Another dot in the blogosphere?

Ranting at rants 2

Posted on: December 1, 2011

There was a recent spate of opinion pieces on “cyberbaiting” [1] [2] [3] [4].

There is more than one meaning for this term. I am referring to the practice of agitating or aggravating someone you may not like, secretly recording their reactions and then sharing the recording widely.

When I tweeted this resource about a fortnight ago, it did not occur to me that one or more students might have instigated event so that it looked like the teacher was bullying him. I do not have other contextual information so it could be a case of bullying or one of cyberbaiting.

Not long after, I read about how one parent in Singapore suggested that schools effectively confiscate mobile phones to neutralize the threat of cyberbaiting.

Do we bar the use of phones in other contexts to avoid cyberbaiting? If we did, there would be no mobile phone use in meeting rooms, public transport, kopitiams  and malls. If we did, then STOMP would be devoid of fodder (which might actually be a good thing).

Do we want to remove this opportunity to instill in kids a value system when using mobile technology? It is not enough to talk about values and citizenship education. We also need to address digital citizenship.

Do we really want to remove a device that provides a rich set of powerful tools that can enable learning? We need to stop giving excuses like poor infrastructure or playing lip service to integrating technology. Most schools here already have 1:1 programmes right under their noses.

If I put a positive spin on all things edtech, it is only because the press or general public often view it negatively. It’s called bringing balance to the Force.

2 Responses to "Ranting at rants 2"

Hey Dr Tan!

I do agree that technology shouldn’t be removed from the context of the world. I recall the days of my secondary school education when my school hadn’t allowed the usage of mobile phones but that didn’t stop anyone from bringing it. Honestly, like what I’ve studied during my GP lessons, it seems like technology is the cause of such problems. Yet I feel that technology is merely the driver of a hidden consequence such as poverty, a lack of a proper upbringing or even violence at homes. Technology has just empowered bullies more ways to pick on their foes, especially under the veil of anonymity. Just something to think about (:

Lance.

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I doubt very much that technology is the root cause of the problem. With the exception of technology designed to harm, most technology is value free. It is what people do with it that makes the difference.

For example, cars were designed for transport. They were not designed for entertainment or to kill people with. Put the cars in the hands of skilled driver and they might perform stunts or race competitively. Put the car in the hands of a hitman or a drunk and it becomes a killing machine.

Taking the car or phone away is only going to deal with the symptoms of the problem instead of the real cause. It is this sort of knee-jerk response that does more harm than good.

Something else to think about: People are quick to take credit when things go well. They are equally quick to assign blame elsewhere when things do not. If we create a solution that creates problems, I think we should not blame the solution. We should learn from the experience and deal with it head on.

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