Learning is a social process, and the Web is a social place… so why not bring the two together? The uSpace network built-in to Ultranet is essentially a safe, school-controlled social network that provides users with a place to share and catalogue their learning journey.
No random public access.
uSpace is fully password-protected environment, which means no content within the network or profiles is accessible to anyone who doesn’t have an authorised account. This keeps content secure, but also is an assurance that no strangers will be lurking through the students’ personal pages.
Within the uSpace network itself, student profiles are connected using a standard social ‘Buddy’ system. In other words, two students have to accept each other as ‘Buddies’ before they can share profiles. Without this, the other student’s profile will remain locked and inaccessible.
Unlike other popular social networks, uSpace is fully school controlled. Schools have full authority over who has a uSpace account enabled and who doesn’t, and even what aspects of uSpace are enabled.
Additionally, this means any activity or profile within the network is accessible by teachers and administrators, so you will be able to tell how your students are using their pages without having to be added as Buddies.
There will always be a few kids who will test the boundaries and see what they can get away with in the online environment—and the reality is, we can’t watch over them 100% of the time.
That’s why it’s better to focus on teaching responsible behaviours and establishing clear guidelines. To help with this, uSpace includes Online Safety and Acceptable Use Policy documents (adapted from NetSafe templates). Using these, schools can communicate expectations and consequences for misuse of the uSpace network. It will also help students build a sense of responsibility for the network, and knowing when to tell an adult straight away if something they see is inappropriate or offensive.
Beyond these documents, uSpace also includes a ‘Report Abuse’ button alongside any area where students may see or receive something unsuitable for a school site. So if student slips and sends or uploads something they shouldn’t have, their classmates or the victim can alert a teacher with a click of a button. The school can then follow up the incident with the students involved.