Monday, February 14, 2005

Blogger Beware: Someone IS Watching YOU!

Once upon a time, a gentleman named Mark Jen worked for a company named Google. And, even though Google now owns "Blogger," (aka Blogspot) Jen thought that it would be a fine idea to start a blog (over at Blogger) that he named Ninety Nine Zeros. The site would highlight "life inside" Google.

Somehow (we can't imagine how. heh) Google discovered what Mr. Jen was up to and expressed their displeasure with the fact that he was publishing proprietary information on the internet. A couple of days after the discovery, on January 28th, Mark Jen was
dismissed from his position at Google.

The point here is not to argue the fairness or unfairness of Mr. Jen's dismissal from employment. The point is that it was what the man wrote on his site that got him fired. As
announced by CNN, there have been a number of people lately that have been discharged (or otherwise disciplined) for what they have written on their Blogs.

As teachers, we must be especially cautious when we are writing of student-related matters. The key to avoiding problems is to always safeguard the confidentiality of your students. If a teacher is going to write about his or her students, it goes without saying that not only should the names be changed, but also the names of schools and even the names of the towns where we work. The aim is to prevent someone (colleagues, administrators, parents, students, strangers) from deducing who the students are that you are writing about.

We cannot be too careful when it comes to protecting the identities of our students. Remember, these are the children of our friends and neighbors in the community.

Writer Will Richardson has written some outstanding guidelines for teachers that choose to write on their sites about work-related issues. Consider investing a few moments to take a look.

Mortarboard Tip: Tuttle SVC

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