It is important to consider the safety of you students before exchanging information with anyone on the internet. Each type of exchange will require different safety and behavioral considerations, however, there are some general safety guidelines a teacher should follow when setting up a telecollaborative project.
Acceptable Use Policies
When your school came online with the Internet, your students and parents should have signed an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). This policy was most likely created by your district or building technology committee or perhaps the media specialist. If your district does not have an AUP, you should consult an administrator about this issue. It is very important that your students and parents understand what your school considers "Acceptable Use" on the Internet. Students that have not signed an AUP (or their parents have not signed it), should not participate in this classroom information exchange. Take time in class to review the safety rules that they agreed to when they first signed the AUP.
You may want to consider designing a hand-out that lists the safety guidelines you have chosen for you class. Following are some general guidelines:
- Don't give your full name; use your first name and last initial or a nickname
- Don't give out personal information such as your address, phone number, parents work address, etc.
- Don't send your picture to anyone, especially a picture of yourself alone.
- Never agree to meet anyone in person whom you've met online without parent or teacher supervision
- Never share a password for an Internet account, game, chat room, etc. with anyone online.
- Notify the teacher and/or parent if you receive a message that is suspicious, obscene, or violates your school's AUP.
- Don't attach pictures or other files to an e-mail message unless the person receiving the message has given you permission. Viruses can sometimes be transferred this way. Don't open attachments sent to you without first discussing this with your teacher.
- Make sure your principal is informed about and approves of your classes participation in school-sponsored
- Make sure parents are informed about and approve of their son/daughter's participation
in school-sponsored e-mail exchanges.
- Make sure all students and their parents have signed the district's AUP.
- Talk with your students about why these precautions are necessary.
Additional Safety Resources
Browse through the following resources to gather additional information about safety on the internet: