3. To Publish Names, Photos, and Email Addresses
Should you post photos and/or email addresses of individual children in
your Web pages?
There have been several vigorous debates on various Internet discussion
lists surrounding "the risks" of web publishing. Unfortunately, there is no
clear consensus on this question, nor are there any legal guidelines.
Some people recommend that you don't publish photos. Caroline Watts
McCullen, Editor, MidLink Magazine Wrote in a message to the WWWEDU Discussion List:
Subject: Controversies of publishing are harder than those of accessing
From: Caroline McCullen
Date: Tue, 18 Jul 95 17:40:50 -0500
Maybe I am missing something, but I don't understand why so many
teachers rush to publish pictures of their students on the Web.... In my opinion... we
need to use the Web for true collaboration and publication of genuine student work.
Why make up a reason (posting pictures and autobiographies, for
example) to construct a Web page? Why not publicize the actual work that goes on in the
classroom? Then when other students see it, they can create their own response and post
it. That is the underlying principal of MidLink Magazine, a project constructed by kids
all over the world.
If you look about 7 or 8 articles down MidLink's current home page,
you will find our Electronic Portfolios (They blink!). Students gathered information, put
it on the word processors, created their own links with text editors, and ftp'd the
finished product to the university for posting. Very little about their work was different
from any typical research project in the classroom. The biggest difference is that they
made the leap from using the 'Net as a resource to actually *becoming* a resource. Try
that in a classroom and see what happens to students' self-esteem!
Have parents complained? Not a bit. Have our students been hounded
by pedophiles? Not a one. Why? Because we focussed on the *real work* of the kids, rather
than information about their personal lives. I think if we keep our postings educationally
sound, we will have far less trouble with parental complaints and we may even reduce the
press's persistent fascination with 'Net Porn.
I'm not naive enough to think we don't have to worry about security.
We *must* protect the kids. I just happen to think it would be easier if teachers focussed
on what they do best: creating an environment where real learning can take place...on the
Web or elsewhere.
Caroline Watts McCullen, Editor, MidLink Magazine
However, a number of pioneer schools have been publishing student photos
and e-mail addresses along with their student work, and inviting dialog between the
student author and their audiences.
Teachers at these schools have observed that the risk of walking to
school in many neighborhoods exposes children to statistically far greater real risks than
they are likely to encounter by having their names, photos, and e-mail addresses posted on
Whatever you decide should be in accordance with your district's
Acceptable Use Policy and with the fully informed consent of
in your classroom and school community.
If you choose a conservative approach, you can adopt strategies to
develop useful dialog and feedback with your audience without publishing individual
students' email addresses. For instance, you can set up shared group or class e-mail
accounts, and you can also use the Web's forms capability to obtain audience response in a
variety of ways.