Is Safe Use a Worthy Goal?

People also need to practice playing by themselves. I read recently how kids are losing their imaginations because the toys are too detailed. There isn’t room to create their “own” idea of what that car or fort or whatever looks like or what it will do. We become too literal. We need to be able to fill in the blanks with our own creations. Build our confidence so we’re not afraid to play out loud with others. To not practice self-censorship. 
Source: Nicole Jordan's Mom at Hands-On Play Crucial to Problem Solving
Does focusing on safety result in self-censorship in schools today?
 “The research reveals that educators increasingly rely on Web 2.0 technologies, resulting in positive teacher and student outcomes. To foster effective use across all classrooms and ensure equitable learning opportunities, districts need to provide safe Web 2.0 access, enhanced teacher professional development, and robust support systems.”
Sylvia Martinez (GenYesBlog) shares the quote above based on the results of this vendor-funded (e.g. LightSpeed, NetTrekker, Atomic Learning) study. The question that comes to my mind when reading this study is centered around one word--SAFE.

Should districts provide safe Web 2.0 access, enhanced teacher professional development and robust support systems? If the word "safe" is taken out, what is the effect? If left in, what is the impact?

If I am a company like NetTrekker, focused on providing "safe" resources to school districts, it's critical that the word "safe" appear in the recommendation, right? That's not a critique of the quality of service NetTrekker provides, only a reflection on our ability to be critical as we read the results of the study.

If we leave the word safe in, we see school districts slamming the door to Web 2.0 resources and providing the training that perpetuates the status quo. It is fear-mongering because the focus is on isolating our children through the use of tools we enjoy complete control over. It also means that our children learn our system rather than the tools they need to be competitive. In a strange irony, schools that lack the funding to filter enjoy greater access to that which they will need to help children be successful collaborators and communicators.

Schools that cast-aside the word safe in front of "Web 2.0 access" throw open the doors to innovation and learning that is rife with meaning and rich content. While undoubtedly people will encounter inappropriateness, robust support systems can deal with it.

What lessons do we learn from Finding Nemo?




Image References
Is it safe? http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcT9UfbbEhmtnnB67AgojlZSHG6YBzqo4s4lo9WnyfqQC5IwIBg0&t=1

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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