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Policies 2.0 - Update 3

policy2.0.jpgThanks to everyone who tuned in yesterday afternoon. I had fun, but I've always said that the one doing all the talking is never bored. Anyway, I added the Think Before You Link poster below. And when the recording of this thing goes online, I'll add the link to that as well. Here is the link to the slideshow. And here is a link to the audio at Brian Grenier's Bump on the Blog.

The list below is the bibliography (webliography?) for my Discovery Education Webinar on March 21st. The article on which the presentation is based will be appearing in this summer's Threshold magazine. The links are in order they are mention in the talk, I am afraid.

Policies 2.0: Rules for the Social Web (teaser and resources)
In the fast-changing online world of social networking, where an embarrassing photo can travel the globe in seconds, online predators are the topic of nightly news programs, and young adults travel as avatars to virtual worlds where anything can happen, what policies do schools need to set and how do they set them?

Mankato Schools poster. Permission to use freely given. For a larger image click here. 

Sites mentioned:
MySpace <>
Pew Internet & American Life Project, Jan 2007 memo <>
Technocrati <>
Wikipedia <> <>
Flickr <>
YouTube <>
Second Life <>
Teen Second Life <>
The Horizon Report- 2007 <>.
ISD77 Acceptable Use Policy <>
Larry Magid and Anne Collier (book) MySpace Unraveled: What it is and how to use it safely. (Peachpit, 2006)
 Parry Aftab, Kids Online in Schools: Risk Management & the Law <>
The Internet Archive (Wayback Machine) <>
Andy Carvin, blog “DOPA Jr.” <> <>
“Tracking Theresa” and “Julie’s Journey” <>
ISD77  resource list of websites for parents about safe Internet use <>
Gargoyles Loose in the Library blog <>
Hennepin County Library in MySpace <>
Virtual literary worlds <>
Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture <>
Tips on forming and running an advisory group at <>
Vicki Davis, Cool Cat Blog <>
Predators & cyberbullies: Reality check (BlogSafety)

Recommended websites about Internet safety for parents
Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use <>
Children's Partnership <>
CyberBullying information <>
CyberSmart <>
Family Guide Book <>
Get Net Wise <> <>
Internet Safety Advisor <>
McGruff Online Safety for Kids <>
MediaWise <>
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children <>
NetLingo: Top 20 Internet Acroynms Every Parent Needs to Know <>
NetSmartz <>
Play It Cyber Safe <> <> <>
Safety Ed International <>
Wired Safety Website  <>

Readers, send in more resources!


Happy St. Patrick's Day

My grandmother on my mother's side was a Brady. Perhaps that's where all the Blarney in me comes from.

Irish Summer, taken by Doug Johnson, July 2006


The technology glass

Some people think of the glass as half full. Some people think of the glass as half empty. I think of the glass as too big. ~ George Carlin

If you haven't read Tim (Assorted Stuff) Stahmer's and Graham (Teaching Generation Z) Wegner's comments on yesterday's post about interactive white boards, please do.  If you read Assorted Stuff, you know Tim is skeptical of the sb2.jpgIWBs and has experience with a large implementation of them in his own district.  (I'd sort of been expecting his comments.) Graham's been writing about using IWBs from personal experience for as long, it seems, as I have been reading his blog. At the risk of over simplifying, here are some their concerns/observations about IWBs and their implementation:

  • they reinforce "traditional" teaching methods
  • their motivational aspect wears off
  • the cost/value ratio of these devices is not good enough
  •  the effective use of an IWB is dependent on the teaching skills and philosophy of the instructor

I agree with each of these sentiments (although unlike Graham and Tim, I don't have a skeptical bone in my entire body.) Their comments gave rise to some questions:

  1. How are concerns about IWBs unlike any other technology application we have placed in schools? Aren't Tim and Graham's concerns about IWB true for 1:1 computing, computer labs, student use of blogs - whatever?  Thank god - or there would be no need for tech directors or blogging pundits. Well, maybe there still isn't a need for the second.
  2. Is the "gee whiz" factor positive or negative in technology implementations?  I distinctly remember the giant "oooooh" that always came just after I showed a class of teachers learning to use a word processor how to "Select All" and then change the font. Just because these folks got overly excited at first doesn't mean they aren't using the technology well or badly now - as far as I can tell.
  3. How do we know when any technology's cost is justified? Of the approximately $3200 per classroom we spent on this project, the SmartBoard device itself was $840 - about 25% of the cost. My logic was this - mounted LCD projectors were mostly likely going into classrooms anyway. Why not spend a modest amount of money and try to increase the likelihood of the technology being used interactively? Of course there is still a part of me that says we should take the entire tech budget and spend it all on quality books and lots of human tutors.
  4. Are we asking too much of devices? Which comes first the technology or the methodology to use it well? And who defines "use it well?" For good or ill, technology has always been touted as a catalyst for change. Install it and they will come along, if you will. Most of us know that is bogus. Most technology implementations have resulted in a "patina" of change, which may be more harmful to schools in the long run than the perception of no change at all. Teachers who are constructivist in nature will use technology to remain constructivist; the stage sages will add pictures to their lectures (which not be a bad thing either). As one who makes his beer money giving lectures, I am not as down on the method as others might be.

I have absolutely no stock in or relatives working for any IWB companies. I don't think my job is dependent on the successful use of these devices. I tend to own up to failures.- the professional ones anyway.

But you know, I am still glad we are doing this project. I believe in what my classroom teachers are telling me - this equipment helps them do their jobs better. (I hear comments like those that Jennifer and Jay left a lot.) The number of teachers applying for SmartClassrooms is high this year. Principals are jockeying for more than their share of installations in their buildings. The buzz from the kids is that they like'm.

Are we seeing the technology glass as half full, half empty or too big?