Do we need to protect ourselves from… ourselves?
I’ve been doing a lot of research with colleagues in the last few months in the realm of public school district policies, especially pertaining to internet, web 2.0, social media, filtering, etc.
What we’ve found is many schools who have vague language in their policies, and who rely on either a person or a committee to make decisions on a case by case basis. I can’t imagine that this protocol would be immediately responsive, as I’m sure the individuals or committees have other job responsibilities.
We’ve also found quite a few districts that insist upon the strictest control possible. In many cases, the justification is “we need to protect the students and/or staff from themselves.”
Internet safety education is federally mandated in all schools, but even those guidelines and requirements are somewhat vague.
I think it’s fairly obvious where I stand (if you’ve read any of my previous posts on the subject). I’m very much in favor of educating the masses about productive use of web tools, as well as discussing the inherent risks and learning about productive and responsible online behaviors. Personally, I think “control” is an illusion- and locking students and staff away from everything at school teaches them nothing when they leave those school boundaries.
- where can schools draw the lines without making those lines too fuzzy?
- how does one decide if a “tool” is truly too risky for students to use within the school setting?
- if something “bad” happens as a result of using a specific web tool, what are the legal ramifications?
What are your thoughts?
- How do your schools manage these issues?
- Who makes those decisions?
- When was the last time your policies were re-written to reflect the changing nature of what kids do and learn online?
- Do you have an AUP that works well for staff and students? Why or why not?
I’m hoping for a lot of responses here, as I think it would be helpful to us all!
Also, if you haven’t seen this wiki started by educators in Missouri, take a look!