Friday, January 9, 2009

Question Authority

I want to do Wikified Research papers with my student. Before reading The Fischbowl article, I had never heard of such a thing. How engaging! How fresh for student and teacher alike. There are so many possibilities for our students in the use of the technology that we have available; yet, we are restricted as educators in what we are allowed to expose them to.

I teach seventh graders. They are twelve and thirteen-years-old. Can they contribute to a Wiki? No. Do I need to find another job teaching older students, or can I give this rich experience to the current students I love working with?

There is so much available out there that will help us embrace technology standards, but we are restricted from many of the tools that are available in the "real world." I understand the dangers of some of the social networks out there, but we, as educators, are unable to educate our students on these tools by creating our own secure wikis. There needs to be an answer that allows us to develop our students' technology skills and knowledge, connects us to the rest of the world in a common format, and is free.

Shouldn’t we be teaching our students to use the tools out there as early as we can? Is it fair to our students, their future, and our society’s development to hold them back from using educational tools until they are “of age” in the classroom?

I know the loopholes, but how ethical is it to use them? And how easy is it to persuade my 75 students’ parents that granting permission for their child to participate in this online activity is safe when the government has laws prohibiting it?

This frustrates me. Is the US government going to continue allowing our students to be limited when many of the other countries in the world are educating their children with few "CIPA" regulations.


  1. Why can't your 7th graders create a wiki? Is it a school policy? If it is...maybe it's time that someone like you fights it.

    COPPA ( legislation would allow the students if you had parent permission. If you sent a letter home how many do you think you would get back? I have a feeling you'd get more back than you think. The COPPA Law is very frustrating but there are ways around it...if you need help or ideas let me know...for someone who doesn't work in the states, I still know a lot of the loopholes. :)

  2. I read this comment days ago. I don't know why. I know that our school, with a new superintendent, doesn't seem to have any real clear policies. It's baffling. The Tech Coordinator believes I can start my kids on a wiki and the general release for for internet and school email access grants permission for this sort of thing. I worry about putting my kids out there and finding later that I'm in a bit of a pickle for overstepping parental rights.

    With that said, I have set up a wiki and plan to use it with my writing winter wellness group. It's a great place for me to test the waters.