David Pogue writes about the disappearance of online etiquette as the Read/Write Web expands our social interactions online. It’s not a pretty picture. He ends with:
Maybe as the Internet becomes as predominant as air, somebody will realize that online behavior isnâ€™t just an afterthought. Maybe, along with HTML and how to gauge a Web siteâ€™s credibility, schools and colleges will one day realize that thereâ€™s something else to teach about the Internet: Civility 101.
(Read the 250+ pretty civil comments, too…)
Hmmm…whadda ya think? Is it the job of schools to clean up this mess? Be nice…
(Thanks to Dean Matson for the pointer.)
Bill Campbell says
Whether we should specifically be teaching online etiquette in school or not, it should eventually come the same way face-to-face etiquette and respect is taught and expected in many (hopefully most?) schools. If online communication becomes a tool that students are using with peers and teachers as a regular part of the educational experience then I would expect teachers and administrators to monitor and treat it (with regards to disipline and nudging students toward proper behaviour) as they would classroom or hallway conversations.
Of course, this requires educators to acknowledge behavior and discipline issues related to technology as regular behavior and discipline issues as opposed to problems that are left to a technology coordinator to deal with. I’ve seen this moving in the right directions in school with which I have some connection. Hopefully, this is a universal trend.
John Connell says
Oh no…..just when we might be seeing some impetus towards simplifying the curriculum, we find we might need to start teaching Net Civility or similar. But I’m too polite to say what I think of the idea….. 🙂
Angie S. says
Very interesting conversations going on at the article’s website and as you say many are positive. Several point to the fact that it is ultimately the parents responsibility to teach these manners. Being in the field of education, I know that parents don’t always step in to take this role. Moreover, the schools can teach it but if it is not reinforced or practiced outside the brick walls of the school then it does not become a habit. As an ex-Language Arts teacher, I also know that my students tended to treat a formal writing assignment as if they were emailing their friends. In the schools, we can teach them when it is appropriate to write more formally and use basic grammar and how to phrase constructive criticism so as not to offend. Moreover, in schools, we can discuss how to address a comment of this nature so that is doesn’t sound like a rant or raw anger. Civics can be taught to an extent but as I said earlier, if it is not reinforced, practiced, and I’ll even add, expected at home or in the community then we can only do so much. To take on that task alone would not be as conducive as having support from other factions as well. Interesting discussion!
Cam Good says
I agree that it is a parental responsibility to teach manners, but when the rude online behaviour is part of communicating, that clearly falls into our basket.
My district is currently reworking it’s K-7 ICT skills continuum. One of our new outcomes is:
F2.2 use appropriate communication language and etiquette
Students will demonstrate proper language and etiquette when communicating with others over the school LAN or on-line forums such as blogs and wikis.
Ben Werdmuller says
It’s not just civility online – there needs to be a whole culture shift away from thinking about the Internet as some other world where the same rules don’t apply. The Internet as a place doesn’t really exist; it’s just a collection of wires connecting people in the real world, and needs to be treated as such. Although the Internet makes it much easier for us all to communicate, net civility really isn’t any different to real-world civility.
Mike Curtin says
The internet isn’t already as predominant as air?
Dean Shareski says
Ewan Mcintosh addressed this over a year ago and it’s stuck with me ever since.
Intelligence = Knowledge + Manners
Dean Mattson says
I don’t think we need a whole new course, but any class using Web 2.0 tools needs to have online etiquette included as part of the discussion as well as the rules. I don’t think there’s anything schools can do to eliminate this problem, but maybe by showing our students a civilized alternative, we can lessen it somewhat.
Parents – school systems – a long time debate isn’t it? One comment though, today’s students are tomorrows parents. I’m sure as we plod ahead making our marks on society we will always have a “chicken or the egg” to ask ourselves. It seems to me that guiding the student makes much more sense than trying to tell the parent how to behave.
Good point Bill C. I have also seen a trend in schools moving toward dealing with poor behavior with technology as the vehicle as just another “regular” behavior issue. Unfortunately, this was not the case much of the time when technology (specifically computer communications technology)started to become mainstream. It was left up to “technologists” to police as qualified or unqualified as they may have been. Often they made single pointed judgments. Now that these issues are more mainstream, we are left to change a paradigm.