Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the first Central Ontario Computer Association (COCA) for the 2009/2010 school year. COCA provides a forum for ICT educators representing approximately 25 school boards to dialogue and collaborate face to face 5 times each school year. I always look forward to these meetings as I know the dialogue will be rich and engaging – a tribute to the forward thinking, action oriented people in these roles. Hats off to you for making a difference!
The agenda for this particular session was organized to provide an opportunity to discuss current educational issues and topics including:
- Report: Ministry of Education licensed software for Ontario school Boards (OSAPAC committee)
- Brainstorming: What would a Ministry of Education integrated ICT document look like?
- Presentation: ICT Ethical Use
- Presentation: iPods in the classroom project with a research component
- Discussion: Twitter in the Classroom
- Discussion: Round Table
I will be interested to follow Mike Redfern’s work on his Ethical Use of ICT project which will provide an in depth look at technology and social networking issues in the K-12 educational setting. I will provide some information about our (WRDSB) iPod projects and research initiative in a future post.
As I anticipated, I found the round table discussion particularly interesting. Many points were raised, but the one that really stuck with me was content filtering. Content filtering is always an interesting topic for discussion because it is so multifaceted.
- filter or not?
- if you do, how much?
- if you do, is it done centrally or at the school level?
- how do you align content filtering with educational resource selection processes for print, video etc.?
- block or allow social networking?
- keep students safe
- sufficient band width
- how do you define ‘educational content’ in a way that makes sense in a K-12 context?
- should content filtering be more age or grade appropriate?
There are no easy answers. It is easy to find valid reasons to sit on either side of the fence for each point. Oh yes, how do you apply content filtering to keep everyone (students, teachers, school administrators, technicians, parents, school board officials) happy? That is a $64000 question!
Now, throw another huge component into the discussion: copyright, digital rights, document ownership. Yikes. A few people commented that their Board had recently opened up YouTube as part of the progressive move toward more openness in the content filtering in an effort to teach online safety and digital citizenship.
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