Hi, My administrator is against us using any Web 2.0 tool that requires parental approval to sign up. We want to use http://www.bibme.org/ which creates bibliographies for kids. He says that these websites are collecting data about the kids. Is this true? If so, what are they doing with the data? How can you tell which websites are safe? I keep feeling like everytime I try to introduce new technology into the school, I hit a brick wall from different naysayers!
Thanx for any advice.

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Here is a site that you don't need to sign in to use: http://citationmachine.net/index2.php
Is it possible on that site to sign up a class or grade level account? I use Easybib. You can have more than one bibliography stored at one time on the same account, so several kids could use the same generic username. That way, there isn't an individual kid on the account. You can teach them how and why to use it, and let them seek their own individual accounts on their own.
Thank you for your responses. I'll try citationmachine. I'll try signing up an entire class. I think my question is for Web 2.0 sites in general that may not let more than one person work at a time. Why would they require parental permission? Is there a danger in posting student email addresses to these websites?
I am not sure about what danger there would be. Why does a site require knowing a student email? Is it just for the account? They don't post it anywhere, right? I think if it is a school owned email, then you can go ahead and use it. My students don't have school sponsored emails. I only let them use their personal emails to sign up for things when they choose to at home. When I created my wiki, I was able to assign each of them account names that would stay anonymous to outsiders. I keep a class account so we can follow NASA or Congress on twitter, but only I have the password. I make a username that refers a bit to my school and use my work email on the account. I also keep anonymity going by having class kid code names for when we blog. They know who everyone is, but anyone else peeking in wouldn't know who said what. They love having a new screen name. Hope this helps. Without knowing which Web 2.0 site you are concerned about, it is hard to suggest/share more. :)
Noodle Bib is a great site to use if you want classes to have access to their work at home and at school, but it is not a free program. My school uses it and I know the students like the notes feature so they use this throughout their research project not just at the end. No personal email is required. http://www.noodletools.com/

I believe administration gets concerned when personal email and info has to be given to a website to obtain access.
I also recommend EasyBib... as long as you're using MLA style. I use it to help my 7th grade students with their research reports.
Jeff, this is Kevin, one of the developers from the BibMe team. I'm sorry to hear that you had problems with BibMe before. Could you be more specific about what citations were done incorrectly? The accuracy of the citations that our service generates is something we take very seriously, and we want to make sure there are no bugs that are off our radar. Thanks.

As for what we do with personal data that we collect... we don't really do anything with it, actually. We collect it so we can find out some basic demographic information about our users and find out what our audience is. Our Privacy Policy states that we will never turn over this information to advertisers. And we won't. What little information we do collect is never shared with anyone.
I just ran across http://www.zotero.org/ which is an extension based program for firefox. It allows for you to cite sources in almost any way imaginable. Very cool tool from the little i looked at it.
A heads up on Zotero and the newest edition of Firefox. It isn't compatible yet. I had Zotero a while back and when I moved up to the new html5 compliant FF, I got a warning about extensions that were not compatible. I just checked on my add-on tool in my FF and it still shows it as incompatible. If you find out I am wrong, let me know because I would like it back. :0)
I've used Zotero only for review purposes for teachers but I just added it back into Firefox (3.5.6) and it seems to be working fine.
I like to "follow the money" and look to who owns the website and developed it in the first place. In the case of bibme, it appears to have been developed at Carnegie-Mellon as a student project. The privacy policy is the next place to check (http://www.bibme.org/bibliography/privacy_policy) and Bibme's policy is the most straightforward one I've seen. The only identifiying info they track is the user's OS, web browser type and version, "IP" address and/or Internet domain access point, name and e-mail address(es).

So - what are they doing with that info? The OS and browser info is - I am sure - used for engineering purposes. If they find that more people are using Firefox than IE they may focus their efforts on plug-ins with that browser. The IP address is pretty common...heck, even my blog captures that info, but I never do anything with it. I guess I could - if I wanted - use that information to track down exactly who it is that is looking at my blog. But I would need some serious legal documents to squeeze that info out of the Internet provider. Something like a blog post threatening harm to self or others.

The name and the email address really are the biggest problems in this case. No one ever said kids have to enter their real names - or full names. We commonly ask students to juse their first name and last initial in email communications to help preserve their identity - the teachers know who they are.

The email piece is a little dicey. I suggest that less time be spent by your admin on hand-wringing and more time spent in educating students on the safe use of the technology.
Like I mentioned above, Jeff, I'd like to address your concern over BibMe, but I can't do that unless I know what specific problems you had. Please let me know what these are and I will take care of them. Thanks.



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