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Upcoming webinar

disced.jpgHi folks,

I am doing a webinar for Discovery Education that is free and open to the public next Wednesday, March 21st at 5:00 EST with Steve Dembo.  More info here. Be there or be square.


Policies 2.0: Rules for the Social Web
In the radically-changing world of social networking, where an embarrassing photo can travel the globe in seconds, online predators are the topic of nightly news programs, students cite wikis as authoritative sources, and young adults travel as avatars to virtual worlds where anything can happen (and does), what policies do schools need to set and how do they set them? Is today's AUP sufficient for Web 2.0? How do we not just protect children today, but teach them to protect themselves well into the future?


ALA's red headed stepchild once again

Open letter to Lenonard Kniffel, Editor of ALA's American Libraries (

Dear Mr. Kniffel:

 Once again ALA has demonstrated that school libraries are truly the red-headed stepchild of the library world.

I appreciate your re-working of American Libraries to acknowledge that there is actually a digital world where libraries play a part. Adding columns by a few librarians who are under 110 years old  is a good start. (Andrew Pace and Merideth Farkas are refreshing)

But it really grinds my gears reading an article like "Mattering the Blogosphere" without even the token school library blogger being mentioned. I can just hear Alice Yucht asking, "What are we, chopped liver?"

Let me list a few of the vibrant school library voices writing blogs:

 I hope you print this in your Letters to the Editor section. But you know it doesn't really matter since it is also out in the school library blogosphere - which I would wager has more school librariansas  readers than does American Libraries.

For a more inclusive editorial policy,

Doug Johnson
The Blue Skunk Blog



Controlling student online postings

One of our most thoughtful library/tech leaders here in Minnesota posted this question to a state listserv this morning (used here with permission):

A teacher in the _______ Project has been targeted on a Facebook site. The offending student deleted the page, using his cell phone, while a school administrator was speaking to the class. The teacher ishand.jpg quite upset and contacted me for information in how to proceed.

I am aware of 1st Amendment issues, etc. and of the controversy surrounding what schools can and cannot control, but am wondering what policies folks have in place and how these situations are being resolved.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Do we need additional policies for the read/write web?

I've just been doing a little digging into our standing AUP to see if it covers most Web 2.0-related issues for an article I am writing, and my conclusion is that we do not need additional policies to cover these newer  applications and resources. Our policy already states (bold is mine):

  • Users will not use the school district system to transmit or receive obscene, abusive, profane, lewd, vulgar, rude, inflammatory, threatening, disrespectful, or sexually explicit language.
  • Users will not use the school district system to access, review, upload, download, store, print, post, or distribute materials that use language or images that are inappropriate to the educational setting or disruptive to the educational process and will not post information or materials that could cause damage or danger of disruption.
  • Users will not use the school district system to access, review, upload, download, store, print, post, or distribute materials that use language or images that advocate violence or discrimination toward other people (hate literature) or that may constitute harassment or discrimination.

But this does NOT cover student off-site behaviors. I do remember from Dangerously Irrelevant Scott McLeod's session at the November 2006 TIES tech conference that schools have lost most cases when they have tried to discipline students for off-site speech issues, no matter how egregious.

There is also a Point/Counterpoint column in this (March) issue of ISTE's Leading & Learning magazine that asks "Should Schools Regulate Offsite Online Behavior?" Nancy Willard argues for schools responding to cyberbulling (but not teacher bashing). Lynn Wietecha asks what can schools "reasonably" do.

My sense is there would need to a strong case made for the "disruptive to the educational process" just like any other student free-speech issue before a district would/should/could step in. A teacher's hurt feelings probably wouldn't qualify (and, yes,  I know that sounds callous.) Remember that I am not a lawyer although I sometimes pretend to be one on the Internet. Sometimes free speech is painful.

Does your district attempt to regulate off-site student speech? And how?