Policies, Safety, and Social Networking ~ Steve Dembo ISTE10

“I want my student to be found, he already has 3,000 hits on Google.” How many people are uploading pictures of their babies the day they are born? First and Last name with Birth Day. 84 Billion Dollars spend on a filter in Australia cracked in 30 minutes by a 16 year old. Over 50% of schools in the US prohibit social networking….and there is no law saying they have to. Most policies are vastly different than most educators think. CIPA 11/08 Update: Educating minors about appropriate online behavior CIPA left vague on purpose. All you have to do is try your best to block porn. Mapping the Filter: What do you Block ~ Will Richardson “We’ve decided that we will no longer use the web filter as a classroom management tool.” ~ Bud Hunt Walled Garden Wiki ~ Miguel Guhlin College Confidential ~ Students create a site to help other students get into college...

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Teaching Filtering Skills More Important Than Ever!

(Thank you everyone for your concern! We are all safe in Bangkok this evening with Government imposed curfew on the city) I’m not sure what the news is like about the Bangkok protests outside of Thailand. But inside of Thailand is has been sporadic at best. Leaving people wanting to know and turning to constantly updated streams of information such as Facebook and Twitter. Twitter has made it big within our school community. Many teachers, students, and parents have been following different hash tags or lists. Popular Twitter hash tags have been #bangkok #redshirts #redshirt #thaicrisis. Here’s the issue…..everyone has an opinion and both sides have been using Twitter and the people following the stream there as a way to have their voice heard. I don’t think that’s a bad things, but are we teaching people that these live streams of information need to be filtered? I wonder how many people in Bangkok took the time to actually look at who was tweeting what, and understood their agenda. For as much good information there was in the stream there was propaganda from both sides. Whether we like it or not as a global society we have come to expect this type of live stream when events are happening. Whether it’s an earthquake in Haiti or protests in Bangkok, we want to know what’s going on NOW and we don’t want to wait……we have become a nearly now society. There are two things that concern me: 1) What concerned me the most is the length at which citizen journalists would good to to get the story. Putting themselves in harms way, getting shot at, and in some cases actually dieing for being in the wrong spot at the wrong time. Is nearly now news worth this? Yet it happens and continues to happen as people run around the city trying to get pictures of burning building and putting themselves in harms way. 2) Secondly were the tweets from people outside of Thailand who clearly were not informed on what had been happening over the past 7 weeks or so here in Bangkok and felt the need to add their 2cents to the stream, making it even more confusing on what the actual truth was. Then there is the mainstream media. The CNNs and BBCs of the world who are trying to capture and tell the story the best they can...

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Why Facebook is Unblocked at ISB

I thought I would share an e-mail that was sent from our department today to a parent who had raised a concern about Facebook being unblocked at school. A very well thought out e-mail from the group. Chad Bates did most of the work with Dennis, Kim and I adding our two cents in as well. Dear Parent, Thanks for your email, you raise an issue that schools, teachers, parents and workplaces are currently grappling with i.e. weighing the benefits of social networks against the concerns. When considering the relative merits of Facebook, there are some very obvious negative uses as well as positive uses, and a whole lot of grey area: Benefits Facebook is a 21st Century Communication tool that students use much like we use email Acknowledgment of this very real social interaction and providing students with opportunities to learn with technology the way they live with technology rather than further distance school from the reality of the outside world Giving students opportunity to develop their own time management skills and choices Developing digital citizenship and opportunity to practice safe and responsible use of information and technology Concerns Cyber-bullying issues Invasions of privacy Reduction in productivity Within ISB’s Technology Department, we walk a fine line with censoring Internet content, one we don’t take lightly. When attempting to strike a balance between student safety, productivity and educational benefit; we’ve found blocking pornographic sites, gambling sites and gaming sites are no brainers. However when considering social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace (not to mention the many social non-English social networking sites) it is not so cut and dried. These sites have emerged as social areas that form a major significant part of many of our student’s lives. This socialization is near as important to this generation as face to face time with their friends and they maintain friendships beyond ISB to include international students from schools around the world. At this point we feel that by simply blocking these sites, we as a school would be missing an opportunity to educate students about how to use them appropriately. That being said, we continue to monitor the use of these sites (and others) within the school and evaluate their value and the learning opportunity for students (as opposed to denial) versus the potential for distraction. If students cannot manage their time on computers productively at school, then they...

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