Anonymous Messaging Apps on Campus

Audrey Watters, Hack Education, May 11, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

"Once again," writes Audrey Watters, "students' technology usage is prompting panic. This time, the scare involves anonymous messaging apps." As I look at the articles she lists (I've read many of them in the last few weeks) I'm tempted to ask, "didn't students speak to each other in private on the playground?" I'm sure I recall people whispering secrets to each other, passing anonymous notes on things like bathroom walls, getting together without adult supervision, and the rest of it. As Watters asks, "by focusing on technology and anonymity as the problems here, are we overlooking behaviors and practices that, as Reid highlights, also existed "pre-digital"?" And, "How much of what we see on apps like Yik Yak is a reflection of students' lack of voice, lack of power in traditional school settings?"

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