Disciplining without excluding: this is the challenge of media education – 02/08/2024 – Education

Disciplining without excluding: this is the challenge of media education – 02/08/2024 – Education

The Municipal Department of Education of Rio de Janeiro carried out a public consultation with the Rio population on the use of cell phones at school. The results were released on January 23: 83% of the 10,000 people responding agreed to ban devices in the school environment. Only 6% of participants are against the measure and 11% are partially in favor.

This led the city’s mayor, Eduardo Paes (PSD), to sign a decree prohibiting the use of cell phones in municipal schools last Friday, February 2nd. The measure applies not only to the interior of classrooms but to any school space or time, between the first and last classes, including corridors and recess. The pedagogical use of the device is one of the exceptions for use, as long as it is authorized by the teacher.

Teachers’ complaints about the difficulty in getting students to concentrate on the proposed educational activities, with or without the use of cell phones, are old. With digital platforms, especially social networks, the challenge seems even greater. These highly seductive environments contribute to the dispersion of people at any age, including children and adolescents.

In this way, the choice for a ban seems to reflect the desperation of education networks in the face of the challenge of competing for student attention with fun and instantaneous audiovisual content on social networks, which are structured on brevity and informational excess as a strategy for audiences to stay connected.

If we think that distancing ourselves from the device makes students better reflect on their online behavior, the ban is justified. In fact, there need to be more effective measures to reduce the damage that dispersion due to excessive cell phone use causes to the teaching and learning process and to coexistence in the school community.

However, this prohibition cannot be an obstacle to students’ media education. In an event organized by Safernet and held this Tuesday, 6th, to celebrate Safe Internet Day in Brazil, many participants highlighted the importance of preparing children and adolescents for safe use of the internet, so that they are not deprived of open opportunities by digital technologies.

In this context, Iain Drennan, executive director of the WeProtect Global Alliance and one of the leaders of the UK’s international response to child sexual abuse, advocated efforts for children and young people to “have positive experiences online — this goes beyond simply removing harm; This means preparing them to really enjoy the online experience”, he stated in his talk.

In addition to this issue, it is important to highlight that the exception to the ban in the Rio education network, which allows the use of students’ cell phones for educational purposes, ends up endorsing the perspective of individual and private use of devices to achieve digital inclusion at school. .

But it is not possible to accommodate ourselves to the idea that the student’s personal cell phone, often shared with other people in the family, must be an item of teaching material, without which they will not be able to access school content or carry out activities that lead them to reflect on the digital world and explore digital resources with pedagogical intention.

The solution cannot fall on the student and their families. Especially in public education networks which, at least in theory, already have devices such as tablets, precisely aware of these demands.

The challenges that face children and adolescents’ access to the internet, especially from cell phones, at school and in other contexts, are numerous and complex. It is therefore necessary to think about security in a way linked to the construction of educational ecosystems that effectively benefit learning, without violating the digital inclusion and media education of students.

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