Planning issues Ethical issues Safety issues
Planning issues

Before beginning to do anything in the Web 2.0 arena, it is important to consider some issues around the use of these tools. Russell Burt from Point England School has contributed some thinking around this in a recent forum post that I thought was valuable to share on this wiki (with his permission). I have also added further resources from my own research.

Place of online tools within the school

  • Are school managements sufficiently informed as to what their staff are doing in online spaces and is there well thought out accountability internally?
  • Is the online work part of an intentional, well designed school or cluster development that has included the consideration of ethical education for the 21st century and the ethical responsibilities of the various members of the learning community, or are some well intentioned teachers who saw something funky at a course, conference or workshop simply winging it.
  • New Zealand is in urgent need of some co-constructed guidelines that address the online activities of schools, students, staff and parents.

Current position at Point England School
Staff are currently involved in discussions around all the issues identified in relation to the use of online spaces and guidelines are being developed at school level.

Age restrictions for online tools

  • Has the school checked the 'fine print' when using online tools to establish what the minimum age is to be an account holder?
  • How can we manage & support the online learning of minors using educationally appropriate social networking apps, and the decision making around which apps are indeed appropriate?

Current position at Point England School
We currently use a number of applications that we have discussed and approved as appropriate. These do include things like Blogger which have an age restriction. Key points here:
  • None of our below 13's are the account holder.
  • The teacher must be the account holder and must use RSS to subscribe to any additions and comments on their own laptop as well as someone in the school or cluster management subscribing using RSS so that all updates are monitored exactly as we would treat the 20th Century traditional work of students.
  • When a school signs up/registers to use Google Apps for Education, item 1 to note is that obviously Google expect students to use the apps. Item 2 to note is that its the school that signs up and thus takes responsibility for all content and use thereafter and must have its own internal protocols to manage this. I think this is the model we should follow for all online apps we are using for for learning in the direct school context.

Here is a Google Site from Point England that outlines for staff how to roll over content in a blog year to year.

Please feel free to add comments about any of these points in the Discussion tab