Tag Archives: Digital Footprint

Usage Agreements

Copyright is confusing but Creative Commons helps

When I first started thinking about what I wanted to do for my second COETAIL project, ideas were swarming in my head and I was having difficulty nailing down what I wanted to do.  Sean Thompson approached me one day and asked if I would like to work with him on creating an online usage policy.  I immediately agreed because the idea was one I was thinking about and Sean and I have had some great tech conversations.  We began exchanging our ideas back and forth via e-mail and had a wonderful meeting at my house to hammer out the project.

We decided we wanted to create a web site where schools could send their teachers and students to view resources, complete activities, and in the end feel comfortable enough to begin drafting their own policies.  Early in the creation process Sean and I determined that our main focus should be creating sample policies for students and teachers.  We discussed it and decided he would work on the student policy and I would focus on the policy for teachers.

Privacy is a concern for me

As I sat down to create the online usage policy for teachers, I kept thinking about the articles I have read, videos I’ve seen, and issues that have been brought up in class.  Creative Commons and Copyright popped to the forefront of my mind, as did cyberbullying, privacy students, and age of consent for web site memberships.  The issues chosen were ones that I felt were the most important and I doubt I’ve touched on them all.  I also did not want it to be too long or technically worded.  Finally I wanted my document to come across as supportive and understanding that teachers may make mistakes and may need help with certain things.

I had two different options when creating the actual form.  At first I created the form using Weebly’s own form generator.  However, during our COETAIL meeting misternorris showed me how Google Forms records their results. the easiest way to determine the differences is to compare them side by side.

Bullying is an issue that has gotten a lot of attention lately

Weebly Google Forms
Variety of response types Yes Yes
Specific name field Yes No (but you can create it)
Mandatory question option Yes Yes
Variety of themes No Yes
E-mail form results No Yes
Easily accessible spreadsheet of results No (only accessible when it editing mode of that cell) Yes

For my personal use I want to keep this agreement in mind when I’m using the Internet and Social Media within my class.  I would also love to conduct a session with teachers and students to talk about these issues and facilitate a conversation as they create their own usage agreement.

Please feel free to go to the Acceptable Usage Agreement Teacher Assistant and have a look.

Image Credits:

All Images created using Wordle and text from my past posts.

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Has the world become like Avonlea?

 

As I was reading up on digital citizenship and how to create a positive online presence a song from Anne of Green Gables The Musical kept coming to my head.  The song in question was Where is Matthew going? During the song the Ladies of Avenonlea are intrigued by Matthew’s actions and pondered what it is he is doing.  Finally at the end of the song Marilla, Matthew’s brother, walks by the ladies and explains what Matthew is doing.  This particular number highlights the common perception  (some may argue truth) that there is no privacy to be had on Prince Edward Island because everyone is watching what everyone else is doing. While pondering the readings, I could not help but ask myself has the Internet helped the world become like Avonlea, a place where anyone who is interested can find out information about you and use that information to draw their own conclusions?

The short answer is more than likely yes.  Google, Facebook, Myspace, Foursquare, WordPress and other social media sites have transformed the way people view their privacy and the information people put out publicly.  Teachers are particularly vulnerable to being at risk of experiencing the negative side of social media.  I say this because teachers, as well as some other professions, are viewed in this odd space.  We are expected to be role models for the students and society, which means, to some people, that we must be perfect citizens who never do anything anyone might find objectionable.  However, this is not the case.  Teachers are human and no human is perfect and therefore mistakes will happen.  Or we will express an opinion or a thought that may counter with what others hoped we would express.  The downside is that there are people who will raise complaints and ask for people to be fired based on a picture or a comment shared in either or public or a private space online.

As I searched for more articles, I kept thinking about my own digital life and behaviours.  As teachers, wait as people, I believe that ultimately the responsibility of creating a positive digital footprint is up to the individual.  Not only is this important because what you post can cost you your job but more and more employers are weeding out possible employees based upon their online presence.  Finally, if we are expecting our students to represent themselves online in a positive light then it is only reasonable that we should as well.

Throughout the week I also started contemplating the importance of teaching students the skills necessary to create a positive online presence.  Truly this is an important skill, every year there have been more and more stories about students who have posted something online that has caused them to get into trouble.  If they are not shown how to best represent themselves or shown the possible results of poor online representation, I feel that we are doing them a great disservice.

In short, I believe that teachers should have a positive online presence and that students should be shown the tools, taught the skills, and have guidelines explained to them to do so.  However, when the tools, skills, and guidelines are always changing, how does one stay on top of it all?  Also, how much sharing is too much, what is the line that people, more specifically teachers, should not cross when posting to a public forum?

Image Credits:

Social Media Garden by j&tplaman on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

020/2011 footprints by rosipaw on Flickr, Creative Commons Licensed

Video Credits:

Overture-Great Workers for the Cause-Where is Matthew Going, Anne of Green Gables The Musical uploaded to YouTube by CorrAgain

!!Teacher Forces to Quit Over Facebook Photos!! uploaded to YouTube by NATUREANDNEWS

 

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