And a follow up to the follow up:
For the last six months we have focused mostly on those 13 and up and provided a pilot, private GitLab setup here for those under 13 (which we have ultimately decided against for reasons explained below).
We have decided to use Teams to manage accounts of those over 13 to grant access to our online learning materials while enrolled and allow only parents to access the site for those SkilStak members who are under 13. Parents are expressly told not to allow their under 13 child to use their account (per the terms) but are allowed to upload content their child has created into their own account.
This solution, while more of a logistical hassle actually accomplishes several goals:
- Fully meets the letter and spirit of COPPA
- Allows child’s content to be hosted on GitHub albeit indirectly (sites, games, etc)
- Ensures parents know everything being created by their child
- Promotes responsible content and code creation in those under 13
- Fosters a learning relationship between parent and child
- Educates the parent in GitHub
- Does not penalize those over 13
- Creates a feeling of anticipation in children to reach 13th birthday
- Allows parents to access, read, and sometimes translate our learning content for their child
- Removes the additional setup and maintenance of a GitLab server #serverless
We also give everyone the option of doing all their work from a USB stick with a copy of their work on local lab machines as well to serve as a rudimentary backup. If a parent is unwilling or unable to be involved this much the child simply must be content to maintain everything on a local USB stick only.
For other educators out there I should mention that we have given in decided to use REPL.it as an option (normally we use only professional tools and services to learn, VSCode, Atom, Git, etc.). I still find it frustrating that REPL.it does not support the latest Node.
Anyway, thought I would check in and help others decipher their own solutions for the under 13 conundrum. I welcome suggestions and feedback—especially if any of this places me/us in danger of violation of any terms as I understand them (and boy have I read them a lot).