Thanks for the comment, and thanks for passing this on. Security has been a big concern on our side with a few schools we've been to. I've found that the sentiment in a lot of places is that administrators would rather keep students off of the web or technology tools because they themselves don't understand those tools, and that lack of understanding brings with it a fear of how those tools would be used. This is detrimental to the students and teachers who know how to use these tools and would do so responsibly (while teaching their students how to be responsible on the web). From the perspective of an engineer, it's far better to give young students these tools and teach them to use them than to keep then in the dark, where they're most likely going to be using web tools without instruction anyway.
For our pilots, we're going to be focusing on schools that are already open to the use of web software, but later on we hope to change a lot of opinions about the use of the web in schools.
If you have any more advice, thoughts, comments, or just want to be kept up to date on the project, please shoot me an e-mail or a comment!
I'm sending out messages to everyone I know right now, and this classroom20 network is no exception. (I've also sent this out on other Ning networks you may be a part of.) My name is Alyshia Olsen; I am a 20 year old college student from Olin College of Engineering. I am a part of a group of 6 Olin College students (we're in Needham, MA, and engineering students) who has taken a year off to work on an education related project. Since you are in the 'connecting content and technology' group, I thought you might be interested! Our project is called AlightLearning, and this is our "short" project description:
Under the assumption that within ten years, the landscape of modern education will have fully integrated what we now define as new classroom media: video, online collaboration, open source curriculum and other web tools, we hope to pioneer a web software tool that acts as a platform for this new media, bringing the power of the web and its tools to students, teachers and parents in a secure, comfortable and innovative environment. Our goal is to have our free software at a pilot middle school by April 15th, 2009, continuing to develop and coordinate with our users to create a product that other schools want to pilot and use at their schools, while allowing individual teachers to implement this tool in their own classroom.
Our project, titled Alight Learning, is currently trying to win an idea competition on Ideablob.com You can find us at http://ideablob.com/3975 . We would love your support in the form of a vote within the next couple days, but more importantly we'd love your feedback and comments. Our description on Ideablob is short, and even the one above hardly gets at many of the issues we would like to take a stab at solving, but at least it's a start.
Feel free to email me back, check out alightlearning.com, anything you like!