Safety Guidelines for use of Blogs?

The discussions at today’s training session have got me thinking more about blog safety. How many schools already have policies for the use of blogs as part of their wider ICT policy? With an increased use of blogs in school and the great potential for student learning blogs, what needs to be in a ‘acceptable blog use’ policy? This surely needs to incorporate principles covering issues for both student and staff use of blogs? As well as staff making good use of online blogs for their classes, there is great educational potential for the use of student learning blogs An interesting discussion thread has started this evening on the SLN forum as staff are starting to make use of learning blogs with students – it will be interesting to see how this develops and to share experiences of use of student learning blogs and what issues need to be considered in the development of acceptable use policies.

Alan Parkinson has flagged up a useful site on Blogging Safety whch looks at the safety issues that need to be considered with the growth of blogging and other social networking tools. A useful leaflet for parents/carers on blogsafety issues can be download from the site.

There is also a section on the blogsafety site specifically for teachers covering the following: understanding the risks and safety issues; integrating the issues into the curriculum; involving parents; reviewing school policies.

Many of the issues are likely to come under general internet safety and many of the general priniciples will be covered in schools existing elearning / internet policies – there is also of course the excellent e-safety advice from BECTa – but what specific issues arise from the use of blogs that also need to be considered and incoporated in acceptable use polices?

There are some interesting ideas on this blog from a middle school maths teacher in the US who is inviting students to contribute to a blog – some blogging guidelines for consideration and an example of a blogging policy for student use.

It would be very interesting to hear what other schools have in place (if anything), particular as these collaborative / social networking tools are becoming used more and more in education. It would be good to get people’s comments and thoughts on this.

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