Last week, I got a chance to see the power of Twitter when I tweeted some frustration at an organization our school has been using for years: DIY.org
We have been using DIY.org at our school for the last 3 years as an integral part of our home learning program. DIY, if you haven’t had a chance to check it out, is a great site for kids (and adults) who want to try their hand at all kinds of skills. It’s like online girl scouts or boy scouts. You sign up, view videos and photos from people all over the world who are interested in all kinds of things. Then, you try your hand at it, upload your videos and photos. You get online badges if you do so many activities in each skill. You can comment on each other’s presentations, “like” things. It’s social networking, all around do it yourself projects. Great stuff.
This year, when our students went to sign in for the first time, their parents got a message they needed to enter credit card information for verification. We know the DIY site is secure. Students have always needed parental permission through a parent’s email. But this was the first time the message about a credit card had ever appeared. It surprised us and parents who were very hesitant, rightly so, about entering credit card information. We thought at first, this was it. The end of our relationship with a great site.
But I wasn’t deterred so easily. I immediately wrote to parents to reassure them, but then I went out on Twitter and put out a message to DIY telling them I was frustrated. They’re a great organization, a group of young people who started up the site. I had heard from them in the past and thought it was worth a try to see if they were out there in the Twittersphere.
And, they were…and the CEO, Zach Klein, sent me his email.
I emailed him our concerns, and I’m guessing others had written as well.
What was more impressive was the DIY response. While I was waiting a few days for his email response, the DIY site changed.
Suddenly, there was an option that students could sign up through their “educator” or parent. The educator option was completely new. Now, students could sign up, using me as their adult supervisor.
Zach then send me his response (see below), basically explaining that the new educator option. Amazing.
I thanked him on email and on Twitter for the world to see. I love how responsive DIY always is and amazed at how quickly action can happen if you just speak up. It also showed me the impact of Twitter.
I’m sorry for the trouble you and your school community have experience. If you’re unfamiliar with COPPA, it’s a US FTC regulation that requires us to verify that members under the age of 13 have permission to join. You can read more about COPPA here: http://www.business.ftc.gov/documents/0493-Complying-with-COPPA-Frequently-Asked-Questions
Currently, the easiest way to get setup is to use one of the following paths:
1) During sign-up, instruct your students to enter your email address as the official contact. I assume you already have an Adult account setup for yourself. If not, you will receive an email prompting you to create one and you’ll have to enter a credit card to authorize your account. You’ll only have to do this once and every subsequent student will be automatically verified when they enter your email.
The screen looks like this:
2) Create the student accounts yourself using your Adult Dashboard. When you login, you’ll see a “+” on the left side of your dashboard:
Any student account you create will be automatically verified and connected to your Dashboard.
Let me know if you have any additional feedback or questions!