Apparently I prompted a mandate by the NYC DOE that no employee can have their blog url in their email signature. I find this particularly upsetting because as the PD manager for the Office of Instructional Technology for the NYC DOE I think having a blog is a great way to get the digital footprint conversation going as well as model best practices for using 21st Century tools to build professional learning communities and personal learning networks that support the work we do. In fact, I think it would be terrific if all educators with blogs celebrated and shared their work in their professional email signatures. Heck, I think it would be great if educators were just consumers of the blogosphere and if we held them accountable to standing behind a blog url in their signature…that would be a fantastic professional learning vehicle for them and modeling tool for their students and/or staff. But alas, as of today, if you work at the NYC DOE your blog url must be removed from your signature. Additionally, I will have to add a disclaimer to all posts and comments (that I will receive soon from legal) that goes something like...the views expressed here are my own and do not represent that of the DOE. What happened to the idea of celebrating the successes among us and promoting the idea of authentic publishing and sharing and collaboration of ideas. I'm okay with a disclaimer, but not so happy on the mandate to squelch the sharing of their existence by eliminating the url from our email signatures.

I'm well aware of other ways to share my blog url, but putting it along with my contact information helps identify me with more than just and email and phone, but also the ideas of the person signing the email and enables my network to learn and grow as well.

Thoughts? Opinions? Feedback? If so, please share and perhaps also visit my blog which contains a parallel post (of my views and opinions only...).

Tags: administration, aup, bloggging

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What ever happen to freedom of speech----we do not communicate enough. Especially in an educational environment, we need to blog, students need to blog. We need to teach these skills to all students. I bet you can tell I am Karen the Librarian!
I am free to speak, I just can not share in my professional email address that I have done so.
I'm inclined to agree with you that a professional blog is something to be shared and celebrated amongst one's colleagues in the field. Of course by including it in an e-mail signature the blogger is exposing him or herself to a high level of accountability, and that blog had better be a quality, appropriate product. I understand the need for a disclaimer but banning url's from e-mail signatures seems like yet another knee-jerk reaction of the educational establishment against use of the web in a professional environment.
"Exposing educators to a high level of accountability" in their online life...exactly my point :))))
It's disappointing. Can you imagine Google taking on such a policy? It's a sad contrast between fear on the one hand and a sense of pushing forward on the others.
Lisa,

Yes, sad. Just another instance of bureaucratic "cleansing" of education. Unfortunately, education has always had to fight for the "personal" against the notion that believes education is about purile facts and that knowledge is a list of clean, true, beautiful ideas everlasting and not about the people and process behind them. This is really a truly fundamental philosophical issue that percolates throughout the teaching field.

I don't believe that education is about the "subject" and naught else. I teach students not a subject. Same goes with my interactions with others. I respect them and communicate with them as human beings -- my signature is all part of that....

I even know of some networks, discussion boards that ban signatures too! Can you believe that? This craziness is everywhere...

David
http://eflclassroom.ning.com
Thats crazy !! .... Wonder what they are afraid of?
Martha is right, I think. My guess is that there are two issues that caused the ban.

1. Since blogs can make money, this would essentially be trading on your job to make extra cash on the side.
2. Company (not just school) email policy often addresses what can and cannot be said. It's typically against company policy to promote anything that is not company related in an email from your work account. A blog that is not completely about your job could be seen as personal promotion, and therefore, not company related.

However, the blanket ban is not necessary and is most likely covering up the real worry that someone will blog something inappropriate or "tell tales out of school." It's easier to simply ban than to come up with thoughtful policy.
Hi Sylvia,

I would be okay if they said that you couldn't include a money-making/commercial blog, but mine is not. Additionally, my blog is about educating innovatively which I see as my role in my job. I also think my role is to encourage educators to use 21st Century tools to model appropriate use to others and their students...kind of like how a good literacy teacher can refer to her writer's notebook (which also shouldn't need approval from legal). I think it's been great to be able to refer people to my blog, social network, or wiki as I promote these practices in the NYC DOE. So I think this ban is an awful message and one which I hope, with enough push back, will not be enforced.
Hi Lisa,
Keep on innovating, keep on being such an inspiring model in your work! It seems wildly silly to be prevented from sharing your url in your signature, particularly for someone in your position, PD manager for the Office of Instructional Technology. Come on--is this ironic, or what?
Connie
http://firesidelearning.ning.com
Of course!

I think this is often the case, where people who don't really understand what's going on make the rules. And now you have to bear the brunt of someone else's misunderstanding, as if you had committed some crime. Silly.

It happens in school all the time, too, so I guess you can take solace in all the teachers who have their terrific blogs blocked by their own administration, who are at the same time calling for creative expression and new approaches to learning. Ugh.

I guess it's up to you as to how much you are going to push back - certainly you have a sympathetic audience here!
Hi Classroom 2.0 community,

Thanks so much to those who have responded to the discussion around this important issue. I hope my voice along with yours and others can help influence a change in the mandate to remove professional blog urls from email signatures at the NYC DOE. Below are some others who wrote reactions to my blog post on the topic. I was also interviewed by The New York Sun slated to run a story tomorrow. I plan to provide an update on how this plays out at The Innovative Educator blog.

Educational Insanity
Blogging and Free Speech Rights of Public Employees
Posted by Jon Becker on May 8, 2008

Scholastic Administrator
Alexander Russo’s This Week in Education
NYC Schools Ban Work-Related Blog Address
May 8, 2008 | Posted At: 09:30 AM

Weblogg-ed: Learning with The Read/Write Web
And No Blog Tattoos Either
Posted by Will Richardson on 08 May 2008 02:36 am

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