Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Nikon Ads in the Classroom

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Jul 08, 2006

Posted to Golden Swamp in response to this:
Should the NikonNet website here be off limits for students to use to learn photography?
Sure, this site is no problem - however, things get trickier when we start asking about sites that criticize the products. Should students be allowed access to a 'Nikon Sucks' page? Should they be allowed to create one and store it on the school server? How about anti-commercial advocacy sites, like AdBusters?

The problem is, without this balance, then the only messages students see are those posted by companies like Nikon, and this creates a commercial bias in their learning materials. And it is not clear that schools are willing to allow more open content posting - notice that sites like Blogger and MySpace are already banned by most schools. And think about the sorts of legal pressures large companies like Nikon can place on schools over the posting of critical comments, images, or even the name 'Nikon'.

So it's not quite so simple as opening the door. Opening the door is kind of like letting a bull elephant into the playground. Yes, kids love elephants. But there are risks.

p.s. Just for the record, I really like Nikon cameras, I own one now, and my next purchase will be a Nikon.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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