What there is no lack of is evidence that educators around the world are creatively incorporating web technologies into their personal lives and professional practice. Just visit the K-12 Online Conference and listen to or watch a few of the sessions that have already been posted.
Clearly, the shift is happening with or without official mandate or endorsement.
A system that pro-actively anticipates the shift is preferable to one always caught reacting to it, but some reaction is certainly preferable to no reaction at all.
Regarding web policy, perhaps the answer is not “build it and they will come.” Maybe it’s more like, “build as we go.”
So, with that in mind, I thought I would share some artifacts that a school or district might use to cobble together a web policy to support teacher- and student-created web content (rather than merely circumscribe or prescribe acceptable use of content). Here are some worthwhile resources:
- Will Richardson discusses the educational value of social networking during October 17 chat session sponsored by the National School Board Association. If you read the transcript, you will notice a question about policy from an “individual from Knoxville, TN.” That’s me! Richardson provided a link to a model blogging policy at Arapahoe High School in Colorado, but he underscored the importance of starting “conversations with all of the constituents in a school district” as the primary first step to effecting change.
- The Arapahoe High School Blogging Policy includes rules for safe blogging, a list of traits describing successful blog authors, and a writing sample from an actual student-authored blog. I think wording like this is essential for creating a durable and viable policy: “These guidelines are not meant to be exhaustive and do not cover every contingency. If you are ever in doubt about the appropriateness of an item – ask a parent or teacher.”
- At the Generation YES Blog Sylvia Martinez has a wonderful post in which she encourages teachers to create Technology Vision Statements.
- Karl Fisch and Steve Dembo have opened up dialog about this issue at their blogs. The comments at the Fischbowl are particularly interesting.
- And here are some thoughts on the subject of computers, ethics, and schools by Howard Rheingold.