1. Are sites with advertising allowed?
2. Are web 2.0 tools that rely on advertising for revenue a good fit for the education market?
3. What are alternative models that have worked? Oracle's Think.com? Google?
I question the assumption that any commefcialization be allowed. Education should not be influenced and/or managed by commercial interests. Educational instutions, think tanks, non profit organizations, national and international asociations should be the entities who maintain and offer social networking sites. Aside from the cycle of k-12, secondary formalized learning we need to look at lifelong learning and ad hoc learning. Social software, social networking, e-portfolio development should be freely available, non-commercial, and user driven throughout our lives.
By allowing commercial interests we are just abdicating our financial and pedagogical responsibilities to the pursuit of personal learning.
So, I know that we are probably talking about "Google ad" kind of stuff in this question, but does buying commercial software count? What about support services? Or any of the other things that schools pay outside entities for?
I'm usually on the other side of this discussion, but this surprised me: "Education should not be influenced and/or managed by commercial interests." Just go to any ed tech show and you can see by the size of the exhibitor hall the degree to which education is currently influenced by commercial interests. I'm not sure that we can realistically ask or expect Web 2.0 to fundamentally change that. I'm not sure for two reasons--one being the innovation that commercial companies create, and two being being the cost of development of this software we're to use throughout our lives.
It is inevitable that this question arises because - so much of the Web 2.0 tools are free. I am quite conflicted on this issue. On the one hand, with Michael, I fear the influence of corporations on the process of education. But I understand that people have to live and the companies that created products, such as Google, have spent a lot to get these products up and running and to continually support them. Is there a balance? I don't know. I still cringe at the Coca-Cola signs in some schools. But I love Google Sky and Google Earth and Wikipedia and .... etc.
Technology, namely social networking enables us to galvanize large numbers of people who share a common interest. Here is the strategy: Use social networking to tilt the economic scale in favor of corporations that provide resources to public schools not limited to financial resources. On that note, commercialization within the public school domain should be is off-limits. Thus, the goal for commercialization in schools should be toward leveraging a vast social network of consumers comprised of teachers, concerned parents and other responsible individuals, namely students, who have committed to consuming goods and services (faithfully) in the interest of public schools, outside of school domain.