The Sylvia Charp Award

As you are getting ready to take a week or so off for the holidays? When you have some quiet time to yourself, (I know, I know, who am I kidding?) reflect back on the achievements of your students, your school, your district and yourself. Think about all the wonderful things that you do or contribute to doing to help improve teaching and learning in your building(s) and consider applying for the Sylvia Charp Award.

charpaward-banner

Nominations for this award only opened yesterday, December 15, 2008, and will remain open until March 16, 2009.

Sylvia Charp, was the editor-in-chief of T.H.E. Journal for 30 years until she passed away from serious injuries as a result of a car accident  in 2003. Dr. Charp was known for her countless contributions to the field of educational technology and her dedication to helping educators use technology with their students to improve achievement. 

To nominate your district you will need to submit three things via e-mail to charpaward@thejournal.com:

  1. A description of the district’s innovative technology program, including how this program met the NETS (http://cnets.iste.org/students/s_esscond.html) and a one-paragraph description of the technology planning process including a list of people involved.
  2. A description of the effectiveness and impact of the technology program, including evidence of impact on student achievement.
  3. A letter from the Superintendent and/or school board president supporting the application.

The winner will be notified this April. The award will be presented at NECC 2009, June 28-July 1, 2009 in Washington, DC. (The winner will receive a check in the amount of $2,000 to go towards registration, travel, and housing for two representatives from the winning district.)

Please visit T.H.E. Journal for more information about nominating your district or to read about the 2008 Sylvia Charp Award recipient.

An Update to the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

“Education, not mandatory blocking and filtering, is the best way to protect and prepare America’s students.”

Joint Statement of ISTE and CoSN Hailing Passage of Internet Safety Education Legislation

Recently, there have been some changes to the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). In talking about CIPA with some local educators, I was surprised to find that many were not familiar with what CIPA calls for. So I thought I would take a couple of minutes to revisit how it might be affecting you and your district.

CIPA imposes a few requirements on any school or library that receives funding for Internet access or internal connections from the E-rate program. The purpose of the E-rate program is to make communications technology more affordable for eligible schools and libraries. Through E-rate, these schools get discounts on telecommunication services, Internet access, and internal connections.

Schools and libraries subject to CIPA:

  • Must certify that they have an Internet safety policy including protection (to block or filter) pictures that are obscene, pornographic or harmful to minors.
  • Are required to educate minors about appropriate online safety including cyberbullying and interacting with others on social networking sites and in chat rooms
  • Are required to adopt and enforce a policy to monitor online activities of minors
  • Are required to adopt and address a policy implementing
    • access by minors to inappropriate content on the Internet
    • the safety and security of minors while using e-mail, chat rooms or any form of electronic communication
    • unlawful activities (hacking)
    • use of personal information regarding minors
    • restricting access of materials deemed harmful to minors

Recently, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) urged Congress to update CIPA to include requirements regarding appropriate behavior on social networking and chat room sites.

In a joint statement from ISTE’s and CoSN, they said “the Internet contains valuable content, collaboration and communication opportunities that can and do materially contribute to a student’s academic growth and preparation for the workforce”.

Are you educating your students on how to keep themselves safe while online? Are you taking advantage of the valuable content the Internet has to offer? Are you using the collaboration and communication opportunities to aide in your student’s academic growth and prepare them for the workforce?

Or are you (or possibly your technology department) just filtering out what has the wrong label, tag, keyword, or look to it.

Stranger Danger

Since beginning my second life on Second Life back in March, I have had such great experiences and have met such wonderful, welcoming people through SL, Twitter and the DEN.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have been given a house in Chilbo by Fleep Tuque. I love my little house and I’ve met my neighbors and follow them on Twitter as well.

I’ve attended professional development and social events at the DEN and through ISTE during which I met in SL many of the great educators I’ve met in real life or on Twitter.

Having said all of this, I’ve met many new people in Second Life that were strangers at one time or another, but I met them in an environment that was appropriate. It wasn’t like I struck up a conversation with someone in a freebie store or when I was a complete “Newbie” and walking through the Ben & Jerry’s Orientation island.  I had some unspoken rules in mind similar to what I teach teachers, students and my own children to use as guidelines. (These are a bit different since they were for me. Had I been working with kids I would never have let them include their personal information in their SL profiles.)

  1. Only IM (instant message) with people that I know
  2. Have a Landmarks (similar to Favorites) folder of familiar, appropriate, recommended places to visit
  3. If I feel uncomfortable about something, log out and let someone know about it immediately.

In general, I follow my rules. But a couple of days ago, I returned to my house on Chilbo after having a very nice conversation with a fellow Rutgers staffer on RUCE. I always return to my house before logging off. It’s one of the great benefits of having real estate on SL. I walked away from my computer for just a minute and when I returned – there was an unfamiliar avatar sitting on my couch!

 

BB:hi
Me: Who are you?
BB: hi
Me: Hi – What are you doing in my house?
BB: im youre new boyfriend :-p
Me: Not really. Are you a chilbo resident?
BB: no passing by
Me: Nice meeting you – bye bye now.
BB: youre leaving ?
Me: You are.
BB: ill think about it
Me: Interesting – this has never happened before.
Me: You must be really bored.
BB: nope just checking this game out
Me: Oh – well I don’t use it for a game.
Me: I use it for work
BB: what kind of work?
Me: Not telling – but you need to leave – you are on private property.
BB: dont worry im not going to eat you
Me: ha ha
BB: this is just pixels remember
BB: ?
Me: Yes, but you are distracting,
BB: verry well then m gone

We can all pick a part how I handled the situation. I was caught a little off guard. My first instinct was to follow Rule #3 and log out, but he was in my house and I was concerned that he would possibly do something to my house or would still be there when I logged back on.

I did send a Tweet out to my PLN and got several immediate suggestions on what to do. (Thank you so much for the quick responses.) I also met with Fleep the next day and she banned BB from my house so that he could never return.

What’s the protocol for Stranger Danger as an adult in Second Life? I talk to strangers all the time in my first life and my four-year-old frequently scolds me as she doesn’t understand boundaries and social graces yet. How do we teach our students and children to be polite, generate new friendships and exchange information with people that can potentially be their friends or of some interest to them in real life or in virtual worlds and maintain boundaries?

I welcome your suggestions. I don’t welcome strangers on my couch. I’m Emanna Romano in Second Life should you want to discuss this in World, we can arrange a public place to meet. 🙂