The article Using Mobile and Social Technologies in Schools from the National Association of Secondary School Principals outlines recommendations for school leaders, district leaders, and policymakers as they advocate for new models of teaching and learning that include online connectivity. Has your school moved from limiting technology use (like mobile devices or social networking) to limiting abuse by setting expectations for appropriate technology use? Explain.
The article Using Mobile and Social Technologies in Schools from the National Association of Secondary School Principals outlines recommendations for school leaders, district leaders, and policymakers as they advocate for new models of teaching and learning that include online connectivity.
Has your school moved from limiting technology use (like mobile devices or social networking) to limiting abuse by setting expectations for appropriate technology use? Explain.
Our district has tried to encourage us to create and use pod casts and blogs, and all teachers have their own web page. Our technology courses, beginning in 7th grade, teach students how to use email through a school system, and some of us use Skype and Epals to connect our students to other classrooms worldwide - so there are glimmers of hope. However, there have been so many negative instances of inappropriate teacher/student communication in the media, that we are cautioned very strongly about using any technology for communication with students that may be difficult to prove was for educational purposes - there is even a formal policy against it in our faculty handbooks. I teach students that are roughly the same age as my personal children, so I am extremely careful and don't even use facebook or other networking sites for personal use at this time - students do not know how to successfully limit viewers to their pages and anyone that is listed as their friend is in danger of having personal images or statements misconstrued or copied. Most students don't distinguish between "friend" and "professional contact" and therefore any messages sent by teachers wind up in the same pile or wall as things sent by their best friend. We should be teaching children how to protect themselves against issues of this nature, but there is a fear among educators of becoming involved in any way that may make us seem less professional - so other than talking to students about ways to protect themselves, we don't say anything and don't do anything that could place us in jeopardy with our bosses.
My school district encourages the use of technology and creativity. We have a Powering Up With Technology conference annually that introduces and exposes teacher to various tools that they can use in the classroom to help keep our students engaged. We use palm pilots and ipods in our tag classes. We were introduced to a texting program where students can text their answers in and we can see right on the board how the students answered. The only problem with that has been students who abuse the privilege and try to use their cell phones during that time for other things. This past school year, each teacher in our building was required to create a website that the parents could use to keep up with school news, classroom assignments, and deadlines. It worked out really well. The school provided training to for teachers who were not as technology savvy as others. A few of us have developed student only Facebook pages where we post assignments because we realized that many of our students have Facebook apps on their phones. We have set our pages up so that students can only respond to assignments. They cannot randomly post comments on the page. It has worked really well. We also have incorporated the use of smart boards in our classrooms and it allows a lot of interaction with the students. Both teachers and students are required to sign acceptable policy usage contracts with our school districts. Thus far, it has worked really well and I appreciate the added support from administration to help the teachers keep up with the latest trends.
Additionally, our neighboring school district has launched a new program this year and they are using one of the high schools as a pilot program for Powering Up Technology. The school will go paperless this school year and will have no textbooks. Each student will be provided with E-Readers. I am so interested to see how the program works out.
You are going to make us all envious. Just the support you are receiving from your district administrators is wonderful.
What do you do when a student abuses the privilege and tries to use their cell phone during a class activity time for "other things?" Are the cell phones a district set or do students bring their own to class?
I think we would all love to hear what state you are from, what grade levels you are teaching, and how your district monitarily supports this use of various technologies.
Is there a digital divide that you address among your students or perhaps it is more of a digital hand-me-down where some students don't have the latest and greatest phone or technology tool, just the basic. How do you address these issues in your district.
Do tell us more!
Hi Jane! Wow, I thought our school district was so far behind the times - lol.
When a students is caught abusing the privileges during instruction, that student can no longer participate in the activity and their answers have to be written on paper. Students normally get the hint after the first few activities. It's amazing how engaged the students are when using that program. We send something home to parents at the beginning of the school year asking permission to use the program. We have to be cognitive of those parents who have limited phone plans. For those students who don't have cell phones, I group them with other students. I let my students know a day ahead of time if we are going to be using cell phones in class because otherwise, cell phones are prohibited in our classrooms.
As far as the palm pilots and ipods, they are provided by our school district. One of our teachers wrote a grant last school year and our school received a technology upgrade providing teachers with MacBook Pro's and other accessories.
I am very thankful for the unique administrators and staff that I work with. It seems that we are all on the same page for putting children first and diversifying our technology to keep up with 21st century students and learning. We all work together trying to find creative and innovative ways to engage our students.
I work in Maryland. My school district is Prince George's County. I teach Language Arts to 7th & 8th grade students. My classroom dynamics consist of both general education and special education students.
One of the advantages of discussing topics like this in the Thinkfinity Community is learning how we fit into the overarching schema of technology use in the schools. There are always schools ahead of us and schools who are struggling with the very same issues we have resolved.
I look forward to seeing the fit of Thinkfinity Community into your faculty's use and perhaps into your students'. We have groups set up by teachers to communicate with parents and some set up by teachers for students to discuss topics during after school hours, thus taking their learning into the family discussions over dinner.
Our district, one of the largest in the US, does have a policy that restricts phones in the school. Students should not be seen with phones during the school day. However, with a progressive Superintendent, there is a clause that allows phones to be used for Educational Purposes. Through professional development, teachers can learn about web2.0 tools to use in the classroom. Most students do own phones, and many own smartphones. However, many do not own computers, or parents do not pay for internet use. The computers in our schools are outdated, and technology refresh financial decisions do not include teacher input. With administrators who lack technology skills, yet who make decisions about purchases, our students will never become digital citizens.
So, I agree that mobile phones hold some of the answers to our problems. Rather than fight the students, find ways to teach them critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and and communication skills with their phones. I have used polleverywhere, and photography assignments in the past. This summer I am creating ways to use tools such as 140 character historical tweets, and audioboo for recording responses and sharing. I think Thinkfinity should offer a class that trains teachers to use cell phone collaboration tools in the classroom. There are many available, we just need to find them and tweak them to use in the classroom.
I recommend reading an article "10 school solutions for mobile device management" published in eSchool News (August 2013) that has some excellent suggestions for BYOD programs in schools.
Is your school using any of these solutions already?
Do you have other ideas for managing BYOD?
Cisco has developed the free Secure BYOD/Mobile Learning Survival Guide. It includes best practices, design guides, offers, white papers, and other useful resources.
One reason for Cisco's initiative is the result of findings from the Center for Digital Education 2011-2012 Digital School Districts Survey:
You can sign up on their site "Create a Smart and Secure K-12 BYOD/Mobile Learning Strategy" for the free materials.
Please share your tips on creating a secure BYOD/Mobile Learning environment.