Digital Literacy, Cyber Safety – What about COMPUTER HYGIENE?!

What we don’t see CAN harm us. (Naomi’s Photos)

We teach the students how to copy links, look for information, submit answers,  switch between languages and formats and so much more.

We teach the students to protect themselves online, as in not sharing their telephone numbers / home addresses, being careful with their passwords and staying away from dubious sites.

And we do all this (and more) on the shared computers at school.

In my case, one computer in the English Center.

Students from all grades and the teachers have their ten fingers and their palms on the same keyboard and the same mouse for about forty hours a week.

Where else have these hand been and what have they been touching?

While I believe all teachers around the world support fostering a classroom culture of sharing, I don’t think sharing germs is on the list of goals.

And I haven’t been doing anything about it.

I came back to school the other day after being out sick for a week. That very same day one of our new students reminded me right away that he has “hygiene issues” (not verbally, of course. I’ll spare you the details) and then went over to do something on the computer.

Photo by Ido Epstein
Photo by Ido Epstein

I went out right after school and bought a big package of wipes (luckily another teacher gave me some wipes  that day at school after the aforementioned student worked on the computer).

All the sessions at conferences, discussions groups I’ve attended and posts I’ve read on using shared devices in class don’t mention hygiene. You don’t have to a special student with “issues” – so many kids sneeze, sniffle and cough for months around here.

Should I place the package of wipes at the edge of the computer desk and encourage each and every student to use one before his/her turn at the computer? I don’t want anyone making fun of another student or turning it into an issue. I would like the message to be the same as the one for protecting your password.

Common Sense.

What do you do?



One thought on “Digital Literacy, Cyber Safety – What about COMPUTER HYGIENE?!”

  1. Um….what about the tables they share? And doorhandles we all touch? Shared pens and pencils? The papers you collect from them to mark!? And the you return??!!! Eeekkkss!!!! There’s no end to it!!! It’s a miracle we even manage to get to school or work….ever! As a medical clown, I was taught that we do not blow up balloons with out mouths (because when it bursts, our germs will be spread) and the importance of using the gel hand sanitizer after each room. But in school, as in any place public (bus, restaurant, office building) I think we just need to trust our immune systems to protect us.

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