what is our obligations as educators?
Obligation is a big word to talk about. Obligation is a strong word in this sentence because it means having to do something as a result of a commitment you have made or a duty you have to fulfill. I would like to enlighten my thoughts about our obligation as educators. What is our moral, ethical and professional obligation as school teachers to prepare students for the world as it is and will be, rather than what was. Students should understand the power of using technology for some productive work within their limits. Using technology for something which is of no use, particularly for their age, is a mere waste of time and even technology. Online devices or any other tool made available to us is not just for searching content or blindly jotting notes down, they should be for creating and communicating new ideas. The main responsibility of a teacher is to be a facilitator rather than being just a teacher. He should communicate with students in such a way that the students are encouraged to learn and understand more and not take studies as a burden. The book by Doug Johnson’s “The Classroom Teacher’s Survival Guide to Technology” explains this. This book describes certain guidelines that I will definitely use to make the best use of available technology. This book has taught be some practical tips such as including the most up-to-date technologies in my classroom and making their effective use and managing “disruptive technologies (innovation that helps the students to create and communicate new ideas)” in the classroom, etc. which I can use to engage my students and make my classroom a place where both me and my students will enjoy learning.
Now where as iTunes, Podcast and their fair use is concerned, it is needed that we become aware about the copyright laws while downloading songs. I Tunes are licensed for individual use only and not for public use. I would like to state various examples here when the music is used for a public purpose rather than personal: during school assemblies, during school functions, dance shows, etc. Even the example of DJ’s will fit in here appropriately. This has been written about by Bob Moffett which also provides suggestions for avoiding potential copyright problems.
We have to start understanding and respecting copyright which is a problem for many. This is a serious topic which needs utmost attention. As an educator,I use accurate and practical guidelines when using and re-using media in student’s technology related projects. Many examples can be quoted regarding the violation of copyright laws ,one of them being that a man was arrested for copyright violation in Taiwan after he was caught selling photocopied Oxford University Press books online.
I do not think I would say that technology can be blamed for teaching a child how to cheat. Technology has given the child a way of copying and pasting. Children are getting used to copying homework (cheating) or assignments given to them from the internet that sometimes education seems pointless to me. In doing this, children are not solely responsible. Many websites such as Slader and Cramster etc. are available which makes it even easier for a child to indulge in this sort of cheating. Students should be made to understand that there is no use of this sort of “learning”. They are ultimately learning nothing. When this happens, the whole purpose of coming to school, learning something new and creating something new is killed.
Copyright wars also clue us into an upcoming fight over the destiny of general purpose computers. There are various methods such as encryption in which certain algorithms are used by which the data can be made unreadable to others and hence copyright violation can be controlled to some extent. Even a known programming language such as UNIX does not have its content encrypted. Another solution which came up was WIPO which made it illegal to extract secrets from unlocking programs. But then another question which comes up in my mind is that someone who is well verse in the field of computer and technology can easily break encryption or the ones supplied by WIPO. Well, I should definitely put forward the point that copyright wars are just a very small version of a long coming war on computation.
With time and better understanding, we can solve the problem of copyright law violation. A strong dedication, honesty and sincerity will definitely make us achieve the goal. Being a concerned citizen, I will start inculcating these laws in my students as well as people around me. I know I cannot make a big difference to the society as a whole but I can do my bit at least.