There are many ways to connect our students online to help them use English authentically, but very few are safe enough and easy to use.
I want to know what teachers think about this. I made PikiFriends because I couldn't find anything safe enough.
It's NOT safe to use a site with students when:
-students must give personal contact information to participate (email, address, telephone, etc)
-using an 'open forum', where anyone can join easily
-teachers can not control/oversee their own student connections and actions
-students can not be held accountable for their actions (who said what, who uploaded what)
-there is an incentive for students that involve money/goods
-there are ads which are not education-specific and age appropriate
-students can 'chat' or send secret messages to each other
-parents/guardians have no way of knowing what their child is doing
We have to be very smart about this. If we don't properly protect our students, not only do we put them at risk but we are putting ourselves and our school at risk as well.
SO, are you being safe? Besides PikiFriends, what sites do you know of that are safe enough?