Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Friday Tech Tip: Zombie Schoolwires Pages! (Murray Avenue Edition)

Hello everyone -

This is from the 'learn from my mistakes' file... 

All of us to some degree or another maintain a professional website for school using SchoolWires (that's the software we all use to make edits and changes to our sites).

If you are like me, you may have some pages that you are not using at the moment, but don't want to delete.  So, Schoolwires allows you to change thier status from 'Active' to 'Inactive', rendering them invisible.

'Active' & 'Inactive'
states in Schoolwires.
 ...or so you might think!  I had put together a blog through schoolwires for a class I taught last year, and wanted to hold on to it in case I wanted to repurpose it later, so I rendered it 'Inactive.'  Task completed, move on to the next million things to do.  But then...

...I get an email from a parent who had 'Googled' her child, in an effort to examine her digital footprint.  In the process, Google served up the Schoolwires page I had rendered 'inactive'.  Back from the dead to haunt me! She asked me to remove her daughter's name from the page, stating that she hadn't given her permission to post her name.  That's all true.  So, I think there's really two lessons here:
  1. Don't inavertantly expose your students:
    Our district has a policy in place regarding this kind of thing.  It's in the document titled "Lower Moreland Township School District Website Guidelines", and can be found at  I've excerpted the passage that's relevant to this discussion here:

    Full student names are not to be used in any Lower Moreland Township School District related webpage where the Lower Moreland Township School is identified. When mentioned in text, use of the student’s first name and the first initial of the last name is appropriate.
    So: first name & last initial.
  2. The second lesson is that an inactive schoolwires webpage can still be found by Google, and likely through other search engines too. 

Hopefully, these two little tips will help keep you and your students safe.
A word about Edmodo, especially since so many of us here at Murray have started using it.  Edmodo is more secure - using the 'Group Code' method of controlling access.  If you have questions or concerns about your or your students privacy, I welcome your questions - it is a timely & relevant topic that all of us who are bringing social media into our lessons must get right.

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