Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My Problems with the "Technology Usage Policiy" in my School

Lately I have been questioned on my school computer use policy, why we block sites and only allow one web browser to be used. I struggle with coming up with a better way to police www. abuse.

My school is behind in general computer use and the staff takes little ownership or police'ing. This is mostly because of ignorance. I have tried to teach the staff how to watch for tricks students use; minimizing, proxy servers, other browsers via thumb drive or as simple as using another students account. Here is my list of problems to solve.

1. Inform the staff to a point of confidence with technology.
2. Pre-teach students the schools expectations according to technology usage in the school.
a. password protection
b. digital citizenship
c. technology usage responsibility
3. Through the staff, teach students digital citizenship to the point that blocking and filtering is barely needed.
a. Students understand and apply the general rule that if it is not educational, don't do it at
b. Create a consequence list stern enough that rule breaking is deterred.
c. Create a flag system that warns staff and students of digital citizenship malpractice.
4. Build the schools technology hardware to a point that students are proud of what they have and what they are doing with technology.
5. Allow students to use browsers designed for their specific needs in respect to digital citizenship.

I believe that many schools and divisions are on the right path. I hope to get my school, staff and students, to a point that they can call themselves, Confident, Empowered and Engaged Digital Citizens.

Any suggestions?

Photo provided by Flickr.


P. Fjeldstrom said...

I think you have made so many valid points in this post. I believe many of the same things and want the same outcomes to happen in my school and all other schools. I know the issues you describe can be a deterrent to you or even a "balloon-popper"-type problem for you but keep your chin up. The way that I am beginning to break through the ice shield in my school with my staff and students is my positive outlook and spin on technology. It becomes infectious if we can be those positive forces and speak praises until we are blue in the face. It is a very slow process but nonetheless important for all to see as a role model. We not only model for our students but also for our staff and community. I am always sure to give praise to those students and staff that use technology in positive, responsible ways. Keep doing what you're doing, I know it may not feel like it but you are paving the way whether you can see the long term effect or not - just you wait! :-)

Morag Riddell said...

I think you are on the right track. I think the key is having students take responsibility for their learning whether that be traditional or on-line. For example: students know better than to bring a "Playboy" to school so they should know better than to go to a comparable Internet site.

I also strongly agree with teaching students to value what they have. A few years ago I remember hearing about a school that had problems with students pulling all the Dell logos off their computers. I talked to my classes and asked what they thought about that. It was interesting because as a group they decided it was pretty dumb to deface something they enjoyed using so much. Luckily or fortunately I haven't had any problems with this type of thing.

Of course there are always a few students who just don't get it and I think losing computer privileges for a little while or longer usually gets the message across. After all education can still be accomplished with pencil, paper, and books if it has to.