Sunday, April 22, 2012

Four Policies to Support EdTech

Dear School Board Members,
Too many school districts adopt a lockdown perspective when it comes to technology policy. They lock down access to digital tools in a futile attempt to try to prevent students from making mistakes. Instead, school districts should adopt a “student driver” approach. Provide instruction and then put students behind the wheel for practice under your supervision.
Here are four recommendations for creating policies that support, rather than block, student use of technology for learning.
Provide students and staff with robust access to Internet resources, including YouTube, Skype, Twitter, and Facebook.  Sonja Trainer, NSBA Senior Attorney, explains that the FCC ruled in August 2011 that Facebook does not fall into one of the categories that schools must block.  Besides, “banning is not the answer” to promoting acceptable, responsible use notes CoSN in a recent white paper. As suggested by the National Association of Secondary School Principals, districts should “reduce Internet filtering to maximize student access & provide opportunities to exercise judgment.” Let’s focus on developing students as responsible users. With guided practice, students can become responsible digital citizens.
Encourage students to bring cell phones, laptops, e-Readers, MP3 players, and other digital devices to school for learning. Many students own digital tools so let them use them. Even if you don’t sanction the possession of these devices at school, students will bring them anyway. You may be led to expanding your ban, like the school district which banned the Ugh boots because students were hiding their cell phones in them. Let’s put the students’ technology to use for learning.
Provide wireless internet access and sanction student and staff use of this Wi-Fi using personal devices.
Foster students safely blogging, tweeting, and posting work via  the Internet for audiences beyond students’ classroom. Obtain parent permission for safe collaboration, connection, and performances which extend beyond the walls of a student’s class.
You can make a positive difference with these four policies!

1 comment:

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