SLJ Summit: On Trust, Technologies & 2.0 Thinking

Today, I head downtown to participate in the School Library Journal Leadership Summit. In preparation, participants and speakers have grown a wiki of discussion questions, links and insights. Take a look at the School Library 2.0 page and don’t miss Diane Chen’s incredible lists of SL2 links:

I really look forward to hearing her speak.

Also, take a look at Jack Alton Strawn’s post about trust:

I am looking forward to attending the summit. I have so many questions about Library 2.0. Thank you for the reading list, as it has been very helpful. With question #2 dealing with trust and safety, my school district seems to be walking a fine line between following Federal laws and allowing students and teachers access to information and other computer technologies. I believe that making the students responsible for their behaviors online, we can develop a stronger level of trust. At the high school level, we must always understand that students will do dumb things and violate policies and trusts, but that is just the nature of the “teen” and their undeveloped frontal lobes. My district only allows Blogmaster for teachers and students to use to create blogs for book discussions and other curriculum related discussions. I am hoping the summit will offer suggestions to help librarians convince their technologists to allow access to the other tools for communication. There seems to be a divide between what librarians want and need for their students to be connected and what the technologist will allow without seeing or understanding the big picture of the students’ needs. So, there is conflict in paradise.

Which leads me to the new opinion piece in SLJ from Christopher Harris, who’ll be leading the discussions today:

When it comes to students on the Web, the administrator in me comes down on behalf of safety, not necessarily filtering, but some measure of control over the chaos that is the Internet. The open and dynamic nature of Web sites is, after all, a serious concern in schools. I try to remain optimistic, but administrators must plan for the worst. Sure, I’d like to create a blog in which anyone can freely post. But what if someone puts up something inappropriate? Still, we can’t be prevented from exploring 2.0 simply because of a potential infraction by a single rogue poster, can we? Yes, we can. We should restrict use because we cannot rely on radical trust. But how do we facilitate online interaction while avoiding the possible dangers of open Web sites? The answer in many districts is that you can’t, and therefore all the cool stuff online gets shut down.

There are ways we can find a compromise, but it will involve the adoption of a new philosophy. Instead of radical trust, I propose that we try—with the cooperation of administrators—to achieve “moderated trust.” This would require reviewing all content before it is published online (the capacity for which comes built-in with many 2.0 applications). For instance, most blog software facilitates moderated use by allowing site administrators to assign security levels appropriate to specific users. For example, you could stipulate that students can write and save blog posts, but they cannot freely upload them to the site.

This intrigues me. I’m fascinated to hear the discussions of trust today…. is “moderated trust” the answer for school libraries?