A few things I find interesting

Just thought I’d share a few things that came through my Technorati watchlist:

We can never talk about Web 3.0 , I guess, because Wikipedia has permanently banned the topic. (Hat tip to the Buzz Machine) This is kind of funny that some visionaries are so far out ahead of a society that barely acknowledges Web 2. (See John Markoff’s November 2006 article in the New York Times about Web 3.0) To me, this quote from the article really explains what the visionaries are discussing:

In contrast, the Holy Grail for developers of the semantic Web is to build a system that can give a reasonable and complete response to a simple question like: “I’m looking for a warm place to vacation and I have a budget of $3,000. Oh, and I have an 11-year-old child.”

Under today’s system, such a query can lead to hours of sifting — through lists of flights, hotel, car rentals — and the options are often at odds with one another. Under Web 3.0, the same search would ideally call up a complete vacation package that was planned as meticulously as if it had been assembled by a human travel agent.

How such systems will be built, and how soon they will begin providing meaningful answers, is now a matter of vigorous debate both among academic researchers and commercial technologists. Some are focused on creating a vast new structure to supplant the existing Web; others are developing pragmatic tools that extract meaning from the existing Web.

Additionally, the recommendations to teachers from the state of Pennsylvania education association about blogging give a little negative bent, don’t you think? (hat tip to Chris Lehman principal of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia)

Blogging 101 Prepared by the PSEA Legal Division January 2007

As a school employee, you must exercise extreme caution when you engage in blogging or other forms of internet communication. Keep in mind that your First Amendment rights can be limited by virtue of your position as a school employee.

If you blog or maintain a web page, you should adhere to the following tips:

I. Minimize the risk associated with internet communication by limiting access to your blog or web page using a “friends only” or similar restrictive setting.

2. If visitors can post to your blog or web page, monitor postings constantly and remove any that are inappropriate.

3. Do not blog or post about your job duties, colleagues, supervisors or students. This will reduce the danger that you might disclose confidential information, share information about a private workplace complaint, or otherwise carelessly or unintentionally engage in speech which could affect your future employment.

4. If you choose to blog or post as a citizen about a non-job related matter of public concern (i.e., the elections, terrorism or environmental issues) take care that what you say will not impede your employer’s effectiveness or efficiency or otherwise disrupt the workplace.

5. If you are blogging or posting about innocuous information (i.e., your favorite football team or family geneology), you still must be careful not to engage in comments that could adversely affect your employer (i.e., damage the employer’s reputation) or interfere with your ability to carry out your job duties.

6. Do not blog or post about personal subjects (i.e., dating, romance, or drug or alcohol use). Your blog or web page should not contain any references to sexual subjects, or contain vulgar or profane language or graphics. If your blog or web page was a movie, it should be rated “G.”

7. Blogging and posting anonymously does not protect you. Names of bloggers, web page authors and other internet users can be discovered through litigation.

8. Check to see if your employer has any policies regarding blogging or web pages. If so, you should review the policy with your PSEA Uniserv.

In conclusion, you should be aware that if you blog or maintain a web page, you must use prudence and be extremely careful in your comments. You must give the necessary time and attention to the content of your blog or web page to make sure that it satisfies the general principles above.

Please contact your PSEA Uniserv Representative if you have any questions.

I advocate wisdom when posting and agree in practice to a lot of these, however something about working for the government but not being able to talk about acceptable topics not covered specifically in our professional ethics (like confidentiality) bothers me somehow. It says, “You can work for me as long as you agree with me.”

I always advocate being professional and there are some things best not said on a blog. I see no mention of the positives that come from blogging or in reading blogs only one big red flag after another.

If teacher organizations want improvement in education, it seems that they would advocate sharing best practices!? I see no such advocacy in this phraseology and in fact between #3 — “Don’t talk about anything at work” and #5 “Don’t post anything innocuous” or #6 “Don’t post anything personal.” What is left?

I believe I have a professional responsibility to share the things that work with other teachers. I believe that bureaucracy is doing its best to stifle every bit of life and joy it can out of many classrooms. (Thank goodness I have a great administration!)

Its time for the obstacles to come down and for people to figure out HOW instead of just telling everyone DON’T do anything! Tell them HOW to do it rather than don’t do it!

What do you think about Web 3.0? What do you think about the Pennsylvania teachers association recommendations?

Are we ever going to get to 3 when we can’t even get past 1.9?

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3 thoughts on “A few things I find interesting

  1. Imagine if the following set of guidelines was issued?

    Blogging 101 Prepared by the PSEA Legal Division January 2007

    As a Party member, you must exercise extreme caution when you engage in blogging or other forms of internet communication. Keep in mind that your First Amendment rights can be limited by virtue of your position as a Party functionary.

    If you blog or maintain a web page, you should adhere to the following tips:

    I. Minimize the risk associated with internet communication by limiting access to your blog or web page using a “friends only” or similar restrictive setting.

    2. If visitors can post to your blog or web page, monitor postings constantly and remove any that are inappropriate.

    3. Do not blog or post about your Party duties, comrades, supervisors or cadres. This will reduce the danger that you might disclose confidential information, share information about a private ideological complaint, or otherwise carelessly or unintentionally engage in speech which could affect your future with the Party.

    Stuff like this would make George Orwell turn in his grave.

  2. I’m a teacher in PA and when I first read those guidelines I didn’t know where to focus my frustrations first. Should I just scream? To whom should I write to voice my outrage? The more I thought about it the more I went around in circles of anger, frustration, helpless and hopelessness. I wanted to stand on top of the Capital building and shout, “If you don’t ‘GET IT’ then at LEAST just SHUT UP and GET OUT OF THE WAY!!” ::sigh:: My therapist says I should take deep breaths. 🙂

  3. Craig (teacher dude) –
    I too think you are on the money although I think it is even more important because of guidelines like this to teach students that every word that they say has meaning and they should be careful and wise with what they choose to post.
    So, I guess there is a balance!

    Jim –
    It is frustrating for me as well to hear such a one sided diatribe about blogging which is obviously written by a lawyer but not necessarily one who has been in a classroom.

    I sense an increasing discomfort with a society that does not like what is happening via blogging. Does it make me nervous? yes. Will I stop blogging? NO!

    I believe eventually that professional ethics will dictate that all of us share or blog in some way!

    Vicki

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