All through my US based links on my Learning Network, the feedback and disbelief is being realised as edublogger after edublogger posts about the successful passing of the US Government's DOPA (Deleting Online Predators Act). The first post I read on the issue came from Mark Ahlness, then I read Will Richardson, then Vicki Davis and Doug Noon. In a nutshell, DOPA means this:
It would require that, as a condition of receiving E-Rate support, all schools and libraries block access to social networking websites and chat rooms.
via David Warlick - July 25, 2006.
Just when educators involved in exploring the educational potential of social software apps and sites are gaining traction and mainstream teachers' interest and curiousity, this knocks things Stateside for six. How long before the Aussie powers that be, keen to emulate the Bush administration as much as possible seek to impose something like DOPA here? But wait, maybe, we don't need to - hardly anyone can get to any of those sites in a school anyway. Makes it kind of hard to teach socially responsible online behaviour when the windows to the outside world are blacked out.