Dear Parents and/or Guardians: In an effort to increase our student’s ability to work collaboratively on writing and research projects

, we would like to begin using a series of free application like Wikispaces, various Google Applications, and 21Classes (a blogging application). Here is some quick vocabulary for those not used to some of the terms you will hear throughout this document. • A “wiki” is a website that is editable by anyone. The phenomenon caused by websites like the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, provides students and educators alike the opportunity to collaborate and share information on certain subjects. Students will use Wikispaces to work collaboratively on all aspects of a group project. Wikispaces is a safe, teacher-controlled environment where only those people invited can edit the information, and no personal information will be shared with readers of the page. • Google is much more than just a search engine; they offer a multitude of services like Docs and Spreadsheets which offers students the ability to edit and collaborate documents online, plus services like Google Earth, Sketchup, and Blogger. • A “Blog” is short for “weblog” and offers students the opportunity to write for a greater audience than just their teacher. It provides other students the ability to comment on the writing and the topics the students write about.

21Classes is a student and teacher blog portal that allows teachers to manage student blog accounts under one login, which means that the teacher can control the content that is created and published online.

The main reason we are asking permission is because in order to access this applications, the students must first create an “account,” which consists of an email address and a password. Federal law requires that

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students have parental permission to submit any information to a website. The students can submit your email address, or their own. The benefit of using your email address is that you will be made aware of any changes that occur in their documents and can always have access to what they are working on; however, you will also be invited into any of the documents, blogs or wikis that they are a part of. If the students use their own email address, they will be able to access the site without first going into your email account to retrieve the invitation. Once they are members of the sites they can create and participate in online classroom activities. In the case of Wikispaces they have the ability to participate in any public Wikispace, and their access will not be limited to their teacher’s pages. As with any other online pursuit, your involvement in their work is beneficial to their development as an informed user of the internet. In an effort to spell out our policy and establish a great relationship with you, we have outlined our policies for using online applications, such as wikis and blogs, with students.

Google Documents/Classroom Blog/Wiki Agreement
Purpose of the blog The members of the INSERT CLASS NAME HERE at Sparta High School will be using Google Documents, Wikispaces, and/or 21Classes for the purposes of: Responding to and commenting on curriculum topics as we study them Creating written projects and commenting on each other’s work Encouraging process writing Practicing persuasive writing Practicing taking varied points of view on a topic Sharing special projects, such as essays, multimedia, and podcasts Discussing current events Making classroom suggestions Creating dynamic and vibrant research Working with multimedia in a collaborative environment Safety

Google does not allow third parties to access any identifiable information about its registered users. Wikispaces, while requiring an email to create an account, does not sell or provide the demographic information its users supply to any outside party in any way. Nor do they sell or distribute any personal information found on their sites. 21Classes does not share personal information with any third parties unless agreed upon by the user.

In the interest of students’ safety, the following restrictions have been configured on the wiki, Google application or blog:

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Only the teacher can enter/approve registrations Only students, parents, and staff members with a related interest to this class are allowed to register. Only registered members can enter the space Only registered members can see student pages Only students can comment on each other’s pages (other teachers and administrators may as well) Only registered members can comment on student pages No individual or identifiable profiles are available on the internet We may in the future remove some of the privacy features to allow collaboration from different parts of the country or world, but you will receive notification when that occurs. Terms and Conditions All students and participants in this blogging project must agree to the terms and conditions of this agreement. The teachers will make every reasonable effort to monitor conduct on the class content in order to maintain a positive learning community. All participants will respect the teacher’s time and professionalism by supporting the same positive approach. No student or other participant may include any information or images on the site that could compromise the safety of himself or other class members. Avoid specific comments about our location or schedules, if they would be visible to outsiders. All participants will be respectful in their postings and comments. No trash-talk, inappropriate language, personal insults, profanity, spam, racist, sexist or discriminatory remarks, or threatening comments will be tolerated. No student or other participant may post, comment, or change settings on the site in violation of these terms and conditions. Usernames may not contain any identifying information, including first or last names, but instead may be created at random by the teacher. All participants must protect their log-in and password information, as well as class passwords (if any) . If participants suspect that a password has been compromised, he/she must notify the teacher immediately. No participant may share his/her log-in information or protected information about the site with anyone who is not a participant. This includes adding trackbacks or other means by which outsiders can access the site without permission. Any participant who is aware of violations of this agreement by others must report these violations to the teacher immediately both verbally and in writing (email or note). All use of these services must be in accordance with the Sparta Board of Education's Acceptable Use Policy, including entries made from computers outside of school.

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Uncited use of copyrighted material in blog postings, files, or comments will be deemed as plagiarism and disciplined accordingly. No posting or comment may facilitate or promote illegal activity, either overtly or by implication. Consequences Any violation of the above terms and conditions shall make the violator subject to both immediate termination from one or all of these services. At the teacher’s discretion, a warning may be given in the case of minor infractions. Signatures I agree to the terms and conditions as laid out by the teachers in this document for the 2007 -2008 school year. and permit my student to participate in these services.

________________________________ Student signature Date

________________________________ Parent signature Date

If your child has their own email address and you would like us to use that address to invite them to the wiki, blog, or document, fill in that information. If you would like us to invite them through your own email address, please provide that instead. Students Name: Email address: Sincerely,

INSERT YOUR CONTACT INFO HERE

Mr. Patrick Higgins patrick.higgins@sparta.org 973-729-6191, ext. 447

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