’s schools. I think there was a lot of content that was just skimmed over. Was this my complacent attitude to my studies this morning, or a case of information overload?

As a part of the professional development participants were required to answer a series of questions in the form of a survey to indicate personal computer usage and practices. Here is where I lost focus and respect for an otherwise well intentioned program. One needs to consider the motive behind any means of text and communication. What is it that is being said, who does it benefit? In this case the intent is to provide teachers with the knowledge to teach students how to be active and informed citizens. Perfectly reasonable. But is it?

The cynic in me is drawn to the use of survey data. Is this recorded, who has access to this data? The responses offered ranged from every day, 2-3 times a week and then jumped to once a fortnight and then never. If the results are to be considered critically how can such a wide range give an effective indication of actually usage? It seems to me the results have been slanted toward responses that indicate an increased use beyond what is the reality. Does this then serve the company that later offers an endorsement to a full day professional development package? 

Perhaps this is the biggest take away from this course. Let’s teach our students to consider more then just the overt aims of the author when viewing online materials.

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One comment

  1. Good to see some critical reflection on the Connect.ed modules. As with any set of learning materials it does reflect the biases and aims of the producer (the learning paths are no different) and don’t always cover all perspectives or fit well with all learners. On the plush side, Connect.ed is produced by a government funded body, so a little less commercial intent than most (but still some).

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