Unit 2: Dangers of Blogs and Safeguarding Our Students
Welcome to Unit 2!
One of the biggest concerns of integrating technology into the classroom, especially the elementary classroom, is safety. This is an understandable concern, and so this second unit will address the potential dangers of utilizing blog technology in the classroom. Our work in this unit will help us recognize appropriate and relevant safety features to put in place to keep our students safe. By the end of this unit, you will have put in place safety features for your literacy blog, as well as developed a blogging safety contract for your students.
The following activities will help you understand the potential dangers of blogging, and the safety concerns that educators may have. As you move through the unit activities, be sure to keep in mind that you will be developing your own blog safety contract you use with your students. Although we will not be discussing the guiding unit questions in a formal space, be sure to be thinking about them as you progress through the learning activities, as your thoughts and reflections will help you develop your blog safety contract, as well as select safety settings for your classroom blog.
Guiding Unit Questions:
- What safety concerns are most important to you and your classroom blog?
- How will these concerns be addressed in your blog safety contract? In your blog space?
These resources discuss children's internet safety, and provide some ideas to keep in mind as we integrate technology into the classroom. Most of the resources below do not need to be read in their entirety.
Here is a great article discussing the potential risks associated with new technologies and childhood. The article is a bit lengthy, so I suggest focusing in on the following sections, "About kids and blogs," "Blogs by children," and "Children and technology in a post-traditional world."
It is also important to know about the internet/technology policies our districts have put in place to protect children. Before integrating blog technology, you must check the internet guidelines set forth by your district. In case you do not have access to a district technology policy, use the following policy from the Great Neck Public School Board of Education Policy Manual as a guideline for your classroom literacy blog.
Additionally, I suggest you browse this website, iLookBothWays, which discusses the potential ways blogs can expose your personal information. In addition, it also shares some ways in which bloggers can protect themselves in the blog space. This website will offer ideas that you can implement in your blog contract.
This is a link to the Children's Internet Protection Act Guide put out by the Federal Communications Commission. Read through the guide to learn more about some of the guidelines schools have to follow. You can read through the actual law by following the link in the 'Extra Resources' section.
The video below highlights some of the safety features of Blogger (a blog website by Google). While the video is specific to only Blogger, the safety features are not. Most blogging sites have similar safety settings that users can put into place. As you watch the video, be thinking about which of these features are reasonable for your classroom and your students. Remember, the safety features we put into place for our first grade students, may not be the same as the ones we put into place for our eighth grade students.
Using what you've learned from our readings and videos, create a classroom blog safety contract to use with your students. Below are some samples of family internet safety contracts, as well as a classroom contract to use as a model. When you've finished, upload your contract to our discussion space. Comment on at least one of your peers' contracts.
Apply what you've discovered about blog and internet safety to your initial classroom literacy blog. Go back into the blog Settings and select which safety features are most relevant for your students. Keep in mind the safety concerns you've highlighted in your contract, as well as guidelines put forth by your district. As you select safety features, be thinking: How will my blog keep my students safe and reflect my contract and district guidelines? Briefly highlight the safety features you've put in place in our discussion space.
Classroom Homework- Practical Application
As you begin to utilize your classroom blog with students, parents and administrators may become concerned with the safety risks associated with this technology. The best way to reduce anxiety about safety issues is to discuss the blog with parents, as well as students.
This week, your classroom homework is to discuss the safety features you've implemented with parents. Tell parents the ways in which you are keeping their children safe. Share with them the safety contract and tell them the safety features you've put in place on the blog. In addition, introduce and discuss the safety contract with students. You might even have students take the contract home and talk about it with their parents before signing it.
This website is kid-friendly and can help educators teach internet safety.
Here is a link to the actual Children's Internet Protection Act. You can read more about the policy.
Interesting link to the FBI's webpage section for Kid's Safety. Very kid friendly and could be used in the classroom to teach about internet safety.