What should we do to ensure student safety online?

Click here for an interesting discussion about blogging and cyber-safety.
Questions discussed include:
– Should students use their names?
– Should we include student photos?
– Who should be allowed to visit and comment on the blog?
– How do we ensure student confidentiality when working online?
– And most importantly, how do we teach online safety to students?
The answers aren’t simple and, even where there is broad agreement, they don’t come in a simple ‘one-size fits all’ package.
This is well worth reading for teachers planning to have class or student blogs.

– Should students use their names?

– Should we include student photos?

– Who should be allowed to visit and comment on the blog?

– How do we ensure student confidentiality when working online?

– And most importantly, how do we teach online safety to students?

The answers to these questions aren’t simple and, even where there is broad agreement about the issues involved, the answers don’t come in a simple ‘one-size fits all’ package.

Click here for an interesting discussion covering these questions about blogging and cyber safety.

Kids love Voki characters on their blogs

Click the play button below each character to hear them speak.


Here are some more examples on student blogs:
Lucy (Yr 6 Winters Flat PS), Bailey (Yr 5 Winters Flat PS), Maya (Yr 5 Guildford PS), Kate (Yr 1 Guildford PS)

To put a Voki avatar on your blog, follow these steps:

Step 1. Go to the Voki website at www.voki.com.

Step 2. Design your character and add a voice.  You can record your voice or use the T symbol to type the text you want your character to speak.

Step 3. Choose ‘Publish’, then follow the prompts on screen.  (You don’t need to create an account.)

Step 4. Select and copy the text in the field under ‘For Most Sites Use This Code’ (See below.).

voki1

Step 5. Add a new post to your blog and select the HTML tab (essential). Then paste the code you copied in step 4 into the post field and choose ‘Publish’ (See below.).
voki2b

Is blogging good for school children?

Blogs have tremendous educational potential.  They provide a communication space that teachers, children and parents can use to develop writing, share ideas and reflect on work being undertaken at school in any subject area.  They enable children to showcase their work and to receive feedback and encouragement from friends, family and fellow students.

What are blogs?
You are reading one.  Blogs are websites maintained by people to describe events or make commentary on news or subjects of interest.  Blogs are mostly made up of pieces of writing, called posts, written by the blog owner.  They may also contain images and video and usually have links to other blogs and web pages.

Do blogs threaten children’s privacy or safety?
Blogging on teacher-monitored blogs is a comparatively safe online activity, but since anyone can see a blog and anyone can post a comment on a blog, there is a risk that unwanted comments will be posted.  Usually comments don’t appear publicly on a blog until they are approved by the blog’s owner (this is the default setting for most blogs), so inappropriate comments will only be seen by the blog owner (child) and the teacher administrator.  School children should be taught about cyber bullying and all school blogs should be monitored to ensure appropriate behaviour.  It is rare to find anyone outside the school community posting on a school blog.  Children should not share personal details like their address or family photos.  Once a photo or video is posted on a blog it can be viewed and downloaded by anyone.