Saturday, February 21, 2009

Reflection: Chapter 7

From my perspective, ensuring online safety and security for students is the most troubling aspect of using Web 2.0 tools in the classroom. Because the internet promotes open usage, it's often difficult to find the right balance between control vs. access. Our school district has an acceptable use policy, but it needs to also address the fact that "students are now contributors as well as consumers of information online (and) school have to define their manner of participation and their rights and responsibilities concerning new technologies" (144).

David Warlick suggests these four steps when revising an acceptable use policy:
  • establish goals for the use of read/write Web tools
  • identify specific uses of read/write Web application that the school supports
  • identify activities that are not acceptable and could compromise student's safety
  • provide documents that serve as instructional resources and code of ethics to guide student use of technology.
I also found the Cyber Awareness Survey and the Student and Teacher Information Code of Ethics to be useful and applicable for the library. I liked the headings provided in the Code of Ethics: Seek Truth and Express It, Minimize Harm, Be Accoutable, and Respect Informationa and Its Infrastructure. In particular, these bullets listed under Seek Truth and Express It were very powerful and hopefully compelling to students:
  • Tell the story of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so.
  • Give voice to the voiceless. Official and unofficial sources of information can be equally valid. (147).
Filtering and blocking are ongoing issues at our school. There are some wonderfully educational movies on YouTube, but our school district blocks it because this site also contains inappropriate material. Our textbook lists some alternatives to help work around this problem and suggests placing Web 2.0 tools on intranets so that they are behind district firewalls. I'm not quite sure how this works, but would like to explore the concept further. Even though it "limits students to collaborating only with oungsters who are already in close proximity, it provides access to new tools and security" (156).

Our text also suggests pointing staff and parents to GetNetWise for its Online Safety Guide and other internet safety resources. Another great resource was listed on Vacuous Digressions' blog, referencing a movie he recommends sharing with students about how accessible their online information is to the rest of the world. It's called Think Before You Post on TeacherTube.

To help combat the attitude that "availability means permission" this Fair(y) Use Tale on TeacherTube is a very entertaining way of teaching copyright law and fair use to students.

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