Online Social Media Workspace Gives Administrators Greater Oversight
With the rapid inroads social networking sites have made into schools, a prevailing concern among educators and administrators is the oversight necessary to keep students "safe" while interacting in such online communities. In response, ePals has launched LearningSpace, a new online workspace aimed at adequately addressing this concern.
The goal of LearningSpace is to provide all of the standard Web 2.0 tools for collaborative learning and social interaction, including forums, wikis, blogs, etc., while still giving user schools and districts the control necessary to keep their students from accessing information or media that some might find inappropriate for K-12 students. Administrators can create and manage specific groups for collaborative learning and others for social interaction, all customizable by subject or other category, and can set permissions in each group for each tool, allowing them to control access and monitor activity while avoiding the security threats and other safety concerns posed by access to and, more importantly, from the World Wide Web.
Explained Ken Graham, assistant superintendent for administration and technology at Hauppauge Union Free School District in Hauppauge, NY, "ePals LearningSpace offers our educators a collaborative learning environment in which students can participate in a wide variety of projects across the curriculum while using Web 2.0 technology, all within a school-safe 'gated learning community' insulated from the chaos and hazards of the public Internet."
Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.