Putting out the call – how do we break down the walled gardens?

Right. I need help.

There, I’ve said it. Today I have struggled with how I am going to go about creating a form for our parent community to sign regarding use of what we are calling ‘connective reading and writing’. (Thanks Clay Burell, we stole it from your document that you have available on Google Docs).  A supportive staff member put something together meshed from Clay’s document but we feel that it is going to create much more work for us if parents elect to select the provision that says teachers will moderate all comments.

So, I’m putting out the call. If anyone out there knows of a sensible permissions form that explains connective reading and writing in a manner that  a parent population will understand, please let me know. I’d really appreciate some guidance here.

George Siemens writes a great blog called elearnspace.  It’s well worth reading – it really is an e learning space. A recent post ‘The strength of walled gardens’, linked to an article called ‘The strength of garden walls’ from a blog called A Touch of Frost.  Peter Tittenberger writes the blog, and was commenting this day on the use of Wikis in his environment and the way they are set up with participants being invited to join. His comment is that people are comfortable with this set up as it is very similar to the way learning management systems operate. We’re finding the same thing here. Wikis set up using invite keys are a hit because people feel safe with them – the only chance of corruption comes from within the walled garden.

What he said next about the changing nature of our flat world resonated with me;

“Privacy and anonymity are still concerns, but here too, increasingly, many (especially the young) are willing to sacrifice these for the ability to publish, to access information and to connect to others. People are willing to make their lives transparent and give data miners open access to all their online activity, just as Google, Wikipedia, et al have given them open access to information.”

I think he’s right. My students happily contribute comments to this blog but people of an ‘older’ generation seem slightly paranoid about putting their name on something that is open for the world to see. I suppose I am less hung up about offering wikis and blogs on a public platform because I am writing this blog. It is empowering to receive feedback from the outside world and I truly believe that it has improved the quality of my writing. Let’s face it, I probably haven’t written this much since I left college!

I have no idea who may be reading this post, but if you can point me in the right direction so that we can effectively break down our walled gardens I’d appreciate the help.

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