I’ve been looking forward to this presentation by Doug Johnson because I think it will probably come up in my district at some point in the near future. The AUP and other internet policies that we currently have in place don’t cover the use of web 2.0 tools. As more and more teachers and librarians begin to learn about and use these tools, the more important it becomes to create some policies about appropriate use for education.
Handouts from this session
Doug started off with a humorous suggestion that we enact legislation banning pencils from schools today because they can be used to do some of the same things that social networks can, e.g., write a threatening note, write dirty words, etc.
Check out the article Predators & cyberbullies: Reality check to get a more balanced picture of what is really happening with our kids online.
The social web is an interactive web where we share information with each other. Another resource is the Horizon Report from educause to find out what web 2.0 tools will most likely be used in education in the future.
There are some serious concerns about web 2.0
Protecting children from predator
Protecting childern from each other
Protecting children from themselves
Online predators are a greater problem for students at risk. “If you don’t tell your children that you love them…someone else will.”
Cyberbullying is a very real problem in which schools have to intevene – even when it occurs off-campus. Doug’s district has a guide written for students about cyberbullying that is available for download.
Students post inappropriate things about themselves online and their future can be impacted by this. They don’t realize the ramifications of their behavior and that, even if they take the pictures down, they are never really gone.
Students, however, do have a right to free speech online as well as in public. Schools have to prove that postings online are disruptive.
In developing policies, we need to use common sense and realize that the danger is not so much in “dirty old men,’ but in the students themselves and their online behavior.
So how can we make kids safe? Block it all? One of the mistakes we make in blocking is to confuse content with format. Blocking blogs and wikis make as much sense as blocking magazines because some of them are pornographic.
Filtering is never 100% effective and they can’t block what goes out. There are many proxies available that allow students to bypass school filters and they have mobile devices that can access the web on their own connection – not the school’s.
Education in these issues for the school community is imperative. The dangers are real and schools must be proactive in dealing with the issue. We have to reach out and educate our parents as well, providing resources for them to inform themselves on the topic – web sites and videos. We need to allow students to make “safe mistakes.” These are mistakes from which they can recover, where they might not be able to recover from a mistake made later in life. Schools have to show due diligence in protecting kids online.
How do we teach online ethical behavior to students?
- Articulate and demonstrate our values – talk to kids about what is right and wrong online
- reinforce good behavior
- Have peer discussions about these topics
- Stress principles, rather than rules (Protect your property, privacy and don’t do anything you wouldn’t do in front of your grandmother.)
- Create a low temptation environment where kids aren’t tempted to behave inappropriately
There is a place for social networks in schools today. Show others that education can be enhanced with social web resources. Share actual examples of how other schools are using these tools.
In creating policies for the social, Doug suggests that the current AUP may be ok, if you eliminate fuzzy language. A district advisory committee that is small, but with wide representation, to work on this policy is important. This committee looks at big picture items like budget, policies, goals and assessment.
Have a process for blocking web sites. Doug suggests: blocking the minimum required by CIPA, requiring that any request for blocking should go through a formal reconsideration process, unblocking any site at professional request, keeping one unblocked computer in each library, making educators – not techs – responsible for the web content that is allowed in schools.
Teachers are the best filter that we can use.