I just saw a video about google docs and thought it might be interesting to try out for a collaborate project idea I have for my fourth grade students. However, I noticed that in the terms and conditions that students have to be 13 years or older (mine are 9/10).

Does anyone know of another online site like google docs that can be used for students that are under 13?

Tags: Docs, Google

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In order to comply with CIPA, pretty much every site has to lock out children under 13 if they ask for so much as an email address.

You main option would be self hosted solutions either through your district or through a shared server account (which is incredibly easy and surprisingly inexpensive).

There really isn't any open source equivalent to Google Dos yet, but there plenty of ways to work online collaboration using other software.
Is there an actual CIPA regulation that has set 13 as the age. I can't find it in any of my readings.It seems it requires a firewall and/or other blocks to be in place in schools and libraries. Why have all of these sites/social networks been compelled to have minimum age requirement? Where is this information published? Thank you for your help.
I think it's COPPA that has the age restriction for 13 and that is at issue here.
Steve is right, it is COPPA. Here's some links:



They do not want to be encumbered by the record keeping required by COPPA which is understandable. There are plenty of options out there that you can self host through a school server or by renting inexpensive server space. With the exception of Google Docs, I can find a suitable replacement for any other Web 2.0 tool.

On another note, when we tell kids to use these "free" tools, we are compelling them to yield personal information to commercial entities that will, in most cases, use this information for marketing and advertising. If they choose to do so on their own (hopefully as informed consumers that understand the TOS), that is one thing, but to require it as a part of public education is quite different in my opinion.
Thank you, Steve. I appreciate your advice.
Wikispaces.com doesn't have the same age restriction, and is maybe an even better way to track student participation. They also have educator-special features, including signing up all the students so they don't have to have email addresses.
Yup, Steve, teachers in my school (quite independently of my own influence, interestingly enough!) are beginning to utilize wikispaces aLOT. It's a simple interface and I've found it very reliable. Oh, certainly there are little glitches, as with any online tool (yesterday I found it was dropping the link on the last letter of a phrase I was trying to link, so after a few frustrations I simply added a space to the phrase and it linked all the text, lol). But I highly recommend it.

I also find it's a pretty darned good tool for presenting, as long as one has a good inet connection. I led a discussion with 7th grade parents in a casual discussion of teens and their internet use last evening, and it went really well--we started at the Questions page, on a whim, the section of a meeting that's usually last, and that led to some sharing of resources on other pages and some very deep dialog.

Anyway, my 1 1/2 cents :)
As a teacher of 12 and 13 year-olds, I face the same issues. There is so much available out there that will help us achieve the state expectations in technology, but we are restricted from many of the tools that they would be using in the "real world." I understand the dangers of some of the social networks out there, but we, as educators, are unable to educate our students on these tools by creating our own secure wikis. There needs to be an answer that allows us to develop our students' technology skills and knowledge, connecs ust to the rest of the world in a common format, and is free.
Hello Eve,

Have you looked at writeboard.com? It does not have as many features as google docs and a bunch of participants editing at the same time can be dicey...but...it does provide a collaborative space. My fifth graders (10-11 years old) use it for literature circles. They do not need email addresses and you can subscribe to an RSS feed (something you can't do with google docs). I set up the writeboard and link it to my wiki page so students can easily find it. It is free and super easy to use!

check it out here: www.writeboard.com
The Google Docs team is pretty responsive so why don't we go to the source, tell them our problem as educators of children under 13, and see what happens.

So for starters-what do we want?

I would like to mass enroll a group of students without email addresses.

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Release the code to open source so we can put it on our own servers.



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