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SOPA/PIPA – Thoughts on Educational Implications

There is a lot of talk right now about the proposed SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) laws, and I have been wondering about the possible impact for education.  Though I would love to write more, my time is limited tonight, so below I am sharing a couple of my thoughts.

1. Student Access to Information and Teaching of 21st Century Skills

Will these proposed laws limit our access to open information on the internet?  Our students need to learn how to analyze and evaluate information from multiple sources and perspectives, and SOPA/PIPA could make it difficult for this to happen.  Websites that allow users to post comments, communicate on message boards, upload and share content, or encourage the open sharing of information and ideas can easily be shut down by a single post or comment linking to the wrong website.  How will teaching 21st century skills like communication and collaboration be affected if these laws are passed?

2. Professional Learning Communities

Over the last several years, most of my professional development has happened through the use of online learning communities and social media.  Will these laws limit our ability to share information that may help us continue to move forward in our profession?  Will I lose the ability to keep my own site because another user posts a comment on my blog that links to a site that is deemed “illegal?”  The ability to openly collaborate and communicate with a global community of educators is what makes online professional learning so powerful, and these proposed laws could seriously hinder the possibilities.

How do you think these laws would impact education?  What are the implications – both positive and negative?  Looking for information on SOPA/PIPA that is easy to understand?  I recommend that you check out this video from the Khan Academy.  If you want to take a stand on this issue, please reach out to your elected officials and let them know if you support or oppose passing SOPA and/or PIPA.   Use this site from Wikipedia to find your representative.

Are you using this as a teachable moment in your classroom?  If so, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!


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