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Message from the President: Ryan Layton
Message from the President
When I began to write this article, I had yet to go and place my ballot in the federal election but did so by the end of the day. In order to properly perform this civic duty, I needed to be well informed. I had to take the time to research the issues and platforms so I could decide which party/candidate would best represent my own beliefs and values about our country.
We are extremely lucky to have this opportunity in Canada. We are free to view political information, research possible parties and then vote however we feel is best. Transparency of information is something that we, as Canadians, pride ourselves on but with such freedom comes the question of how open should we be, in particular with access to information in our schools?
There are many districts that are currently evaluating their levels of internet filtering. Some districts have opted to have a large amount of filtering for staff and students, which blocks information on a regular basis, and others are filtering very little (Spam, Phishing, or Pornography). A few others have even created a tiered filtering system for teachers and students in different grades (Div. 1, 2, 3, 4). While I am not here to side with any one policy, I believe we need to ensure that staff and students are well equipped to handle the media that they might be exposed to online while at school or at home.
I encourage all districts across Alberta to observe Media Literacy Week from November 2 - 6, 2015. From the Media Literacy Week website we learn that “Media Literacy Week highlights the importance of teaching children and teens digital and media literacy skills to ensure their interactions with media are positive and enriching.” As staff, teachers and administrators we all need to ensure that we are providing opportunities to talk about media usage and that students have the opportunity to safely access online media in our schools.
As I have said before, the best support any student can receive to protect them from negative interactions with technology and the media are the relationships that we build within the walls of our classrooms and schools. When students feel the connectivity of those associations they will feel comfortable talking with mentors if they come across something questionable. Please continue to be the responsible consumers and producers of media that our school communities need! Have a wonderful Halloween and best of luck this term.
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