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Category Archives: 170 ~ Ethics

13 Project ~ Cyber Safety for Global Citizenship

Click on the image to go to the website and explore the cyber smart initiatives

Click on the image to go to the website and explore cyber smart initiatives

The primary school, where I currently work, is in the midst of investigating safe social networking sites for children. There is an acceptance that children are connected to technology on a daily basis, using it for educational and recreational purposes and in support of global citizenship. As a consequence, cyber safety is a significant focus. Currently, our students participate in many online environments including blogs, and posting to Vimeo.

The release of national statistics in 2012 by the minister for education, Peter Garrett point to disturbing figures of the prevalence of cyber bullying in his Be Bold Stop Bullying Facebook Campaign Launch. This is a major concern for the school community highlighting the need for constant revision of cyber safety practices. This has contributed to a greater focus by the school in assessing our current efforts and discovering where we can improve.

As part of this school-wide initiative, I investigated library based initiatives in support of schools’ efforts to promote cyber safety. I discovered the 13 project via a thread on the OZTLnet list serve and then investigated further. 13 Project was launched on 1st March 2013 by school library associations across Australia in recognition of the important role of school libraries and participation of school library staff in schools’ efforts to help keep their students safe online.

As a librarian, in a school based environment, being able to locate resources and provide access to these resources is of primary importance. This professional learning activity enabled a connection with the information needs of the school community and the library in resourcing those needs. Via the 13 project, some of the resources mentioned were areas our school identified for investigation, namely social networking sites that are safe environments for children in this age group. I evaluated the suggested social networking site Skooville. After the initial evaluation I shared the online resources from 13 project with teachers in our school and provided a recommendation of the Skooville program to be considered for implementation across the school. I attended the morning briefing during Cyber safety week and discussed this resource with staff thus saving them time in investigation of this important area.

Discovering a national library-based advocacy initiative, with a focus on cyber safety, was the most significant learning from this activity. With the networks to library professionals accessed via OZTLnet I can transfer the learning and extend the library into the school. This affirms the importance of the library for school based initiatives with a focus on curriculum and community needs. One of the tools particularly useful to school administration is the Safe Schools toolkit  as it provides an online audit tool to help with school prioritisation in this area. This information was shared with the leading teachers.

At this stage, I can see there is more that can be done by the library and staff in this area. Prior to this, our library had no knowledge of 13 project and the Skooville site. This activity has enabled the beginning of this knowledge and connecting with the wider school as a result.

The next step in this professional learning will be to involve the school in some of the other suggested initiatives as part of the National Cyber Security Awareness week. This will be explored for the next year.

Cybersafety is an ongoing learning curve needing constant evaluation and awareness raising. 13 project is a great starting place and resource.

 

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Censorship of Children’s Books ~ Banned Books Week

Working in a school library, censorship is a constant focus with challenges to the provision of information coming from many angles, including teachers, the government, community and parents. Edwards (2006) states that the challenge to books has been increasing in recent years and most common reasons for challenges include morality, obscenity, profanities and, witchcraft and occult themes from wizards to ghosts.

The State Library of Victoria provides a list of ten most challenged books and on that list is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

Some issues confronted at the school level can pertain to covert forms of censorship contradicting standards for professional practice and the commitment to provision of access to information that has a right to be represented in the school community (Asheim, 2009). In this regard reference is made to value judgments by library staff in the selection process, leading to exclusion of resources or making access to information difficult. This is evident in the following examples

  • Expressed preferences for certain formats over others.
  • Positioning of books/information where it is not easily accessed.

The focus of this professional development activity is to highlight a commitment to the promotion and advocacy for freedom of information and the rights to reading. By committing to raising awareness amongst the school community I have chosen to investigate Banned Books Week; celebrating the freedom to read.

Banned Books Week is held during September 22-28, 2013 and associated activities for potential inclusion in the school library program during this time are being investigated.

Why is this important?

In discussion with teachers, parents and staff, I have learnt that censorship is highly emotive when it concerns children as the audience of information. Many have strongly formed attitudes that in turn impact on objectivity in this area including collection selection. Choosing to raise awareness with a Banned Books Week program provides an avenue to explore censorship in a manner that feels safe and non confronting. Some of the books on the list are highly valued by many, thus providing an avenue to delve into this topical area whilst promoting critical reflection.

Being able to instigate discussion around censorship is important for my professional practice and commitment to advocacy for the right to provide access to information objectively is demonstrated in this programming.

Exploring Banned Books week provides an insight into activities that can be implemented at a school level; including displays of books that have been challenged, readings of passages by students and teachers and displaying lists of the challenged books over an historical timeline. Coming across the lists of books that have been challenged, provides a tremendous insight into the need to continue raising awareness as it is ongoing and increasing.

National Archives Australia provides a great resource exploring Books and Magazines Banned in Australia from the 1920’s to 1970’s. The University of Melbourne has a website, Banned Books in Australia linked to ‘A Special Collections ~ Art in the library exhibition’.

Why not visit Banned Books Week Virtual Read-out and hear some passages of books being read

Asheim, L., (2009) Not Censorship but Selection, Children’s Literature in Eduction, 40(3), 197-216.

Edwards, H., (2006) Censorship of Kids books on the rise, The Age, April 30 2006.

 

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Street art verses Advertising?

Living in Melbourne provides the wonderful opportunity to experience an amazing urban gallery. The art scene is an incredibly healthy one with diverse artworks adorning lane-ways, buildings, warehouses and gallery spaces. Urban art contributes to the joy of life as it provides moments to stop and ponder, contemplate some ideas, or just enjoy the talent that is given to the world free to enjoy.

As a personal preference, I welcome urban art more than the unsolicited advertising assaulting our public spaces. Banksy’s position on advertising is an interesting one and, whether you agree with it or not, it is certainly worth pondering in this context.

People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are the Advertisers and they are laughing at you.

You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity.

…Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.

You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.

Moving along…. A favourite pleasure is documenting the changing landscape and the wonderful contributions of artists to the streets of Melbourne. When artists pop in to visit from other places in Australia, or from other countries it is an incredible rush to dash and and capture the new artwork. As it is so ephemeral, what is here today may be gone tomorrow, the ability to document with a camera is one way of sharing and hopefully capturing the moment that was.

I’ve decided to share some of my photos that I capture on this blog and I will start with a small selection from Melbourne artists…

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Scaling the tower by Baby Guerilla in Clifton Hill

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Flight to Freedom by Baby Guerilla in Brunswick

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I stopped wearing a watch after the funeral… Collaboration by Kaff-eine and Precious Little in Brunswick

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Rainbow Shower, a collaboration with Suki and Be Free in Brunswick

 

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Internet Rising

Currently I am studying The Information Society and our first task is focussed on defining the key elements of what an information society is. So what is the information age, network society, the digital age, knowldedge society or any other terms that we often use interchangeably to define this period?

I came across the following documentary that is a digital mashup courtesy of amipress. I highly recommend viewing this… It is a pretty good start in considering many of the concepts before us.

 

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Banned Book Week ~ 24th September to 1st October

BBW poster shared by American Library Association (ALA)

Courtesy of ALA TechSource I have been alerted to Banned Books Week. Following is the list of books challenged and/or banned in 2009/2010. You will notice that amongst the list is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Diary of Anne Frank and closer to home, The Twilight Series was “Banned in Australia (2009) for primary school students because the series is too

racy.”

To obtain lists of earlier years you can visit the ALA free downloads page where you find PDF lists from the years 2004-2005 onwards. It provides a snapshot of a trend in censorship. Mapping Censorship provides a visual geographical representation in the USA.

Banned Books Week is a celebration of the freedom to read, starting in 1982 and occurring as an annual event since. For more information visit the Banned Books Week site and the ALA Banned Books Week: celebrating the freedom to read page. You may even want to upload a reading of a passage from a banned or challenged book to the Banned Books Week youtube channel.

I’m off to reread Brave New World by Aldous Huxley!

 

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Biometrics and Privacy

This morning, while doing errands, I heard the following story on the radio titled Local Councils plan to use vein scanners to clock staff hours. I paid particular attention as the biometric scanners are being installed by a local council in Melbourne and it will be in libraries. As I am studying librarianship and am from Melbourne, it became personal.

The invasion of privacy under the increasingly ubiquitous surveillance landscape is certainly something I am concerned with.  What about the storage of this biometric data of individuals? Digital files are easily hacked, accessed or corrupted and the storing of individual data in this way for a purpose of tracking employee time at work is questionable.

Privacy is a longheld concern. Any attempt at invading individual privacy is something that all should stand up against. What are the rights of the individual in this circumstance? When you are faced with the imbalance in power relations of employer/employee, then how many can courageously speak up when faced with such a situation? When considering minors, then how many will accept that this is the way it is? I am only touching on the surface here. Dig deeper and the scenario is less than palatable for anyone.

Yes, I am concerned and there is reason to be!

 

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Open Access Journals

I came across the following article by David Rapp titled jSTOR Announces Free Access to 500k Public Domain Journal Articles in the Library Journal today and felt excited. However, if a work is in the public domain, it usually means that it is not covered by intellectual property rights for a number of reasons including the owner having forfeited the rights or the rights having expired. In that context the concept of ‘free’ seems to be cancelled out. The works being made available by jSTOR fall into the category ‘Early journal content’ and include works published before 1923 in the US and 1870 worldwide. Clearly, they fall in the category of copyright having expired.

You may recall the article ‘Free Culture’ Advocate may pay a high price  about Aaron Swartz, mentioned in my blogpost Who owns culture, the question who owns culture can be asked of jSTOR in consideration of their announcement of ‘free access’. In that light, I may stick with DOAJ ~ Directory of Open Access Journals.

The following clip provides more related detail.

 

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