Saturday, March 1, 2008

Concerns about Security

As educators, we must consider the security of sites in making decisions. There are a number of web-based wiki sites that require a password and a login system to interact with the site. I think it would be worth using these sites particularly with younger students and perhaps older students who are new to using wikis (simply because there would be less of a distraction from outside editors).

With both PBwiki and wikispaces, you can choose whether to mark your wiki as public or private with one click. With PBwiki, asking others to join, simply involves sending them the “join URL”, whereas with Wikispaces, you send your invitees the address of the wiki and they must request permission to join and wait until it is granted.
In his book, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for the Classroom, Richardson makes a case for keeping your wiki public, to access collaboration in its purest form. He points out that it might be beneficial having the class as a whole monitoring the content of the wiki, as wikis are easily restored if necessary and that students begin to teach each other when the management of the content is left up to them.


Val said...

Hi Elizabeth. Awesome picture. I feel like strapping on my skis and hitting the slopes. I am always amazed at your organizational and time management skills. You are always a week ahead. That all while teaching a very challenging grade one class. I applaud you.

Security is my biggest concern with all the web tools. Elisa mentioned to me that if you google your name now as compared to at the beginning of the course you will find every blog posting, all our youtube exploration etc and even our comments on others blogs. Obviously with using these tools there is a loss of privacy and with that there is a security issue. (taking a complete side bard - I can' imagine the life of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie? How can they ever feel comfortable and safe taking their kids out in public?)

Some things I'm considering for our school wiki, notes home and returned regarding use and instructions. Approval by our admin (a given) and a buy in by teachers and sudents. Limiting the site to only students, staff and parents of iyr school. If you have any other suggestions I'm all ears.

Of all the tools I am liking this one best.

elizabeth said...

Val, I think it might be an idea to get staff working on something very simple on a wiki-say plans for the June Fun Day. After they have experienced it they may be more interested in using a wiki and more aware of what kinds of security issues should be addressed. I would definitely say limiting the site to only staff, students and parents (perhaps to start, the parents of the particular class?) would be necessary and should be information provided on permissions forms. So much of this may also have to be worked out along the way as we come up against unknown obstacles. Teaching kids how to take responsibility for their own safety online has become a life skill we must address.