Al Upton and his Principal meet today with representatives from DECS (Department of Education and Children Services) and AEU (Australian Education Union) to discuss the report prepared by DECS Special Investigations and what needs to be done to get the Al’s students blogs back online.
For those unaware Al Upton was asked to close Al Upton and the miniLegend blog (and the student blogs) on 14 March while investigations regarding risk and management issues were undertaken. Main concerns were issues relating to use of student images on blogs and potential for cyberstalking because global adult mentors were interacting students. For more information on procedures Al used to set up his blogging program refer to this post.
Outcome of Today’s Meeting
This post is a summary based on the UPDATE 3 that Al has just posted on his blog which relates to his meeting today. Al’s whole mentoring and global collaboration is under severe threat — what he wants is constructive helpful comments that Al and his Principal can use to develop an action plan for student blogging.
Based on their discussions today DECS do not have any specific ‘blog’ policies or guidelines; responsibility (and liability) ultimately rests with his line-manager/principal assuming that he/she endorses the methodologies.
Some of the points raised in the meeting today included:
- Any communication between students and adults overseas was strongly advised against by both DECS and AEU representatives. Appears there were also concerns with even the idea of closed collaboration with classes in different countries
- Student identifiers e.g. photos/names/maps etc are a concern/risk. Student photos can be manipulated. Recommendations were that these need to be reduced as much as possible.
- Parental consent forms need to reviewed and reissued with a range of options for use of student images or avatars
- Individual student blogs were questioned with a general indication of that not being a good idea
My points are a summary of Al’s recollection of the meeting — you do need to read his update 3 on his blog.
Developing The Action Plan
Al and his Principal would appreciate the support of the community so that they can develop the action plan by taking into account all issues. They are after constructive helpful comments and thoughts; and a balanced discussion of the issues.
Check out this post for views raised on the issues so far.
He would appreciate constructive comments/posts on the mentoring program, use of individual blogs with students, student images/avatars/pseudonames etc.