I think there is a sea change happening now regarding how protecting students and their identities on the Internet are handled by schools. Earlier policies seemed to focus on structures (filters, passwords), rules and consequences. This type of thinking eliminates the need for students to learn how how to stay safe and behave ethically. New policies need to focus on directly teaching students how to stay safe, what the real dangers are, and then allow them to practice in an environment that is monitored and semi-public. This is real learning and a crucial 21st Century skill.

It is up to us, the teachers and school staff to keep our students safe. Introduction of Web 2.0 tools should be preceded by direct instruction on Ethics, Digital Citizenship, and Internet Safety. To ensure the safety of our students I suggest the following guidelines when using web 2.0 resources (thank you Lois Clement help with this list):

  • Students and employees must remain personally anonymous (use pseudonyms for employees and students) on public web pages
  • Pseudonyms  should be unique (not used elsewhere as they may be cross referenced and lead to identification)
  • School and district should stay anonymous
  • Review content prior to posting to public
  • Monitor ALL posted content
  • Use password protected services where possible
  • Change any “shared” password often
  • Require that students log in when posting or editing
  • Check videos or photos for identifying information such as clothing, school banners, mascots, etc.
  • Check for student names on items such as reports and artwork
  • Never pair images with names

David Warlick talks about this topic on his blog post titled School AUP 2.o. This is an informative post that jumps off to a wiki Warlick put together to help schools and administrators deal with need to revise AUPs.