You Tube and Social Networking sites - The issues for large scale educational access
Once upon a time there was a TAFE college which was suddenly propelled into the 21st Century. Web 2.0 ‘happened’. Suddenly staff and students wanted access to social networking tools and video sites such as YouTube and GoogleVideo.
Why did they want to do this?
This was the big question! Nobody really knew and it all seemed a bit - well... illogical and amorphous...
The 20th century, American philosopher H. Richard Neibur wrote that the first question of ethics is not, “What is right?”, but rather, “What is going on?” Courtesy - Mark Pesce
This was a strange concept to a hierarchical organisation. They weren't sure quite what to do.
They heard 'communities'. They built ‘destinations’ and hoped strong networks and communities would evolve. They didn’t really want to participate in the communities themselves because they felt a bit stupid in such a sparsely populated place. They asked students how to build a community. They didn't want to, they wanted to use existing tools to participate. It was all so uncontrollable.
Safety and Duty of Care for minors
The TAFE was right to be concerned in many ways. Under 18s at TAFE was raising duty of care issues.
But...Private schools in WA are allowing access to some of these sites. What solutions and strategies are they using to manage access?
Why aren’t we working with them?
Back at the campus…one student finds the blocking incomprehensible? “Why - What do they think we’re going to do, access porn!? AS IF!”
Luckily for the TAFE they created a network. They consulted across the campus and developed a community of leaders from all facets of college life using online and face to face methods.
The Community develops an appropriate use policy. The policy deals with the demons of, violence, porn, hatred and of course COPYRIGHT!
The same group (Community of Leaders) decides the consequences for breaching a code of conduct. A culture of individual responsibility is actively created. Back at the campus… students lecturers and admin staff feel valued and more inclined to work within an agreed code of conduct.
Of course the peace can't last and somebody posts porn to a class wiki.
The outrage is is deafening..... from the other students. However, they self manage and deal with the issue as a team.
Small problem the Tech Services department is not able to track exactly who accesses what. So it is impossible to identify people who breach a proposed code of contact.
Tech Services take leadership and implement tools that can track site access. They become heroes, and basking in the limelight Technical Services and IT management adapts to be risk managers. The risk averse practices of before are abandoned…
But then, out of left field arrives the BIG BAD BANDWIDTH MONSTER….
Bandwidth use goes up with use of social networking and youtube sites.
This is NOT unpredictable or unexpected – in fact it is incontrovertible fact.
Luckily, the TAFE is prepared for the battle. Do they pull out of the race? Of course not!
The warriors take the argument statewide up to government and across to users. Open debate occurs throughout the hierarchy of education providers.
Tech Services in their highly innovative new leadership role partner with industry, the local Council and other learning providers and establish mesh networks. They explore devices such as the Meraki, They succeed in blanketing the town with wireless. They measure, evaluate and learn – and of course produce cost benefit analyses because they have to be done and they show increased value!
Students across online and face to face networks, and across the gorgeous campus people can be connected, share resources and produce content - cheaply.
Suddenly -Catastrophic COPYRIGHT leaps out of centre stage
Networks created by WCT members are producing and providing content at all levels of the organisation. There have been wonderful outcomes. Copyright however, is a real issue as people use and reuse, interpret and reinterpret content within their networks, face to face and online.
The Community of Leaders is used again. They
- Adopt Creative Commons legislation and education across campus
- Encourage use of Creative Commons licenses by staff and students
- Develop individual responsibility as a means of operating within legislation.
Meanwhile, WCT networks influence government in partnership with industry networks, and change happens.
The ‘how can a video on skateboarding be relevant to nursing training” argument
How can we justify letting people look at non-work related videos (clean of COURSE) using OUR bandwidth/resources etc.
The question is posed to the Community of Leaders (now international as students have graduated, been promoted etc). They respond within 3 hours (such is the power of Twitter). They point out that learning now bridges life, work and study. Permission is granted to for some personal use.
Networks grow up around interest groups, and feed back into existing networks.
The experience grows. Things are cruising along nicely at the TAFE. However, everyone’s so busy opening up access and working out how to maximise the educational use of all this access….a small spotfire breaks out.
The ‘young’ ones think that if only the ‘old’ ones would just get on with it and use technology things would change even faster.
The problem is thrown open to the networks, and it is decided that everyone is short of ‘play time’
The answer is 'unexpected', 'unpredictable'
By now the TAFE college is listening to what' s 'going on'
Each staff member is allocated ½ a day a week to play with technology, to learn what it can do specifically for them. Some stick with mobile phones and SMS, others experiment with video, others build networks using Twitter and Ning. People feel supported, support each other and innovate. The generational warfare ends.
The happy ending
The little TAFE college
- provides a networked educational experience
- has a world class reputation
- can deliver education, support and innovation anywhere in the world.
What is our choice - block access - or accept the risks, innovate to deal with the risks and be part of the change. I know which one I want.