Part of my job as your Instructional Technology Coordinator is to evaluate Web 2.0 resources and approve them for use in and out of your classroom. I want to make sure you understand the what and why behind the decision to request and approve the use of Web 2.0 resources.
What is a Web 2.0 resource?
Web 2.0 resources are web-based tools that are used on the Internet. They are usually free or inexpensive and is a way digital information is created, shared, stored, distributed, and managed. Frequently these tools require some type of account or sign up procedure. We have a process to identify and approve Web 2.0 resources because many of the tools require the collection of information. Since we work with students who fall into different age brackets – 13 and under, 13-17 and 18 and up – we have to be diligent to understand what types of information these sites require, collect, use, and even distribute.
What is COPPA?
Alright, a little history here. In 1998 Congress passed the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). These rules regulated what kinds of information could be collected online from children under 13 and when parent approval is required for a child to submit information. COPPA is important to school districts because we are also held accountable to protect our student’s privacy and information. Although, legally, COPPA applies to children 13 and under, we believe we need to protect the privacy of all of our students regardless of age. Some resources that may be geared for educational purposes may not be COPPA compliant, and will not be approved. Some resources may be COPPA compliant; however, we may not approve the site if it collects too much or unnecessary information (e.g., home address, phone number, etc.).
Here is the Federal Trade Commission’s FAQ page about COPPA if you’d like to learn more about it.
How do I know if I am using a Web 2.0 resource?
In general, if an account needs to be set up in order to use the resource, it is considered a Web 2.0 resource. When students or teachers need to input information about themselves in order to use the site, it is considered a Web 2.0 resource.
Where do I find the list of already approved resources?
Through the D303 staff page, you can find the List of Approved Web 2.0 Resources – you can also find the forms that need to go home to elementary and middle school families for student permissions. High school families were sent home an “opt-out” form as a part of registration.
How do I request a resource to be used in my classroom?
Complete the Web 2.0 Resource Request form – previously you would send an email with the website information. I decided to revise the form so that I had more information before I evaluated the site. This will help to expedite the process.
How long do I have to wait for approval?
My goal is 24 hours, but sometimes I need to contact the website in order to get some extra information. The D303 goal is to ensure our students’ personally identifiable information is protected at all times.
What happens if you approve my request?
I’ll send you an email letting you know that the site has been approved and you can start using the resource with your students.
What happens if you deny my request?
I’ll also send you an email letting you know why I did not approve the site. I’ll also schedule a follow-up phone call or meeting so we can find a resource that meets your learning objectives while still protecting student information.
Now that my resource has been approved, do I need to do anything else?
If you are a elementary or middle school classroom teacher, you will need to complete and send home the Parent Approval Letter for Student Login. High school classrooms participated in an opt-out form at registration and do not need to get additional permissions.
I hope this gives you a basic idea of what Web 2.0 resources are and the process for reviewing and approving those resources. Feel free to leave comments with suggestions or additional questions.