The Internet K-12 Curriculum: Navigating the Risks

Share with Friends

By Jeffery Carrington


Technology is a fantastic resource for teachers to enhance the learning experience for students of all ages and levels of comprehension. The school’s library card catalog has been replaced with computers and other devices that deliver immediate results on anything and everything. But as valuable as the internet is in K-12 education, it comes with risks. Luckily, educating yourself and your students about the dangers and solutions of using technology can greatly reduce the risk of plagiarism, cheating and potential run-ins with cyber criminals.


  • Plagiarism. A drawback to having so much information available to students is the temptation to take the easy route in completing an assignment, otherwise known as “cut and paste.” A great resource for schools and classrooms is Turnitin, a program that determines the originality of work submitted by students. Any assignments previously submitted to Turnitin’s archived essay database–which contains approximately 337 million essays–or if information is used and not cited from any of the 45 billion web sites that the program patrols, it is automatically marked as unoriginal.
  • Cheating. A student’s integrity can be tested by the availability of smartphones, as it is very simple to look up answers with a mobile device. Ironically, cell phones prove to decrease productivity performance in class if appropriate use isn’t taught. There is no “one size fits all” policy for cell phone restriction in the classroom. It depends on the teacher’s methods, but asking students to place their devices on top of their desks is always a good choice, until they’re being used for academics.


  • Privacy. Even with the increase of attention on identity theft risks via illegal online access to personal information, there were still more than 16.5 million reports of identity theft in 2012, and 85 percent of identity theft victims reported that the theft occurred due to the unauthorized use of an existing account. Though most internet users know to safeguard banking and credit card information, it is still possible for cyber criminals to access data in other ways, oftentimes through data that doesn’t seem particularly vulnerable, like simply knowing your name and birth date. Security is by far the highest priority for educators and school administrators, so many schools (and even entire school districts) invest in data protection services that provide substantial security against identity theft, not just for students, but also for teachers and administration.
  • Online Predators. Social media sites remain popular with young people, meaning they will continue to be popular among predators. This is especially concerning with sites like Facebook, as children as young as 13 can create an account. Again, social media offers educators a perfect opportunity to teach appropriate use — lessons many students may not get outside of school.

Technology is an invaluable resource for teachers and students, but it must be used with caution. By following a few suggestions and developing your own classroom policies, you can make the internet work for you, not against you.

Jeffery Carrington is a Blogger, equal education proponent and community activist

The following two tabs change content below.
Mark Barnes is the Founder of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hack Learning Series -- books and other series that provide right-now solutions for teachers and learners. Mark is the author or publisher of dozens of books, including Bestseller Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes for Every School. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Join more than 150,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge