Al Upton has been asked to take down his blog for his grade 3 kiddos and has complied. He obtained permissions slips from parents and has violated no laws. The concerns stemmed from one parent’s concern regarding the fact his child’s photo was on the internet (despite the fact that permission slips were issued) and the fact that there were calls made to experienced adult bloggers to mentor the children blogging. The blog was disabled in compliance with DECS wishes (Department of Education and Children Services – South Australia) and all comments were investigated. I had the great pleasure and privilege of interviewing Al last year concerning his miniLegends – the interview is here: http://www.edna.edu.au/edna/go/news/podcast/eli/ep15 If you blog with your students and have had positive outcomes, please leave a comment on Al’s blog. As well, if you have useful information on online risks. please leave that too. It is education – not hysteria that will help this conversation develop. If you do comment, please keep it constructive. It is a good thing that parents are concerned.

5 Comments

  1. Hey, Kezza,

    I can’t believe that Al has had to take his site down! What a loss for education! Al’s work showed great leadership and innovation in the creative use of ICTs.

    To be honest, I think most of the hysteria in the debate actually comes from those who haven’t done any investigation or research into how things such as blogs and wikis work — let alone work in education. This really places them in a difficult position, because they aren’t in a position to have an informed opinion on the topic. With a little education I’m sure that parents and administrators would see the value in teaching our kids about good online citizenship and safe internet behaviour, rather than disabling (and there’s a lot to that word …) ICT use in education, as has happened to Al. Perhaps to get around it, Al could make his blog private? But that will cut out the community engagement he is trying to foster.

    What a shame.

  2. Pingback: MeganPoore.com » Blog Archive » Mini Legends madness

  3. As far as I know, the site shows the kids photos, identified the class they belonged two and allowed anyone to post messages. The checking of the messages was not automatic or always done.

    I wouldn’t be happy about my child being on the site.

  4. Thanks for that Justin – it’s good to get both sides in.

    Regarding how messages were checked – I’m sure Al wouldn’t mind your asking him what the process was. Feel free to leave a comment on his site or drop me an email and I’ll forward your address to him if you don’t wish to comment there.

    Regarding your child’s photo, name and school being published – do you also prevent this in media outlets such as newspapers?

    Thanks again for commenting.

    Cheers!

    KerryJ

  5. Its not the photo being shown but the combination of the photo, class and location and potentially un-moderated access to the child.

    You wrote “The concerns stemmed from one parent’s concern regarding the fact his child’s photo was on the internet (despite the fact that permission slips were issued)”.

    How do you know that is was one parent?

    regards

    Justin.

  6. Hi Justin

    Sorry I didn’t get back to you earlier!

    The comments left on the kids blogs WERE monitored – Al received feeds of all comments left and all posts the kids made. I found this out by listening to a podcast interview with him. I’d also interviewed him late last year.

    I know it was one parent from comments other parents made.

    And as far as the combo of photo, class, location and access — kids walk to and from school. If their photo showed up in a local paper, it would be far easier to gain access to them that way. On a blog, they need to respond and engage. And Al teaches them not to.

    One thing to remember is that kids are going online regardless of whether they are blocked from doing so at school or not. I’d prefer they learn how to do it safely at school so when they are getting online after hours and on weekends, they know how to conduct themselves.

    Research on internet predators includes this study just published from the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Centre: http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20080306/sc_livescience/studydebunkswebpredatormyths

    I am not suggesting that kids shouldn’t be careful. I am suggesting that I’d rather they learn the skills they need with coaching from a professional.