The Wisdom of Student 2.0
Tags: education, learning, shifts
That’s why were building on Facebook
The beauty of this statement for me is how poorly schools are at looking at Return on Investment! Think about the amount of money this district has put into this capacity and Google Docs is free…
Anyone read Google Apps TOS? Unless it has been changed recently – or the student’s school has contracted for Google’s education services – the young man may be breaking the TOS. You must be 18 to register for a Google account. Just saying.
Do you honestly think that anyone other than you cares?
You did – enough to respond.
So instead of just pointing out the faults, what could the student have done – what other services are available online for students?
RE: other services
1. Thumb drive — offline, convenient, cheap, student controlled
2. Hard drive backup — either on their local machine, or an external — offline, and in the case of an external HD, you get enormous amounts of storage space for little money.
4. Their own web space — I commonly use personal server space as data storage — but then I’m also wearing a propeller hat and a pocket protector as I type this
With that said, Google docs isn’t a bad option for individual use. But relying on Google for *everything* is not a particularly good choice, for reasons I delve into in greater detail below.
An opposite view…(applied to the health sector.)
“It’s almost too obvious to say: The prerequisite for 2.0 is Health 1.0. We haven’t passed the first course yet.”
This is extremely wise on the part of the student – LOVE IT!
On the part of the school or district, however, they simply can’t make a product like this mandatory, nor can they suggest that students use it as part of their required studies at this time. The problem has to do with issues like what David mentioned. The legal stipulations involved in following Google’s agreements can put a district in a bad place. Also, instructing students or staff to store their school related documents on a public server implies responsibility on the district’s part for equipment and services that the district has no control over.
In response to the comment that a school or district can’t make a product like Googledocs mandatory: take a look at something Google has now named Google Apps-Education Edition. Seems to have access to all the Google gadgets and in theory may even be applied as an LMS platform that is administered by an institution with support from Google. No worries regarding district control or public server issues. At least at first glance.
You could use writeboard instead of google docs. It does not require you to sign up for a account or give your birth date. All you have to do is name your piece and assign it a password. Therefore your district could suggest that students use writeboard without any legal issues or your district looking bad. As a student myself, that is what I use, writeboard all the way!
Wow, that is a tough one! We have moved much of what we do to Web 2.0 space. Luckily the NYC DOE network is pretty solid. I read somewhere that Google is developing off-line applications where it will be possible to work on Gdocs without connection to Internet, then ‘sync’ when back online. Sounds like a potentially good back-up plan.
offline apps for social networks… yes!! I read about this idea that alot of developers are embracing when I was researching “dataportability”. I believe it was John Breslin who talked about this… you can follow him on Twitter https://twitter.com/johnbreslin
It is good to see someone using it on their own terms. I look at the work of Brian Crosby and Lisa Parisi with their Harris Burdick project and am wowed. But would those students go their themselves. Not that they are the right age to be doing that kind of problem-solving. Although I think it might startle Google, I would be interested to see some statistics about the age of Google Doc users.
On a side note, I had about 60 kids on Sketchcast today and it looked like we were going to take that site down. It reminded me of something in a podcast, maybe Women of Web w/Patrick Higgins…what happens when our open source software disappears…and takes all of our stuff with it?
First off, Arthus, good on ya for having a backup strategy. At some point, technology will fail. Hopefully, the failure will occur at a convenient time, but if it doesn’t, you’ll be happy (and relatively unscathed) if you have a backup strategy.
@ Steven Kimmi, RE: “what happens when our open source software disappears…and takes all of our stuff with it?”
This scenario cannot happen with open source software if:
1. you are running your own server; and
2. you have a solid backup strategy.
If, however, you are relying on a free service (like Ning, Facebook, MySpace, Voicethread, uStream, Google Docs, GMail, Yahoo! mail, etc) you are basically relying on their largesse, and you have few (if any) options regarding owning/moving your data.
A free service that anyone can use is not the same as Free Software. Running Free and Open Source Software gives you (the user) complete control over your data; the “cost” of this software is in the setup and maintenance. Among the many payoffs, however, is in knowing that your students’ learning activities are not being used to help marketers learn how to sell to kids more effectively (as a common business plan of “free” services involves selling usage and demographic data to data miners).
I like how such a short statement says so much about how kids are using tech to their advantage.
Just this morning, one of our juniors (who is a lighting/sound genius) showed our administrative tech-guy a way to bypass the web-based mail filter, in order to receive an attachment (student email accounts can’t send/receive attachments) so they could fix the auditorium light-board.
The cool thing, is the tech just said “keep it quiet”.
I am not shocked that the students can bypass a filter, but I don’t agree with the statement:
“The cool thing, is the tech just said “keep it quiet”.
Here we have an adult advocating a child breaking the rules. The tech could be a person who just wants to look cool to the kids or be their friend. Often, though, this is the first step an abuser/child predator uses to gain a child’s trust.
Also, as adults in schools, we must maintain a moral high ground. Even if we disagree with system policies, we need to adhere to the policies around the children we teach or come in contact with.
The filter policies are there to protect the students and an expensive infrastructure. I know that many who respond to this blog desire much more liberal access to resources but some restraints on technology are appropriate. In a perfect world, every teacher maintains a classroom of respect and order where every students’ needs are met and the students use all available tools appropriately to learn and grow into enlightened adults. Unfortunately, there are teachers who do not monitor student internet access and there are students who, when given respect and whose needs are met, STILL breaks the rules and tries to break the system.
We need to be careful about what we consider “cool”.
[...] i verkligheten april 11, 2008 Posted by webbpedagogik in Web 2.0. Tags: Web 2.0 trackback The Wisdom of Student 2.0 från Will Richardsons [...]
Similiar here – server erased files but kids i learn with had their stuff on flash drives and google docs – tech strikes again!!
I’ve got all of my important files backed up in several places. Students in my school have increasingly been learning that yes, even flash drives fail, and that sometimes, the filter server that the district computers must run through to get online tends to crash when you need it most.
So, I’ve been using a combination of flash drives and online storage/editors to ensure that I’ve always got a copy on-hand.
Why was the server down for days? I can’t imagine one of my servers being down for more than a few hours….unless there wasn’t a recent backup…which is another problem.
Schools should simply give up on running their own networks and outsource ALL network services. The they could lay off the network managers that seem to always mess up the server settings. Had this over to http://GoDaddy.com and http://Google.com docs and Google school email and close down the schools network services. Our network admin dropped out of college after course #1, now he is really good at messing up the server shares, permissions, and outlook server. ONE WORK….
[...] to us) and students are doing this faster than the teachers/staff. Take this example I found on Wil Richardson’s website… I can relate to the uneasiness of having the network go down…I have to [...]
Google has a nice modification of Apps called Apps for Education.
Your IT people can link their AD or Open Directory structure to Google’s so there is a single login for students. They’ll get access to all the google tools. Google can also host email for schools using this solution. It comes complete with google gmail addresses that end in @yourschoolsdomain.com or whatever. We’d like to go with it, but haven’t worked out all the kinks so we can abide by our email retention policy.
While the potential for GoogleDocs is great, we’ve had issues here with the number of people able to collaborate on a document at any one time.
For spreadsheets, Google says that 50 simultaneous users can be on them. When we attempted this on a document during a staff development session, we started bogging down with more than 4. Our proxy is configured so that the outside world sees only 4 IP addresses coming out of the district. Even though all staff were logged in with their own account, we think there were issues with the same IP having multiple users connected at the same time.
We also saw this when a teacher used Toondoo.com for a class and had student work saved in other students accounts.
Still too buggy for me to recommend moving everyone to.
I am intrigued by the Education edition!
Suffice to say, our IT people are incompetent. From what I have gleaned, they incorrectly configured a new drive and thus nuked the whole server. Fortunately, we had backups so the data has been transfered to a new, temporary server (as of today). Unfortunately, the backups were old since they only back up weekly.
Regarding the legality, I am using Google Apps Team Edition (http://www.google.com/apps/edu/index.html) which is specifically marketed towards students. It doesn’t require IT support, but has the same functionality as Google Apps for Education. This is legal for me to use (though I of course have another google account too)
For backups, I have built a simple little script using Google’s API (http://code.google.com/apis/documents/overview.html) which automatically grabs the html of all my documents and checks them into subversion nightly. Since everything is in HTML, I am assured of not losing any data. As a side note, Google now has offline access easily to Google Docs via Google Gears.
Really, I am amazed that schools don’t encourage the use of Google Docs through the education initiatives. Don’t get me wrong: I know how hard it is to convince the powers that be to switch, but I just wish someone would have some sense. Ironically, this whole server crash arose from the need to add yet more space… if we just used Google Apps every student would have 10gb+ of space-for free, accessible anywhere.
Heck, I’m not complaining: I have all my docs safe, yet can still take advantage of extensions from teachers. Plus, it lends new weight to my efforts for adopting Google Apps district-wide.
Nothing is free. If you look at Google’s education agreement here: http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/admins/education_terms.html — you see that use of Google apps requires the schools to leave Google’s branding intact.
Additionally, if you look at paragraph 12, you will see that Google makes no guarantees at all that the service will actually be up — which, if the anecdotal evidence I have come across is to be believed, is a very good thing, because people have complained of flaky service.
But hey, it’s free.
So, if Google apps were adopted district wide, you would effectively be advertising every student in the district in an unpaid market research study. I would strongly encourage any parent in a district encouraging such a move to require that the district ensure the privacy oy my child’s personal information.
Don’t get me wrong — I understand the financial attraction. But this masks a more fundamental issue: schools should not have to be going hat in hand to get funds for basic necessities, technological or otherwise. Outsourcing infrastructure to the worlds most efficient data miner is not an attractive solution. This is less a technological issue, and more a policy issue as it related to school funding.
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