Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Terms of Use: Do We Follow Them??

My colleague Marc Frechette has begun a collaborative project to review websites and determine a website's Terms of Use. Being role models of digital citizenship, I think it is important that we model using digital tools and websites by their terms of use. I understand that in this century the lines of fair use, copyright, etc. have been blurred.

For example, I went to a conference a couple of years ago and was introduced to ToonDoo, a comic creator to use in the classroom. Subsequently, I shared it with many teachers in my district, and it got widespread use. However, come to find out, I was breaking ToonDoo's terms of service, "ToonDoo will only provide the Service to persons and entities who can form legally binding and enforceable contracts under applicable law.6. Assignment." I am not a lawyer, but I believe that unless a student is 18, we can't encourage them or force them to use the site.

As a high school instructional technology coach, terms of use are important, but since students are over the age of 13, we still have a lot of choices. Marc, however, works at the elementary level and many digital tools are not be used, not due to CIPA or COPPA but due the website's terms of use. Most websites and digital tools expressly state to be used by those over 13.

So who has the time to review all of the websites we use. Here are two steps to assist you. 1) Go to the website you are using and find terms of use at the bottom. Once you are on the terms of use page search for words such as 13, 18, age, binding, or contact. An easy way to search if using IE is to press F3 and a search will appear to search the page for specific terms. 2) Review and add to Marc's digital project to see if your website and/or digital tool appears, GCSD Web2.0 Tool Permissions. 


1 comment:

  1. This is a good post. I am hearing that more and more teachers are checking to make sure the content is both age appropriate and permissable under the Terms of Service.