COETAIL, Course 2

Thoughts on Digital Safety – Nothing Revolutionary

Thank you to everyone who helped me last week by answering my questions about Technology Coaches. My PLN is awesome!

Student safety and cyber-bullying has been the focus of a lot of press lately. As educators, we need to be aware that just because students know how to use devices (tablet, computer, etc), they don’t know how to behave when they’re using them. Behaving appropriately online is not an innate ability that students are born with. Instead it is something that must be taught. Who and how is the golden question!

This responsibility of teaching kids digital etiquette needs to be shared by both school and home. Parents can start from a young age at home. Common Sense Media has lots of great resources and parent agreements to support parents. Although I’m not a parent, I think it is parents’ job to help students understand how to appropriately use technology instead of banning it. If your kids are inappropriately using the technology that you gave them, help them learn what they should do differently instead of simply taking it away. Am I a crazy no-kid lady?

Unfortunately, not all adults understand how to behave online. This is where schools should come in to support and educate parents. Once students start school, teachers should be incorporating digital citizenship into their lessons on a daily basis. In 2013 most people own multiple devices, these type of lessons do not need to be an “extra.”

Parents and teachers also need to be living what they preach – if you don’t want your child to text during dinner, parents shouldn’t either; if you don’t want your students to text during class, teachers shouldn’t either. We need to be constantly modeling digital etiquette for our students.

Parents and schools should be working together to help students harness technology for good. Bullying and students being disrespectful to each other is nothing new. Unfortunately, however, technology can exacerbate the situation. Many students around the world are doing amazing things with technology (even if the media focuses on the negative). Scott McLeod‘s keynote, Powerful Technologies Powerful Youth, at the NESA Spring Educators Conference in Bangkok last month highlighted some of these students.

It is important that both children and adults are aware of the power of technology (good and bad). Explicitly and implicitly teaching students how to behave online is the job of the community, not the individual.

Community Garden Work Day

This post doesn’t seem revolutionary or original to me. But I’m glad I had the opportunity to find some good resources and get my thoughts down on “paper.” 😉

Google, iOS

#iPads and Open House

This is going to be a quick post because I am completely overwhelmed with all the things I have to do in the next week. However, I am a procrastinator by nature…donc voilà! I’m blogging 🙂

We have Open House every semester at my high school where parents are encouraged to come meet their children’s teachers. It is a drop in format and I like to keep it this way (NOT have individual conferences with each parent). In the past I have had a sign-in sheet for parents. This, like all paper, usually gets tucked away somewhere never to be seen again!

In the spirit of trying to be paperless and to give the parents a little taste of what their students were doing in class, I set up a couple iPads in my classroom (the table cleverly blocks parents from staying too long ;).

I had google doc ready and open for parents to fill out when they came in.

Although I was constantly re-logging into the network wi-fi, I really liked how this worked! Parents are definitely not as tech-savvy as their children, but I think it gave them a good experience. Before Open House started, I made a note of all the parents who hadn’t filled out the beginning of the year surveys. After they finished signing in, I helped them navigate to those surveys. Two for the price of one!

Like all google forms, the results were in a neat spreadsheet. The next morning when I got to school, all I had to do was copy and paste their email addresses and send them a note thanking them for coming. It was quick and easy and I like making positive contact with parents!