In Australia, most schools operate on a white list system when it comes to the web sites they can access. Educators have to apply for sites to be unblocked for classroom use and some sites are banned with no hope of unblocking them. The practitioners I’ve talked to are feeling frustrated – they’d like to explore new ways of engaging their students, but having to continually request sites be unblocked or finding a site that wasn’t blocked now is can put it all in the “too hard basket”.
Recently, an educator who had successfully been running a blogging program with his Year 3 students for a few years was told to remove the blog with the kids blogs and photos (all had parental permissions slips signed) due to safety concerns. http://alupton.edublogs.org/
Even in institutions catering to older students such as TAFEs, educators face the blockage of sites such as Twitter that can be valuable as a professional development networking tool if someone up the chain deems it to have no educational value.
I work for national, not for profit educational organisation called education.au We are owned by the federal and state education departments with the goal of supporting practitioners and administrators in the use of ICTs. We also aim to provide leadership in the innovative use of online and offline tools.
Part of my role involves producing a podcast for educators – E-learning Insights http://www.edna.edu.au/edna/go/news/podcast/eli.
To provide educators and administrators with case studies of programs that are successfully balancing risk and opportunity, I have set up a voice board to allow educators who are using social media and online tools with students to record their stories.
Here is where the voice board is located: http://sandpit.edna.edu.au/course/view.php?id=118
Due to licensing issues, users need to have an account with education network Australia (edna) services and log into the site in order to participate.
Alternately, you can send me a link to an audio file you’ve already created or an email to read out. Please include a link (or mention) of your blog or other online site so that we can make a credible link between your story and you. My email address is kjohnson at educationau.edu.au (replace “at with @ to use).
Thank you for helping to open up discussion on this issue.
I’d like to get all submissions in by Wednesday, April 30th Australia time (Tuesday 29 April US and Europe).
If you know of other educators working with students online whom you feel would make a valuable contribution, please forward this information on to them.