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I think the concerns are very, very legitimate. I have seen lots of
materials on using Web 2.0 in schools - all talking about the exciting
opportunities. But there are significant risks - many legal.

I am working on some materials for schools/districts on shifting to Web 2.0
technologies, which I consider imperative to preparing students for their
future education, careers, and civic involvement. But the management and
legal challenges are significant.

This is on top of the problems caused by the AGs in this country running
around yelling "fear of predators" (only 1% of all arrests for sexual abuse
of children involve online predators), issues of cyberbullying (which are a
significant concern), school staff posting material online that is really
damaging, and students targeting staff online or posting images taken at

The teachers who are moving forward with Web 2.0 activities are visionaries
- risk takers. School administrators can be very forward thinkers, but you
are not going to find a visionary among them. They must manage risk. And to
move forward in adopting Web 2.0 in schools we have to know how to manage
the risks - which is the purpose of the materials I am working on.

I hate to be a real party dampener, but school districts can be held liable
for the materials students and staff post - including copyright infringement
and publishing torts such as defamation and invasion of privacy. ISPs have
immunity if they have take down procedures. Institutions of higher education
have immunity from claims of copyright infringement if they have take down
procedures. When these statutes were enacted, no one thought that students
or staff in K-12 institutions would ever be posting material online.

Further, all of those fair use for education guidelines you all know so
well. They do not function in Web 2.0. These guidelines only work for face
to face instruction or distance education in a restricted to students
manner. There are fair use guidelines that are applicable to material posted
online. But they are different. They require a transformation of the work.
Fair use for criticism, comment, or parody is acceptable fair use exception
for Web 2.0. But unfortunately, he standards for this are unclear. There is
a case now in courts, the Obama poster created by Fairey using an AP photo
as the source of the image. But this will not reach the Supreme Court for a
very long time. 

I believe there are ways to effectively manage all of these risks. But I do
also believe legislative protection is advisable. I am concerned that my
public discussion of these risks will create a huge stop sign. I have
initiated some discussions with someone in DC to see what might be done
about legislation. 

The good news is that the U or Oregon has agreed to provide CEU credit for
the professional development materials I am creating. This is going to be
probably a 3-4 hour presentation. With a recommended Internet use policy.


Jeff said:

> I have to say I know exactly what you're talking about, Janice: News
> broke last week that students in one of our middle schools had posted a
> locker room fight on YouTube prompting our Principal to make a remark at
> the last staff meeting betraying the fact that administrators are very
> concerned about, in his words, "The whole YouTube/Facebook thing."
> That, in turn, makes me nervous because it seems 2.0 tools are headed
> towards being perceived in the aggregate as problematic instead of
> promising. And unfortunately, if that happens, it's the innovators that
> risk getting whacked. >...
> I'd thought we were past that now, but I'm realizing that a few bad
> incidents involving k-12 age students, whether they take place in or out
> of school, could trigger an instant devolution.
Janice said:
> I am teaching my 5th graders how to create wikis & use them for their
> State projects. I have set up rules for use, i.e. positive comments
> only, no personal information, no bad language, etc. ...> I'm a little nervous
about this whole thing myself. I monitor the pages
> (I
> have 110 5th grade students) and delete when necessary and leave
> comments
> to guide them. The wiki has recharged their interest in doing their
> State
> projects and I hope this whole idea goes as smoothly as possible. I
> would
> appreciate any feedback from those who have been in this situation.
> Thanks,

Nancy Willard, M.S., J.D.
Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use

Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats: Responding to the Challenge of Online Social
Aggression, Threats, and Distress (Research Press)

Cyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens: Helping Young People Learn to Use the
Internet Safely and Responsibly (Jossey-Bass)

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