Saturday, 31 March 2012

Coming to Terms ... Responsible use by Educators

I have noticed some conversation and debate lately about Terms of Service of websites on the various education networks I inhabit.

Finally, we may all be getting onto the same page in this regard. This is a welcome relief to me.

Reading the relevant SMALL PRINT for one, understanding for two and then respecting for three is our responsibility.

The Terms and Privacy Statements on websites are a must-read for the 21st century educator.

It is vital to be aware of just how much Personally Identifiable Information (PII) we might be asking (directing) our students of ALL ages to handover to a business. This business might be in the USA, India, Romania, Japan --- anywhere!

Let the learning journey begin!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

The things educators say and do ...

and maybe should not.

In my last post, I said I would come back to write about my view of some "no-brainer" type comments that are frequently posted by educators on social networking services.

Maybe using the term "no-brainer" is not fair. Ok, I'll call the behaviour naive and too often dangerously uninformed.

I have only recently started collecting these comments. I have made slight changes to protect the innocent.

Person A wrote: 
I was disappointed that now is all about paying money!
My comment: These services on websites are businesses not charitable organisations. They exist to make money. They attract and capture an audience, their personal information and data and BOOM they start charging or are bought out by some bigger business that wants their talent or data etc.
Ditto for: piknik to google, skype to Microsoft and posterous to Twitter.

Person B wrote: 

I am looking for a free, online, effective, user friendly, collaborative writing/documents tool for students? What can you recommend?
My comment: What age? What PII is required? What do the Terms and Privacy statement say?

Just two so far.

So, teachers sign up for online services often with wild abandon. That's fine!  The problem arises when teachers tell students to register or simply use the latest nifty tool without having conducted a thorough risk assessment of the website content, features and functionality.

I say in the first instance for student use or access, teachers should stick to using tested and reviewed services and resources created by teacher colleagues or reputable organisations for educational use.

Educators cannot afford to play fast and loose with student safety online.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Double Trouble: Annoying Words and No Brainers

I am probably just getting old and maybe even a little intolerant, here goes anyway.

People who use "guys" for everyone. Guys is not a gender-inclusive word.

"Nerdy teacher" it just baffles me why teachers use this with themselves. It is a type of apology for being keen and capable of using ICT to enhance learning.
Stand up and be proud, I say, it is an accomplishment and not a deficit.

"e or i or m" on the front of everything. I wrote a post ages ago about the "alphabet soup" of technology change. I am enjoying seeing the progress brought by these cluey little "letters".
Is it old news yet?

For me the current prize goes to the hashtag #justsayin
This is a put-down, none too subtle of someone or something. Do not like it at all.

I will be back to write about the no-brainers, maybe that term should be in my list above?

Pinterest: Teachers Pin With Their Students

(University) Teachers Pin With Their Students

Reading this article, it is clear that Pinterest, a social networking service would be of use for mature  students.

The key for school teachers is this section:

"... Pinterest does not permit those aged 13 or under to use the site, Christina DiMicelli, a technology integration specialist at Hampstead Academy in Hampstead, N.H., does not feel comfortable in allowing students at the K-8 school to use it in class.
“There is a lot of unmonitored content on it,” she told the Daily Dot. “It is too easy to come across images of nudes, etc. I am hoping that Pinterest comes up with an education account for teachers with managed student accounts included.”"

The message here is that teachers need to read the Terms and Privacy statements for all sites used with students and be clear on age eligibility requirements.

Statements such as "I didn't know, didn't see it, it is a law of another country etc " do not constitute an effective approach to risk assessment.