In an age of instant cut and paste, copying the words or ideas of others is easy, so today many students ignore the need to credit sources. According to an August 1, 2010, New York Times article, Plagiarism Lines Blur for Students in Digital Age, many digital natives have difficulty understanding the concepts of attribution, intellectual property, and copyright. Moreover, the article points out that, with so much public conversation and criticism about Wikipedia, many young writers believe that crediting the online encyclopedia is unnecessary.
The Times article is a helpful back-to-school read, because it clarifies a critical issue confronting students — one that affects the quality of their work. By addressing the need to cite sources and maintain personal integrity, parents provide solid support for their children, and they help children avoid problems that arise when Internet sources in assignments without attribution. Family conversations need to occur early and often, building a child’s respect for digital citizenship.
Continue reading “Back-to-School Digital Reading Assignment, #2: Plagiarism”
Today’s Digital Parent Reading Assignment is an article, Rumors, Cyberbullying and Anonymity, appearing in a July 22, 2010, column by New York Times technology writer David Pogue. The article is his interview with Harvard Law Professor John Palfrey, one of the directors of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. In question and answer format, the interview ranges over some of the significant and critical technology issues that concern parents: rumors, cyberbullying, digital literacy (knowing what is credible), the opportunity to for anonymity, and the online social lives of pre-adolescents and teens. Professor Palfrey is a co-author of Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives (Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble, Powell’s). When he describes the way digital natives (our children) behave, Dr. Palfrey comments that he studies “… how young people use technology, how they relate to one another. And one of the big things is they’ve moved their social lives, by and large, online.”
As summer 2010 moves swiftly along, we begin thinking, albeit incrementally, about back-to-school preparations.
In addition to traditional preparations — school supplies, lunch boxes, schedules, new shoes and clothes — we often use this time of year to update our digital lives, purchasing new computers, updating Internet access in our homes, and deciding whether or not to purchase cell phones other gadgets (MP3 players, iTouch, iPad) for our children.
Parents and teachers who have been through many back-to-school cycles know that some year when school begins, we unexpectedly become acquainted with new types of digital activities, discovering things that our children have known about all summer long. A few years ago Facebook arrived on the scene in just this way. While the school year does not always begin with digital surprises, experience tells us that, more often than not, a new digital activity or concern arrives on our radar screen — that’s the adult radar — at the beginning of the school year.
So to level the playing field between now and early September, I will post regular links to back-to-school parent “reading assignments.”
Continue reading “Back-to-School Digital Reading Series for Parents”