Monday, January 15, 2007

Blogging Safely

Getting Started with an EduBlog

Before beginning a blog for your Kindergarten, Childcare Centre, School Classroom we highly recommend attending a workshop on NetSafety. Just like a FirstAid course, or RoadSafety course, NetSafety helps internet users navigate the world wide web safely. Just like the real world, there are trustworthy users and untrustworthy users. Avoid the pitfalls, keep safe, and educate yourself on the risks and benefits of the internet. Check out the NetSafety website for more information.

Are You Worried About Children's Photos on the World Wide Web?
Here are some interesting reads - Read and discuss at NetSafety workshop

Link1. Is Posting Children's Pictures online Dangerous? (this link has been fixed - please advise if any of our links are not working - thanks)

Link2. School's bizarre ploy to beat internet perverts

Secondly, Permission from Families for images of their children to be used on the blog needs to be gained. We have a specific Permission Slip as part of the MOE ECE ICT PL programme that we are happy to share with others on the programme. (It is the regular programme permission slip with a little added specifically for the blog). Parents need to be aware of the blog's audience, so as a community a descision needs to be made whether the blog will be open just for invited families or whether the blog will be a public blog that can be viewed by anyone. We give our parents options to have 1) no image of their children on their blog, 2) images but no names or pseydo names 3) images and names. See the video below about how to make your blog private and how to moderate comments (so that comments come to the teacher before being published (or rejected) on the blog).

Blogger appears to be the blog host of choice for many blog creators. It is user-friendly and customisable, and is recognised by many other internet services. You can use a template provided, or if you have a little knowledge of HTML (the language of the interent) then you can create new backgrounds, customise the width, columns, and much more. To start off simply, the variety of templates allow for a moderate degree of customisation in the DASHBOARD, LAYOUT, FONTS and COLORS.

To learn more about how to set up a basic Blogger Blog



To Adjust your Blogs Privacy Settings




Comments
The great thing about blogs as opposed to websites is that others can interact with you blog by leaving feedback or comments. We advise that edublogs enable comment moderation. This means that any comments left for the blog are sent to the teachers to moderate. You can then choose to publish the comment on the blog, or reject the comment. Under SETTINGS in your blog dashboard click on the Comments tab. About 3/4 down the page is the question "Enable Comment Moderation?" - Tick YES. We also recommend the use of a comment POP UP window as it allows the viewer to see the blog while they type their comment. A pop up window is not essential, but a preference for kindergarten. Word Verfication can also be annoying for people leaving comments. It is enabled to prevent computers randomly sending out spam to your blog. If you find this is a problem (we don't) then enable word verification - otherwise be kind to your commentors and leave this off.

Blogger Navigation Bar

It is recommended that the Blogger Navigation bar be removed from all blogs used and accessed by children and students. The Navigation bar provides the option to surf randomly through Blogger Blogs – and there are some that are offensive and are not appropriate for children

To Remove Navigation Bar
Select and Copy the following HTML code


#navbar-iframe {
height:0px;
visibility:hidden;
display:none}



Go To: DASHBOARD – LAYOUT – EDIT HTML
In the HTML text box scroll to the paragraph that ends

“….updated by blogger team
------------------------------*/

PASTE your #nav html HERE and before

/* Variable definitions
====================



Accessing your Account without Navigation Bar

You will then need to go into DASHBOARD - LAYOUT - PAGE ELEMENTS and click on the side bar box that says "Add Page Element". A new smaller window will open with a selection of options. You need to paste a LOGO onto your blog. You might need to scroll down the new window to find Add Logo option. Click ADD. Choose the logo of choice and press OK.

The logo will now act as a button for you to access your account, dashboard, and create new posts or edit older posts.

6 comments:

Linda said...

Thank you so much for writing this posting - I have alerted many teachers to these important points about blogging safely! It has been really useful with so many more centres entering the 'blogosphere'.

Anonymous said...

I was very inpressed with your talk at the U learn conference and it inspired me to set up a blog. thinks for putting all this info up to help me get started.sue

Hunter Park Kindergarten said...

Thanks for these great tips and you neat blog.
With your help and your inspiration we now have our kindergartens blog set up and set up safe.
We love to see what you've been up to, do visit us on http://hunterparkkindergarten.blogspot.com we have some great science ideas.

Anonymous said...

This was a helpful post- thank you! There is a group of early educators pooling together our ideas about blogging on a wiki. Our wiki site is www.earlyyearsblogging.wetpaint.com Please come join us and collaborate in sharing ideas about using this medium for communication in early years classroom. We have used material from this post to help us with security issues. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Love your blog! You and your students are an inspiration. Thanks for the great tips!

Anne West Kindergarten said...

Hi there, we ahve been working with Tania thrugh CORE, and are hoping we can get a copy of your permission form that you are using with families. We are in the process of setting up our Blog, and I am really enjoying seeing the great documentation and learning that is shared through your Blog, tino pai to mahi....
Carol Anne West Kindergarten, Kaitaia