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EDTECH 541: Safety Advice for my Students

Safety advice for my students:

  • Do not give out any specific personal information like your street address or your bank account number. You can say that you live in Baltimore and bank at BB&T, but nobody needs to know the details about you. Even if you have Skyped or done a Google Hangout and you think you are now best buds, unless you actually know this person and have truly seen who they are and what they do, assume the worst. If you have never seen the person, always assume that an “anonymous” person is some lewd person who only wants to rob you for your money or your identity. Paranoid yet?
  •  Don’t piss anyone off. Sure, you don’t know me yet, so I really don’t have the freedom to be so liberal with my words, but I want them to stick. Don’t say anything or suggest anything that would embarrass the most proper person you know. So if you have an old-fashioned grandmother who finds words like the ones I’m using to be offensive, ask yourself before you hit send (or enter) if what you are saying would offend your grandmother.
    • This is how I had to learn how to temper my words and attitude. Do not be angry with yourself if you find that you need to retake your temperament inventory more often than you expected. I am one who has a very hard time imagining real people with real feelings or emotions when all I see in front of me is a computer screen, and occasionally a really cute cat. Just like I have posted on my screen to copy before I submit, I really should post something like, “Do you really want to say that to Grandma?” (or my boss or to whatever person scares me the most)
  •  Don’t offer to help anybody in person. This goes along with #1, but instead of having someone come to you and bother you, don’t go to them and have them take you to who knows where. Let the wires and hardware maintain a barrier between you and anybody you meet online.
  •  If you were not paranoid yet, please allow me to remind you that once something goes on the Internet, it will always be available, at least in theory. The wayback machine website captures images of what has changed on the Internet continuously. In theory you can go to any website and look at how it existed in the past. So if you tell someone you love them in a Tweet that shows up on some person’s webpage, there is a chance this declaration will be saved forever. As tempting as it is to start a blog and get your name out there, you still need to be cautious to not be so controversial that you cause yourself to lose a job, or possibly not even get hired in the first place. The Internet currently has an endless memory. Once you post something, you have started creating your digital identity. [For more information about the Wayback Machine, check out the article from the New Yorker:]


where electronic aggression happens

Cyberbullying data

  • Do onto others as you would have them do unto you. (or something like that)  Be nice. Don’t say hurtful or mean things, even in jest. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve offended someone who did not appreciate my sense of humor. Even the little j/k or <grin> is not enough to get someone else to interpret what I said as a joke. You don’t want to accidentally invite someone to become more interested in you than as a regular person they interact with online. Just like we can’t really make gestures to people who anger us on the road because we don’t know if they are going to pull out a gun and shoot us, we should not make rude or uncomfortable suggestions online.
    • I have had to develop a sense of humor. After all, I enjoy spending time with teenagers. Even though I take their needs and concerns seriously, I can’t let myself be grossly offended every time one of them leaves me a message indicating s/he is displeased with something I have done, or not done.  I have come to learn, the hard way, that I am somewhat rare with this personality trait. It is almost like, if it can be misinterpreted and can tick off someone, it will.  I’ve gone to workshops and I learned the “QTIP” mantra at a Fred Pryor seminar. It stands for quit taking it personally. Fortunately my husband was with me and sometimes when I’ve said or done something that has obviously offended him, I have to say “q-tip” because I am just making comments to vent my frustrations. They are not being directed at him. The q-tip diffuses the situation. You can’t q-tip strangers. It just does not work that way. If you can think before doing, and think before saying, you will do well, my grasshopper.  In case it is not obvious, cyberbullying falls in this area. Don’t do it, even as a joke. Respect everybody, their opinions, their backgrounds, their demographics, their ideas, or even what they wear in the lower third (a Google Hangout reference). You don’t have to agree with anything they do or say, but you don’t have to tell them how much you disagree with them. You can just let them be happy in their own little world. You don’t have to share yours or your opinions with them.

For more information check out:

About the Internet archive. (2014). Retrieved from

Cronin, C. (2012, December 19). Enacting digital identity. Retrieved March 4, 2015, from

Cyberbullying. (n.d.). Retrieved March 4, 2015, from

Internet Safety. (2015). Retrieved March 4, 2015, from

Lepore, J. (2015, January 26). The cobweb: Can the Internet be archived? The New Yorker. Retrieved from

National Children’s Advocacy Center. (2015). Retrieved March 4, 2015, from

Safety tips. (2010, September 14). Retrieved from

To accompany the idea of being safe online, we created an Internet activity this week. Mine can be found at: I am asking students to create presentations online that address the issue of vaccination, with a focus on Measles. If you are interested, I hope you will visit my project page for EDTECH 541 this week.

Social Media Guidelines

Social Media Guidelines

Setting: I work for an online school that does not have formal discussion groups built into the curriculum.  The students are, for the most part, independent learners. I hold office hours, but few students ever come. What if I was to set up a place where we can do online discussions or collaborations on the projects?  Of course, I would have to get the consent from my company to do it if I did it as their employee.  So these guidelines are written with the idea students are engaged in the social network that involves our class. These are kids who are already doing work via the computer so wherever they are, be it at home or at school, there are already policies in place that govern tech use.

  1. Netiquette matters.
  2. You do not have to post your real name to the forums, but you do need to tell your instructor what name you are using as your screen name in the discussions.
  3. You may create an avatar and use it instead of your photograph.
  4. Do not assume the forums are safe- the forum is open to any student who is taking our class, but that does not mean Ms Getz knows everybody personally.
  5. Be careful about what personal information you share with others. Do not give out your social security number, passwords, or any other information that could potentially lead to identity theft. Also be careful of giving out your residential address, especially if you also mention that your family is going on a vacation.
  6. Be punctual with your responses to other people’s questions.  If you know of a solution, say it.
  7. Choose your words wisely. If you are frustrated, you may want to write about your frustrations offline and not immediately write them into the forum.
  8. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation should follow academic structure and language.
  9. You may link to anywhere on the web that is a legal website for minors, to help explain your ideas.
  10. You may post or upload any documents or images to help explain your ideas, just make sure you are using a machine that has anti-virus software. Some exceptions apply- see restrictions below.
  11. When we have formal discussions, your first post must be from your own point of view and must be posted within three days of the question being released. You will then have another 3 days to respond to one other person’s post, and an additional 3 days to have responded to at least a second person’s post or to reply back to the first person with whom you created a discussion.
  12. If you post something in a “help needed forum” and do not get any response within 24 hours from anybody, you are encouraged to tweet us.  Hashtag to be given out at the time these rules go into place- it may be unique per section.
  13. You should monitor our hashtag channel in Twitter continuously for messages from your peers.
  14. You may not post any answers to any questions on any tests or quizzes. You may discuss the concepts on the tests or quizzes, but you may not release any actual questions or flat out give any answers.
  15. If we are doing projects, you may not upload or link to your code online. You can share your fla files with your instructor, but not your peers. You can post or upload the swf file so we can see what is happening, but we don’t want students to literally be able to copy each other’s’ code.

What we’ll be doing outside of our normal classroom management system software:

    1. Discussion forums
      1. Based on concepts brought up in the course material
      2. Based on your own questions
      3. Based on real-life applications of what you are doing in the class
      4. Setting up rooms so students can asynchronously work on projects together.
      5. Oops, look what I did! …. And what I learned….
  1. I will post reminders about some projects. Since everybody is on their own schedule, you will have to rely on your individual calendar for due dates.
  2. Tweeting links to information that is useful for our content or projects.
  3. Arranging for G+ Hangouts or meetings in our Blackboard room so you can collaborate on group projects simultaneously.

Questions? Comments? Concerns?

Email Ms. Getz at with your questions, comments, or concerns. She set up a Google Form where you can give anonymous feedback.

Resources consulted:

Anderson, S. (2012) Social media guidelines. Retrieved from:

Staff. (2012). A teachers guide to social media. Retrieved from: diagram

Staff. How to create social media guidelines for your school – Introduction to the School Community. Retrieved from:

Tolisano, S. (2012). Twitter in k-8 classroom- globally connected learner. Retrieved from: