TECHForum Chicago – Policies, Safety, and Social Networking

imageLive Blogged:  So please forgive any typos, thought fragments, and any other issues.

Steve Dembo:  Discovery Education – NOTE: Steve put forth a specific disclaimer that he is not a lawyer and is NOT recommending anything or a direction in any way what so ever 🙂 Go Steve!

Steve referenced Tony Vincent: Learning in Hand and Tony's post on "How to cheat"

Filters are doing the opposite of protecting students it is hindering innovative teachers and keeping them from educating students to the fullest of their capabilities.

While CIPA laws require school districts (to maintain their e-rate funding) to filter internet access – the level and extent is at the discretion of the district – as long as it is NOT putting students at risk.

How do we break down a barrier for opening up filtering: (create a list)

  • Where does blogging it?
  • Social Networking?
  • Digital Stories?
  • Email access?
  • etc.

Make a list of what skills are necessary for students to have and where should they fall in the safety continuum and adjust your filter and filtering policy accordingly.

References – with this tool, you can create a personalized social networking site that can be completely open to the public or you can host it on your district servers

References Miguel Guhlin's Walledgarden Wiki – Wiki with a list of free resources that can be hosted in-house on district servers to maintain as much control and safety as the district desires.

Referenced: – Social networking site based on and eco-friendly way.  Students from around the world are collaborating.


There is a high school in IOWA that is having students do a Google search on their own name to see what gets returned from that search and what does that say about them and the presence they are putting out on the web.  Additionally, they are beginning to look at opportunities to "manage" their online persona.

Current research says that 75% of recruiters are starting with internet searches and using sites like Linkedin to build profile on candidates and support their clients interests.

Virginia is first state in the country that is REQUIRING schools to teach internet safety. They are not requiring a course, they are looking at fully embedding the teaching of internet safety into the entire curriculum

Referenced: online permissions

Referenced: Horizon Project

Referenced: SLA Chris Lehman's internet policy puts forward their BELIEFS not restrictions or policies…

Thoughts: Be careful about being too detailed when writing and type of internet policies allow yourself to be vague and focus on beliefs not tools, consequences, specific restrictions.  This will allow the school environment to remain flexible.

Scott's Commentary and questions here: Is there anyone out there teaching students about the consequences of identity theft or impersonating another person?  Are schools responsible for teaching parents about the laws?

Referenced: Social Networking Acceptable Use


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