Friday, June 05, 2009

GoAnimate: a double edged sword

In May 2008 GoAnimate, a browser-based automated animation tool, was launched. This product brings digital story telling to anyone who is connected to the Web. Here's a product promotion that tells some of the story:



Okay, it is easy to use and incredibly powerful, and would take most kids virtually no time to master. And kids are the problem here. The look and feel is cartoon like and very definitely going to be very attractive to young people below the age of 18. This product has tremendous potential for motivating school students and developing their creativity.

The problem with using this technology is the amount and accessibility of inappropriate content for minors. In Australia it is highly unlikely that we would be able to allow to use this fantastic technology in our schools because of the unsuitable content it makes available to our students.

5 comments:

Ash said...

Hi Scot,

I totally agree with your statement:
"This product has tremendous potential for motivating school students and developing their creativity."
I would love to be able to use this product myself, and with the students I teach, but I also have concerns with the content that is/maybe unsuitable for our students.
My questions to you are, how do we work out what is suitable and what is not? does the government or curriculum determine what our students should/shouldn't be viewing and using? Or do we have to decide?
I also have concerns with this as what one person may seem as fine maybe inappropriate to another person. Where do we draw the line for our students?
Also, all students will have different exposure to content at home, so is it up to us or the student's parents to decide what the child should and shouldn't be viewing, using, exploring?

Would love to hear your view,
Thanks,
Ashleigh

P.S. My blog is at: http://e-learningprobyashleigh.blogspot.com/

Scot said...

Hi Ash,

Thanks for your thoughtful comments and complex questions.

Q1. how do we work out what is suitable and what is not? does the government or curriculum determine what our students should/shouldn't be viewing and using? Or do we have to decide?

Australian State Government schools have rules that guide how they react to State Government policy. In Queensland all publicly accessible social networking sites are blocked and will not be opened up upon request by teachers. Access to GoAnimate is an example of this policy in action.

The reliability of information on Websites you wish your students to have access, is also an important factor in your learning design decisions. Your tertiary education will help you to analyse the validity and reliability of the Websites you choose to use.

The independent school sector often take a different approach and view breaches of school Internet policy by teachers, or students as a behaviour management issue that is addressed on a case by case basis. These schools most often allocate the monitoring of Internet usage to an IT professional who is tasked with detecting and reporting inappropriate use.

Q2. I also have concerns with this as what one person may seem as fine maybe inappropriate to another person. Where do we draw the line for our students?

As a rule, if the Web site poses a safety issue, or will expose the students to inappropriate material (sexually explicit, anti-social behaviour etc.) then don't use it.

Q3. Also, all students will have different exposure to content at home, so is it up to us or the student's parents to decide what the child should and shouldn't be viewing, using, exploring?

From my perspective schools have a duty of care to provide their students with a comprehensive education on Online bullying, fraud, identity theft, personal safety, sexual exploitation and information literacy so that the students are prepared and understand the tremendous dangers/issues that the technology can pose.
This education should begin in Prep and be embedded into all of the curriculum to year 12, and across all subject areas.
It is unreasonable to expect that all parents will be savvy enough to undertake and police appropriate Internet use by their children.

Thanks again for your excellent questions. Good luck with your studies.

Best,

Scot.

Ash said...

Hi Scot,

Thank you for your answers they have been really helpful.

I look forward to reading more of your posts.

Ashleigh

Danny Maas said...

Hi Scot,

The good news is that GoAnimate is working on an education-specific version f GoAnimate which, similar to the Glogster/Glogster EDU platforms, sends users to a specific education version which doesn't have the questionable content. When that comes out exactly I'm not sure, but I have been given a webcast demo of the new tool for schools and it will be fabulous!

@dannymaas

ginnie said...

Inappropriate content is a problem with GoAnimate. I found that DomoGoAnimate has less of that, but still is not quite clean enough. Used DomoGoAnimate last year w/students who loved it and were very motivated by it. Very exciting, but then found an example with inappropriate language at that site, too. -Waiting for the release of the educational GoAnimate. Have heard that this will happen this month (October).