The Fundamental Elements of Netiquette:
Netiquette can be simply defined as “etiquette on the Internet” but it encompasses many rules and expected behaviors (http://www.techterms.com/definition/netiquette).
As teachers and students increasingly use internet and electronic resources in the classroom, the etiquette teachers teach their students beginning once they start school needs to be extended to netiquette, or the proper behaviors teachers and students are expected to display when using the internet. Just as students are instructed in etiquette as early as kindergarten (Clean up when you spill, Don’t cut in the lunch line, Wait your turn, Say kind words to classmates), students should be taught netiquette as soon as students are going online.
Redhead Plus One. (2013). Netiquette Lesson Plan. http://redheadsplusone.blogspot.com/2013/01/netiquette-lesson-plan.html
TechTerms. (2013). Netiquette). Retrieved from http://www.techterms.com/definition/netiquette
Why Netiquette is a Hot Topic:
Besides being online, many students have cell phones and use them to communicate. Some might argue students don’t necessarily use the internet for interacting with other students while at school and therefore it is not needed until this is so. They might further argue that it is the parent’s responsibility to teach the students proper behavior online as they are the ones providing cell phones and allowing students to be on social media sites. While some students might come into the classroom familiar with best behaviors from home while other students might not have that background.as Jennifer (Blogger at Redhead Plus One) argues on her blog “we are talking about kids who don’t get these kinds of lessons at home, and so it makes sense that they don’t get the next step. It’s a learned skill, and hey — we’re teachers! Works out well” (http://redheadsplusone.blogspot.com/2013/01/netiquette-lesson-plan.html) The sensitivity and etiquette training that occurs in the classroom should extend to online. Providing instruction on Netiquette makes students aware that they are engaging with other students, real people. This awareness at a young age can help put a face to the invisible actions that occur online Learning simple courtesy and polite behavior online can lead to an awareness of the student’s own online presence and the impact it can have leading to better behavior as they get older when it comes to social networking and cyber-bullying issues.
Netiquette in relation to teachers
In their own professional practice, teachers face difficulties in relation to netiquette when emailing, and when interacting with peers, other professionals, and students online. It is important for one to be aware of tone. The tone one has with a person varies based on who the other person is and what their relationship with the person. For example, with a peer who one is more familiar with, a teacher might take on a more joking tone. With a peer or higher up whom one is less familiar with it is best to exclude jokes, emoticons, and off topic messages. Likewise with students, no matter how comfortable one feels with them or what great relationship one has, it is important to keep your tone and content professional. No matter how wonderful and professional your in-person relationship may be with the students, material posted online can be seen by all and can be interpreted any which way. Secondly, when posting materials online teachers need to make sure the materials are approopaortiate and ensure the material is worthy of being posted online. Does it fit the content of the venue we are posting on? Is the material of a quality that it would add and be beneficial to others? Solutions to these problems include having netiquette be a part of pre-professional instruction as well as beginner teacher professional development. A negative to having it a part of these areas is that some might chafe at what they view as redundant instruction of something they already know. With professional development, there may not be the resources in the form of time, money, and instruction available to provide the PD to new teachers.
Netiquette in terms of students:
Students should be provided with netiquette instruction from a young age. For example, Korea prides itself on their netiquette instruction in schools:
It is pertinent that students receive this instruction as they would any other social skill instruction. Students might be prepared to live successfully in our current world. We know now that so much of our professional interactions are online, it is only obvious that it will be even more so when students are in careers. Just like the Common Core standards are seeking to make student’s college and career ready, so must schools make student’s college and career ready in terms of knowing appropriate and polite behavior online.
a) Albion. (2011). Netiquette Home Page. Retrieved from http://www.albion.com/netiquette
This Albion site provides “summary and detail information about Netiquette”, which includes “The Core Rules of Netiquette” and The Netiquette Quiz.
b) Boston Public Library. (2001). Netiquette for Kids. Retrieved from http://www.bpl.org/kids/netiquette.htm.
This Boston Public Library site offers tips for kids about netiquette.
c) European Schoolnet. (2013). Safe. Retrieved from http://dotsafe.eun.org/.
This site provides an introduction to netiquette including general netiquette, message content and layout, and legal considerations.
d) Networketiquette. (2013). Netiquette. Retrieved from http://networketiquette.net/.
This website provides resources for both teachers and students to explore on netiquette.. This includes a page for students (http://networketiquette.net/studentk12.html) which provides 10 guidelines as well as more specific rules per age spectrum (elementary, middle school).
e) Ramya, M. 2011. Lessons in netiquette. Retrieved from http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-05-04/chennai/29508330_1_older-students-cyber-ethics-curriculum
This New York Times article provides an interesting insight into lessons on netiquette, creating awareness among teachers to encourage them to reach the students on this “cyber ethics” area.
f) Study Guides and Strategies Website. (2011). Netiquette. Retrieved from http://www.studygs.net/netiquette.htm.
This site provides The Ten Commandments of Email Netiquette as well as many guidelines to emailing.
g) University of Illinois. (2012. Netiquette 101: Being Civilized and Safe Online. Retrieved from http://www.uni.illinois.edu/library/computerlit/netiquette.php
The University of Illinois offers “Netiquette 101” with five basic guidelines, including “The no-brainer stranger-danger stuff” and “Having a Life”.
Materials & Resources
CTE Online. (2012). What is Netiquette. Retrieved from http://www.cteonline.org/portal/default/Curriculum/Viewer/Curriculum?action=2&view=viewer&cmobjid=265517
This lesson plan from California provides a quality introduction to netiquette, although the videos used are a little off. The lesson is aimed towards grades 9-10 but it is still a good lesson to use when creating netiquette rules in the classroom regardless of the age.
“Blurring the Lines: Lesson plan on netiquette” is a PowerPoint that is very thorough with objectives and 10 rules of netiquette.
- IUPVideo1875. (2011). Internet Safety for Kids K-3.Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89eCHtFs0XM
This video is a wonderful resource to use with young kids. The cartoon presentation is child friendly and could easily be adapted for young children.
Every day, schools across the country face the challenges and legalities of Internet use in the classroom. Issues such as privacy are a concern that must be addressed while looking out for the educational interests of students. In the modern technological world, millions of individuals are subject to privacy threats.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html was designed to assure students’ access to their own educational records and to protect their privacy. FERPA’s prohibits disclosure of educational records or personally identifiable information without the express consent of the student.
Internet privacy consists of privacy over the media of the Internet: the ability of individuals to control what information one reveals about oneself over the Internet, and to control who can access that information.
Privacy is a major concern for all Internet users, but it is becoming more difficult to expect a reasonable expectation of privacy online. One of the problems with Internet privacy is that many users assume that they have control over their information. This is often not the case, particularly when they engage in activities such as online social networking, which is essentially based upon sharing of personal information.
Why is Privacy a Hot Topic
The things we do and say online leave behind ever-growing trails of personal information. With every click, we hand over our conversations, emails, photos, location information and much more.
In today’s age of privacy laws and identity protection, teachers seem to have a larger responsibility to protect students’ privacy than they have in the past. Previously, teachers only needed to use their own discretion when working with students and their families, now laws govern some of those interactions.
Due to its very nature, the Internet is NOT a safe or secure environment. It is an ever-changing medium where anyone and everyone can voice their opinions, share their ideas, demonstrate new technologies, publish software applications, and connect with others. To this end, it represents great potential in education as a means to the free exchange of ideas and learning tools. However, there is also plenty of room for mischief, obscenity, vulgarity, and even danger. School administrators and technology managers know that to balance the opportunities the Internet provides with the risks its poses requires a formal and decisive plan for technology use in the school.
Teachers as Technology Role Models
The most important rule to remember is that teachers are role models for students. When they demonstrate safe surfing, evaluate Web sites for usefulness and validity, and open e-mail only from trusted sources, they are paving the way for the students. It is their job, along with parents, to teach them about responsible Internet use and privacy. Modeling and class discussions about these issues are worth the time.
Privacy Responsibilities in Schools
- Password management is becoming very important because they are a big risk. Many schools have teachers and administration change their password every few months to minimize the risks.
- A teacher cannot leave egradebook accessible where others can view it. Egradebooks require passwords but it is not protected from view if open.
- Teacher cannot post scores or grades in such a way that a third party can identify the student(s).
- Students may evaluate each other’s work in class as long as it has not been graded by the teacher.
- Teacher may not disclose student information in any public setting without the student’s express written consent. For example, teacher can only use a student’s work as an example in class if the work does not have a name or a grade.
- Teacher may discuss a student’s information with another faculty member as long as there is a legitimate “need to know.” If discussing a student and his or her work is necessary for the faculty members to perform their jobs (e.g., discussing how to help a common student who is failing), then it is permissible to do so. Be careful when discussing a student over e-mail. An e-mail can be printed, forwarded and made public.
- Information posted on the school Website: Publication on the Internet is considered a “disclosure” of information from the education record and must comply with FERPA. Information in the aggregate can be posted if students are not identified. However, directory information may be posted (released) without parental consent and in compliance with FERPA. That is why it is important to request, in writing, that the school not release directory information about the student.
- All school-supported clubs and organizations must comply with FERPA regulations. However, for activities like little league or soccer clubs, photographs are often taken and even posted on Web sites that are not associated with the school. This is not governed by FERPA
- Surveillance cameras throughout the halls in the schools are permitted. Since the Columbine school shootings in 1999, many schools have installed surveillance cameras in an effort to keep schools safe. Cameras may be placed in areas except those where individuals would have a “reasonable expectation of privacy,” such as restrooms. Many schools are now installing cameras in the classrooms as well as hallways and common areas.
- Regardless of the potential benefits of teachers connecting with their students through social networking sites, in some cases the content of these websites may ultimately damage the teacher’s career. In the state of Missouri has passed a law making it illegal for state teachers to friend their students on any social networking. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/43992926/#.UVhyXqDcshx
Awareness for student’s privacy
- Educate students that photos can be digitally altered, and promote discussions on how this can impact the way people feel about their appearance.
- Explore with students the risks and responsibilities of carrying out relationships in the digital world with students.
- YouTube offers a variety of Internet Safety videos for children such as Garfield teaching ‘YAPPY” (see link below). Don’t share personal information with strangers and people online:
One starting point is the now common practice of signed statements called Acceptable Use Policies, or AUPs. Typically, the AUP describes the privilege (not the right) of computer use and/or Internet access for students and teachers in the school, as well as some guidelines and penalties for violations of the agreement. Most AUPs also include both a definition of what is and is not acceptable use and a disclaimer releasing the school from certain liabilities. The AUP will have a signature section. It is to be reviewed and completed by the student, parent/guardian, and a district representative. By signing, all parties are showing that they understand their obligations and that usage rights can be revoked upon misuse.
The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), in addition to requiring districts to monitor student use of the Internet and to implement technology protection measures, mandates the development of an Internet safety plan that addresses the unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal identification information regarding minors. School districts need to consider a variety of issues as they attempt to comply with this safety plan requirement. Those issues include the following.
1- Student Records
2- Disclosure of Student Information on School Web Sites
3- Disclosure of Confidential Student Information in Staff E-Mail
4- Disclosure of Confidential Student Information in Student E-Mail
5- Student Self-Disclosure of Personal Information
1- http://www.eschoolnews.com/2011/11/11/10-ways-schools-are-teaching-internet-safety/ 10 ways schools are teaching internet safety. Using third-party resources and having students act as investigators are some of the many ways educators are teaching about online safety and responsibility
2- http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/archives/internet.shtml – Education World- on the Internet. Among many links related to Internet, there is one about ensuring student privacy on the Internet.
3- http://safety.lovetoknow.com/Internet_Safety_Lesson_Plans – Internet safety Lesson Plans
4- http://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/lesson/whats-big-deal-about-internet-privacy-6-8 – What is the big deal about Internet Privacy lesson plans
5- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPFZObMOPuA- Professor Garfield – Internet Safety for kids- part 1
6- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1XjTwZg_hg- Professor Garfield- Internet Safety for kids- part 2
7- http://www.teachersfirst.com/spectopics/safety.cfm – Internet Safety Resources.
http://www.aclu.org/technology-and-liberty/internet-privacy- Private companies are tracking as people online.
https://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs18-cyb.htm- Online privacy: Using the Internet Safely
http://www.techopedia.com/definition/24954/internet-privacy – Internet privacy definition.
http://www.ehow.com/info_8700551_teachers-responsibilities-student-confidentiality.html-Teacher’s responsibilities for student confidentiality.
http://www.glencoe.com/sec/teachingtoday/educationupclose.phtml/39- Internet Safety and Security- What teachers need to know.
In order to act professionally, an educator is expected to follow established codes of ethics for educators. The NEA has published such a code: (http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/2012-NEA-Handbook-Code-of-Ethics.pdf). It defines the standards and skills educators need to exhibit in order to show that they are responsible, dedicated, and trustworthy professionals with their students’ best interests at heart. Local school districts often will employ a modified version of that code of ethics; in addition, they will hold their employees and students accountable to an Acceptable Use Policy as a standard for proper behavior with technology use. As the integration of educational technology becomes the norm for forward-thinking 21st century classrooms, administrators, educators, students, and the community at large are facing unprecedented issues. In the document “2010 Common Core of Teaching: Foundation Skills,” the Connecticut State Department of Education defines standards for skills and competencies of teachers and separates them into six distinct domains. Under Domain 6, which pertains to professional responsibilities and teacher leadership, one can find “using communication technology in a professional and ethical manner” indicating a need to address potential ethical issues educators might face when using technology, and more particularly when utilizing social media. In a 2009 interview, Professor Howard Gardner effectively states what some of these ethical matters comprise, namely: trust (“whom should you trust and why should you be trusted?”); privacy (“what’s your stance on privacy and other’s privacy?”); and ownership and authorship (“should it be respected or ignored?”).
An especially problematic area in regards to the use of technology by teachers is in the potential for improper interactions with students via social media. Cases involving inappropriate behavior through social media (on digital media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter) have prompted lawmakers and school districts to review their stances on teacher/student communication through social media. Many districts have even banned such interactions entirely. As Jordan Bienstock of CNN writes in the School of Thought blog, (http://schoolsofthought.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/20/students-teachers-and-social-networking/), the State of Missouri has passed a bill totally prohibiting any electronic communication between teachers and students in order to prevent any possible predatory behavior on the part of educators. In less clear-cut instances, some teachers have been reprimanded for posting pictures deemed unacceptable on their social media profiles. Inappropriate behavior can range from showing alcohol or drug use, depicting lewd behavior or using curse words. In 2009, Barrow County teacher Ashley Payne had to resign from her position after administrators were pointed to her Facebook page by an anonymous source. According to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article by Maureen Downey dated October 10, 2011 Ms. Payne’s Facebook account had been “set to the highest privacy levels and limited to Payne’s adult friends. Payne also posted that she was headed out to play Crazy Bitch Bingo, a popular game played weekly at an Atlanta restaurant.” There, administrators found a picture of Ms. Payne “with an alcoholic drink and a posted curse word” (http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/archives/54501/, August 16, 2011. Accessed by ARC on 03/25/2013). Ms. Payne claims she was forced to resign and has since lost her lawsuit against the Barrow County school district. Cases like Ms. Payne’s have brought newfound concerns into the spotlight, particularly in regards to teachers’ privacy rights and what constitutes professional behavior in and out of the classroom (in both the virtual and real worlds) on the part of educators.
http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/2012-NEA-Handbook-Code-of-Ethics.pdf (NEA Code of Ethics)
http://schoolsofthought.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/20/students-teachers-and-social-networking/ (Article on students, teachers and social networking)
https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:o8IABBx2jlAJ:www.sde.ct.gov/sde/lib/sde/pdf/educatorstandards/board_approved_cct_2-3-2010.pdf+state+department+of+education+of+ct+educators+standards+board+approved+cct+2+3+2010&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgnllvIM00l6-FcKqFB0yd65f_AeN4h5pwDvlELH3h6ysrvhqER6TGUk_DmnyG4ifXKZf3HZICvnuMFwPpOq_O5daCsdbmaRZrjO37O2lUnw2SdWWf54o9jd8Dg3tl1KutUQKTo&sig=AHIEtbSBz8caQU7QpWfTrmsu04KcTfSliA (Connecticut State Department of Education, 2010 Common Core of Teaching: Foundation Skills)
http://www.edutopia.org/whats-next-2008-netiquette-guidelines (Article on online manners as it pertains to educators)
http://thejournal.com/articles/2013/03/07/controlling-social-media-current-policy-trends-in-k12-edcuation.aspx (Article on current policy trends regarding social media and K-12 education)
http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/reflections-on-teaching-with-social-media/24556 (Educator Brian Coxall discusses various uses of social media in the classroom)
Articles on Ashley Payne’s case
Lesson plans and materials
http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson-plan-booster/cyber-ethics.shtml (lesson plan on computer ethics. Grade level: 8-12)
http://vimeo.com/2235438 (Prof. Howard Gardner interview)
- A teacher replies to your email in what you interpret as a rude tone. You are afraid she is mad about a statement you included in your original email. You write a quick reply apologizing for being rude. What would you have done in this situation?
- How would you teach netiquette to your students?
- In Korea, netiquette is highly emphasized and taught as a class beginning in second grade. Should the U.S. model the teaching of netiquette after Korea?
- A student posts on the classroom blog in all caps. Do you leave the post as is, edit and repost the post yourself, or have the student change the post so it not all caps?
- Should schools adopt a privacy and security policy that covers the rights and responsibilities of students, teachers, and other school personnel regarding the use of video surveillance? Why?
- Should district have a policy regarding the videotaping and photographing of students, publication of student information and photographs on school-sponsored Internet web sites?
- Should Online Privacy for Education Exist?
- Do students need more online privacy education?
1 – What are the two principles of the NEA Code of Ethics?
2 – What is the name of the sixth domain of the Connecticut State Department of Education’s 2010 Common Core of Teaching: Foundation Skills?
3 – If you were to write a new code of ethics dealing specifically with the use of technology by teachers, what would be three issues that you would address?
4 – One of the questions that Dr. Howard Gardner discusses is the idea of community and how that concept has evolved with the ascent of Internet use. He asks: “what does it mean to belong to a digital community?” How would you answer this question? In your opinion, should there be rules to be followed in order to belong to such a community, and what should they be?
5 – Do you agree with Gainesville City Schools Superintendent Merianne Dyer (see Gainesville Times article: http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/archives/54501/) when she says: “Don’t do it on your Facebook, don’t say it on your Facebook, don’t put it on your Facebook, if you wouldn’t do it in person?”
6 – Do you agree or disagree that schools that ban teacher/student electronic communication are in effect challenging effective and reasonable interaction as part of the educational process?
7 – What are some steps that school districts can take to foster healthy teacher/student interactions on social networking platforms?
8 – Have you used social media as a teaching tool (such as what educator Brian Coxall describes on http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/reflections-on-teaching-with-social-media/24556)? If yes, what was the outcome? Did you have to get special permission from your administration? Were there specific guidelines given to you by your school and by you to your students? Would you use social networking as a teaching tool again?
9 – Do you have a presence on any social network? If yes, were you aware of any issues that educators are facing in regard to the privacy of their posts?