Hands Off! It’s MINE

Everything is a REMIX by Kirby Ferguson really got me thinking and challenged my beliefs. Where do ideas come from? Is it really truly my own idea if it was inspired by someone or something else (which was inevitably created by someone else)?

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Ideas come from inspiration. That inspiration could be from a problem, another idea, a person, a thing. The bottom line is though that we live in an interconnected society. Ideas are merely thoughts built on other people’s thoughts. For example, let’s say I get this great idea from a song. Well, is that idea really mine? It was inspired by the song….which someone else wrote. So does this intellectual property (the idea) technically belong to both of us?
It’s fascinating to think about intellectual property these days and the hold we have on it. Kirby does a great job illustrating losses versus gains, and how humans react to it all. When we want to borrow (or steal!) ideas from others, we don’t seem to have a problem, but when something is taken from us, watch out! It’s funny how we humans can be quite hypocritical. I was shocked to watch Steve Jobs talk about how Apple stole ideas left and right in an interview back in 1996 but then said how he was going to “destroy Android” in 2010 because they were copying Apple. It’s fine when we do something, but when that same thing is done to us, it is no longer okay. Just ask my 5-year-old. It’s completely fine for Hannah to play with her younger sister’s toys. But it is definitely NOT fine for Eva to even think about touching hers.

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I feel like I’m on a pendulum with respect to my views of online privacy. One minute, I think we need privacy to protect us, and then after reading a COETAIL colleague’s post, I change my mind and believe that  privacy can almost be a hindrance.

I think I’ve now settled someplace in the middle. (I guess ‘settled’ is a relative term–as a lifelong learner, I promised myself and my students never to ‘settle!’)

I do believe that complete privacy is no good. Putting a wall around yourself makes you strictly a consumer. It’s a one-way street. No collaborative or connected learning going on there. You are simply receiving information, and then doing what with it? Bouncing ideas off of each other is what cultivates learning, growing, and even better ideas!

On the other end of the spectrum, having no privacy is also no good. The Target article about how Target knew a teen was pregnant before her own father shocked me. I had no idea that companies would go to that length to make a buck. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me; it just disgusts me a little. The fact that we are being profiled with every click we make can be a bit worrisome. I wasn’t happy when Facebook changed its ways a few months ago so that everyone could see whose page I just ‘liked’ and whose photos I was looking at and where I made a comment and what I said. I think it’s just going above and beyond. Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for Facebook. It’s been incredible for me to be able to keep in touch with family and friends while living overseas. When I return in the summer, I don’t have to play ‘catch-up’ so much. However, I think it all is a bit stalker-like for me:).

Sooooooo, what kind of privacy do I want for my students and my own children as they grow as digital natives? As each day passes, more connections are being made across the globe. Those connections are learning opportunities.  Nowadays we are all google-able. Finding a long-lost friend or an e-pen pal on the other side of the world can happen within seconds at the clicks of our fingers. Because of that, I want my students and my children to be connected with the world, and therefore, we maybe need to give up some of their privacy. At the same time, I want to protect them. However, I cannot be with them every day and all hours of each day. So how do I ensure their protection? Well, first of all, I can’t completely ensure it. They may (actually, most likely will) fail; afterall, true learning comes from making mistakes! But what I CAN do is help mold them into good digital citizens. This is something that needs to be TAUGHT, not ignored because it’s not part of the curriculum or because we are afraid of what students might find on the internet. We need to suit our students and children with tech-savvy armor and let them learn through being a connected member of our digital society.

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One thought on “Hands Off! It’s MINE

  1. Love the title of your blog ;-) Scary enough, this how some governments think about the internet; or rather how they would like control the internet. I read an interesting article this morning about taking control of the internet in the Guardian (link to guardian.co.uk). This article confirms how even governments are afraid of what people might find on the internet. It’s amazing how powerful Facebook is. Enjoy the read.

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