Week 6-Empathy Gone! Are young people losing their humanism?

Social Web technologies are greatly influencing our lives-especially our children’s lives.  Parents are putting their children’s pictures on Facebook before birth, and children are interacting with each other on a global scale.  A National School Boards Association survey (2007) found that “80 percent of young people who are online are networking and that 70 percent of them are regularly discussing education-related topics”  (Richardson, 2008, p. 16).  Children are creating content without their parents’ or teachers’ awareness, which is scary since no rules for safe and ethical behavior have been established.  “This may be the first large technological shift in history that’s being driven by children”  (Richardson, 2008, p. 16).  Children are becoming “Googleable without us” (Richardson, 2008, p. 16).

When using social Web technologies, children need the guidance of parents and teachers.  Without guidance, students may lose their way and engage in unethical and cruel behavior such as cyberbullying.   It is difficult to know how frequent cyberbullying is.  Most teachers report that even though they are concerned about the problem, they aren’t aware of the severity of it, and they don’t know how to manage the problem.  Heiman (2010) found that German teachers reported a lack of professional training to deal with cyberbullying, and Bauman, Rigby, and Hoppa (2008) found that counselors, not teachers, were better trained to deal with issues of cyberbullying.

Nevertheless, a study of two large, technology-rich secondary schools in Canada conducted by Cassidy, Brown and Jackson (2012) discovered that 36% of over 2,000 students had participated in cyberbullying and 32% had been victims.  What is also shocking is that a South Korean study conducted by Yoon, Bauman, Choi, and Hutchinson (2011) observed that more experienced teachers (those with 26 years or more of experience) were less likely to do something about cyberbullying than less experienced educators (those with 11-16 years of experience).  I was surprised by these results.  Is it possible that more experienced teachers minimize the effects of cyberbullying or could it be that this problem is so misunderstood that educators are not sure how to deal with it?

The first step for teachers and parents in combating cyberbullying and other forms of bullying is to be aware that it is happening.  This means that schools need specific policies to address the issue including encouraging educators and students to engage in ethical and respectful treatment of others.  According to Craig, Henderson, & Murphy, (2000), “…empathy training is the first step towards teachers developing an appropriate skill set to deal with bullying issues (Cassidy, Brown & Jackson, 2012, p. 521).  These values of citizenship could easily be taught in social studies and other courses as long as teachers understand that there needs to be a deeper awareness of how technology impacts society.  Basically “work must be done to democratize technology” to ensure that ethical, responsible and safe communication occurs online (Weaver and Gahegan, 2007, p. 347).  Teachers need to implement activities that develop empathy into their lessons.  For example, they can ask students to create personal narratives using blogs and audio casts.  Such activities allow students to interpret information from different perspectives; helping to promote more respectful online behavior.


Bauman, S., Rigby, K., & Hoppa, K. (2008).  US teachers’ and school counsellors’ strategies for handling school bullying incidents.  Educational Psychology, 28, 837-856.  Doi:

Cassidy, W., Brown, K.N., & Jackson, M.  (2012).  “Under the radar”:  educators and cyberbullying in schools.  School Psychology International, 33(5), 520-532.  Retrieved from:  http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.lib.ucalgary.ca/ehost/resultsadvanced?sid=7e26c5cb-66e9-43e6-9763-1d0775e3d0bf%40sessionmgr4&vid=9&hid=19&bquery=under+AND+the+AND+radar&bdata=JmRiPWVyaWMmdHIwZT0xJnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGI2ZQ%3d%3d

Craig,  W., Henderson, K., & Murphy, J.  (2000).  Middle school students’ preferences for antibullying interventions.  School Psychology International, 21, 5-21.  Doi:10.1177/0143034306070435.

Heiman, T.  (2010).  Cyberbullying:  Coping with negative and enhancing positive uses of new technologies, in relationship in educational settings.  Paper presented at COST IS 0801 Conference 2011.  Retrieved from http://8540237597776146556-a-1802744773732722657-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/costis0801/dr-tali-heiman-stsm-report-2011/.

National School Boards Association.  (2007).  Creating and connecting:  Research and guidelines on social-and-educational-networking.  Alexandria, VA:  Author.  Available:  http://www.nsba.org/site/view.asp?CID=63&DID=41340

Richardson, W.  (2008).  Footprints in the digital age.  Educational Leadership, 66(3),  16-19.  Retrieved from: http://ezproxy.lib.ucalgary.ca:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ817754&site=ehost-live

Weaver, S. D., & Gahegan, M. (2007).  Constructing, visualizing and analyzing a digital footprint.  Geographical Review, 97(3),  324-350.  Retrieved from:  http://ezproxy.lib.ucalgary.ca:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohpst.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=27619792&site=ehost-live

Yoon, J., Bauman, S., Choi, T., & Hutchinson, A.  (2011).  How South Korean teachers handle an incident of school bullying.  School Psychology International, 32, 312-329.  Doi:10.1177/0143034311402311.


Week 5-How vigilant should educators be when using social media and electronic communication?

I learned a valuable lesson this week at work.  A co-worker sent angry e-mails to many members of the staff.  My principal spoke with her about her inappropriate behavior, but instead of acknowledging her mistake and apologizing, she became defensive and insubordinate to my principal.  She was asked to leave the office for the day and was later laid off because this wasn’t the first time such behavior had been displayed.

People have a responsibility to behave in an appropriate manner at work-this is professionalism.  The Harte article depicts how sending inappropriate e-mails in anger can undo years of professionalism.  It takes years to build a reputation, yet it can take only moments to destroy it.  Professionalism must include e-professionalism.  According to Evans & Gerwitz (2008), “…e-professionalism involves behavior related to professional standards and ethics when using electronic communication” (Harte, 2011, p. 3).  Sending inappropriate e-mails, such as my co-worker and Miss Christine in the Harte article can greatly influence public perception of the teaching profession.  This affects everyone in the profession, so teachers need to pause and think about their actions before sending inappropriate messages in electronic form.

E-mails can go viral within seconds, and once they have been sent, they can’t be retracted (Carter, Foulger, & Ewbank, 2008).  This is why educators need to make sure the e-mails they send are professional, error free and that they go to the intended recipients (Harte, 2011).

Educators also need to be vigilant when using other forms of electronic communication such as social networking sites.  If Alberta teachers follow the recommendations from Gordon Thomas at the ATA, educators can comfortably participate in an online community of learning without worrying about violating their Professional Code of Ethics or risking damaging personal or company reputations (Thomas, 2009).  It comes down to finding the right balance between the benefits of social networking and the disadvantages (Harte, 2011).  Social networking encourages active learning leading to a more student-centered learning environment (Ferdig, 2007); however, when people engage in social networking, a loss of privacy and professionalism can occur (Teclehaimanot & Hickman, 2011).

I have learned this week that educators need to be extremely vigilant when using social networking and other forms of electronic communication.  After watching the videos and reading the articles for this week, I realize I need to spend some time improving my virtual identify on Facebook and LinkedIn.  Finding the time to do so is the challenge since maintaining a positive virtual reputation can be demanding, but it is important to do so.


Carter, H. L., Foulger, T.S., & Ewbank, A.D. (2008).  Have you Googled your teacher lately?  Teachers use of social networking sites. Phi Delta Kappan, 681-685.

Evans, T., & Gerwitz, A.E.  (2008).  E-Professionalism dos and don’ts.  NALP Bulletin.  Retrieved from http://www.tourolaw.edu/cso/docs/eprofessionalism.pdf

Ferdig, R. E. (2007).  Editorial:  Examining social software in teacher education.  Journal of Technology & Teacher Education, 15(1), 5-10.

Harte, H.  (2011).  E-Professionalism for Early Care and Education Providers.  Dimensions Of Early Childhood, 39(3), 3-10.

Teclehaimanot, B., & Hickman, T.  (2011).  Student-teacher interaction on facebook:  what students find appropriate.  Techtrends:  Linking Research & Practice To Improve Learning, 55(3),19-30.  Retrieved from: http:// ezpoxy.lib.ucalgary.ca:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=59742738&site=ehost-live


Thomas, Gordon.  (2009, May 5).  Teachers and Facebook, ATA News, 43(17).  Retrieved from http://www.teachers.ab.ca/Publications/ATA%20News/Volume%2043/Number17/Pages/QA.aspx.

Week 4 Blog: Does e-Inclusion lead to marketization of the poor?

What is e-Inclusion?  E-Inclusion refers to a social movement aimed at minimizing the global digital divide as well as at providing a digital dividend for corporations.  This symbiotic relationship fosters “…entrepreneurship among the poor-which, according to Prahalad, is a solution to global poverty” (Schwittay, 2012, p. 45).  C. K. Prahalad, was a professor at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the University of Michigan and was a corporate strategy expert.

The question is who benefits the most from e-Inclusion programs- the poor in emerging markets such as India, Asia, Africa, Latin America and Central Europe or high-tech multinational corporations?  One could argue that this relationship benefits both parties, but I feel that multinational corporations usually prevail.  Corporations, such as HP (Hewlett-Packard) use e-inclusion to showcase global citizenship initiatives.  “Digital corporate citizenship” is an example of global corporate citizenship and refers to the social movement that the high-tech industry is involved in where rural poor are given access to ICTs in the hope of closing the global digital divide (Smith, 2002).  This allows corporations to “…present themselves to governments of developing companies as responsible and trustworthy partners” (Kirkpatrick, 2001, p. 25).

Matten and Crane (2005) argue that this type of citizenship is motivated by corporations because they need to ensure operating platforms for themselves in emerging markets.  The majority of these countries do not provide citizenship rights to the poor, so in most cases, corporations offer necessary social rights such as employment and welfare services but only if they feel that the profits they make are worth the expenditures.  What happens when these corporations feel that providing public services are not in the company’s best interest?

This week’s readings have had a strong moral impact on me-as an educator and as a global citizen.  I feel that the poor in emerging markets are vulnerable to both their governments and to multinational corporations.  The entrepreneurial opportunities that e-Inclusion offers can benefit the poor in many countries, but Karnani, a scholar and Prahalad’s colleague, has been critical of statements that poverty can be eradicated through profits (Jenkins, 2005; Landrum, 2007).  I agree with Karnani.  I don’t believe that eradicating poverty is as simple as offering employment opportunities to disadvantaged individuals.  There are many other issues in these countries that need to be addressed such as women’s rights, dependable employment, political stability, etc.  Also, even though many multinational corporations are ethically responsible and believe strongly in global corporate citizenship, many other corporations use this platform to primarily gain profits in emerging markets.  Therefore, I believe that e-Inclusion does lead to marketization of the world’s poor.

I may be more sensitive to these issues because I teach New Canadians, and many of my students have worked for multinational corporations in Mexico, India and China, etc.  I have heard both positive and negative stories of how they were treated while working for such corporations.  Because of my experiences, I am more aware of my consumption patterns.  I will not purchase products from corporations if they are rumored to engage in unethical and immoral business practices.  The knowledge I have obtained this week will not greatly affect my teaching practices, but it will affect my consumption behaviors.


Jenkins, R.  (2005).  Globalization, corporate social responsibility and poverty.  International Affairs, 81(3), 525-540.

Kirkpatrick, D.  (2001, May 2).  Great leap forward:  Looking for profits in poverty.  Fortune, 25.

Landrum, N.  (2007).  Advancing the “Base of the pyramid” debate.  Strategic Management Review, 1(1), 1-12.

Matten, D., & Crane, A.  (2005).  Corporate citizenship:  Towards an extended theoretical view.  California Management Review, 40(2), 8-17.

Schwittay, A.  (2012).  Incorporated citizens:  multinational high-tech companies and the bop.  Information technologies & international development, 8(1), 43-56.

Smith, C. W.  (2002).  Digital corporate citizenship:  The business response to the digital divide.  Indianapolis, IN:  The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.