INF506 / OLJ Task

INF506 – Mod 5.2 Did You Know 4.0

As this video’s authors put it, ‘Shift Happens’, and when it does, teacher need to be there to ensure our students have the tools to be successful and responsible digital citizens. I’ve taken 5 ‘shifts’ that I felt are most important to the secondary school learning environment and are in need of information policy or direction.

(0:47) Print circulation: newspaper circulation is down 7 million over the last 25 years. Online readers: But in the last 5 years, unique readers of online newspapers are up 30 million.

More and more reading, leisure and educational, is happening in a digital format. Secondary students need to be exposed to it regularly, not only so they develop the skills necessary for online reading and note taking, but also to ensure students recognise that digital text has the same copyright and ownership laws as printed text, and copy and paste is not ok. This trend also points to a preference for online reading, over traditional text, so platforms need to be available in schools for these formats to be read such as online readers, e-readers, etc.

(1:45) 95% of all songs downloaded last year weren’t paid for.

Information policy in schools needs to be very clear about copyright and ownership laws and that illegally downloading at school (or anywhere for that matter), or using illegally downloaded material for school work, is against the law and will not be tolerated (Dearnley & Feather, 2001, p. 69). This should include educating students what the laws are and why they are in place to teach them how to be upstanding digital citizens. Creative Commons teaching can be included in policy to provide a way for students to legally use and interact with internet material, and inversely, also safeguard their own original material from misuse by others.

(1:51) Wikipedia launched in 2001. It now features over 13 million articles in more than 200 languages.

The popularity of Wikipedia in the research process by students cannot be denied.  After Google, it is probably the most visited site when students are researching for school purposes. Is Wikipedia to be used as a legitimate source of information for a secondary school assignment? Is it to only be used in the initial stages of research but cannot be used as a reference on a bibliography? These are questions that need to be addressed in secondary schools and would be answered in a type of information policy or guide of acceptable web practices.

(2:58) Obama leveraged online social networks to raise $55 million in those 29 days.

Social networking and social media aren’t a fad, they are a way of life and their use cannot be pushed under the rug in the school environment – ‘is Facebook allowed to be used on school computers?’; ”can teachers use social media sites to communicate with students?’. School Information policy needs to be updated to include acceptable uses, and acceptable sites for access in the school environment. Although SN and SM sites are ubiquitous these days, they still need to be regulated in schools so that best practices can be upheld and misuse is clearly outlined (Bryson, 2007, p. 126).

(3:08) Among larger U.S. companies, 17% have disciplined an employee for violating blog or message board policies.

In the school environment, it is our responsibility as educators to teach students correct and appropriate ‘netiquette’, at school and in their future workplace. The ubiquitous social media sites mentioned in the trend are common place for all secondary students these days, but do they know what’s appropriate to post on them and what isn’t? This is a skills to be taught and practiced in school, along with teaching of one’s digital footprint and how posting material on the web can be circulated.

At the same time as we are teaching students about netiquette and digital citizenship, teachers and staff themselves will need an information policy in the school to establish appropriate workplace use and be used as ‘guides to decision making’ (Bryson, 2007, p. 130).



Dearnley, J., & Feather, J. (2001). Information policy. The wired world: An introduction to the theory and practice of the information society (pp. 60-93). London: Library Association. [CSU Reserve]

Bryson, J. (2007). Chapter 10: Policy making. Managing information services: A transformational approach (pp.125-130). Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate e-Book. [ebook]


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