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Friday, February 22, 2008

Legal Ramifications of Blogging

I found this blogger's guide published by the Electronic Frontier Foundation discussing some of the legal ramifications about blogging. A couple of interesting points are raised:
  1. "Common-man publishing" like blogs, wikis, and webpages do not provide any checks and balances that a professional writer, reporter, or journalist might have. Other than your own resources, you may not know if you're doing something wrong - illegal, defamatory, etc.
  2. The legal system is always at least one step behind the cutting edge of society - while there might be laws in place to stop journalists from publishing certain material, but do those same laws apply to electronic media?
While some people blog to create online journals or stream-of-consciousness writings, those bloggers who write more informational articles should become more familiar with these guidelines. It makes a very good resource for teachers to use with students, as the behavior that the guide describes tends to start in school. How many students have "cut-and-pasted" a report together from the internet?

There is a separate page for concerns about student blogging - there, the issues get cloudier because of the fact that schools serve in loco parentis, and occasionally need to take additional action against students who publish improper material.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

When doodling in class is okay...

Google is very educator-friendly - at least for this educator. But they also take care to support education whenever possible. They provide versions of Google Apps (their web- and email-hosting plan, which I use for techieteacher) and Google SketchUp (a 3D-modeling program, with which you can create models to integrate into Google Earth). The Google Education Summit brings Googlers together with representatives of higher education institutions. And now they're getting K-12 involved...well, sort of.

Have you ever seen some of the Google doodles that appear in place of the logo for holidays or significant historic dates? Did you catch the 25th anniversary of TCP/IP this past New Year's Day? Or the 2007 holiday series? The 2006 World Cup? Louis Braille's birthday? Or one of my favorites, National Teacher Day from May 2005? (Want to see more? Go here.) Well, now it's students' turn. Doodle 4 Google gets school-age kids involved in asking "What if...?" and incorporating their answer to the question in a doodle using the Google logo. The grand prize is a $10,000 scholarship, computers for the winner and his or her school, a trip to the GooglePlex, and more. And, of course, their artwork displayed on the Google homepage - how many people are going to see that? How cool...

It's a very interesting idea... I'm going to run it by teachers and administrators at my school to see what they think. A little extra technology couldn't hurt.