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Archive for the ‘3.4 Policies and Regulations’ Category

EDTECH 541: Online Safety for Teens

October 28, 2012 2 comments

Internet Safety for High School students

Remember when you couldn’t go online without your mom or dad typing in the web address and watching over your shoulder?  Those days could return if internet rules aren’t followed.  Rules for the internet, like most rules, are in place to ensure that you are safe from harm while conducting your business online.  Teenagers are constantly bombarded with rules for conduct and behavior.  Keep in mind that the internet can be a stalking ground as well a place to meet friends and do homework.  “Internet safety isn’t about a bunch of rules telling you ‘never do this’, or trying to scare you into safe behavior.  Internet safety is about avoiding being ripped off, disrespected, bullied, scammed, or stalked while you’re just trying to have a good time online” (Lookbothways, 2008). Remember the following rules to keep you and your family safe:

  • Don’t provide information online that would allow a stranger to find you.  Remember, “predators may use this information to begin illegal or indecent relationships or to harm a person’s or family’s well-being” (kidshealth.org, 2012).  Is your safety and that of your family worth a few minutes of online conversation?
  • Protect your personal information.  Many online sites have listed in their terms and conditions a clause stating that they can use your material if you post it on their site; this includes sites like Facebook and MySpace.  Don’t post your personal photos, creative writing, and other proprietary information online if you want to maintain ownership of it.  Remember, “if [online sites] own your content and profile, and your information is ‘repurposed,’ there isn’t much you can do about it” ((Lookbothways, 2008).
  • Protect your reputation.  Your presence online reflects back upon you, and online material doesn’t go away!  Remember that “what’s funny today can embarrass you tomorrow [, and] anything you say or do can be copied, pasted, and sent to gazillions of people without your permission” (Perle, 2010).
  • Be nice.  Don’t do anything online that could be considered cyber bullying.  There is a person behind the computer; it’s not just a machine that you are speaking to in online chat rooms and social media sites.  Ross (2011) reminds us: “Yes, use your network connections to express yourself freely, explore strange new worlds, and boldly go where you’ve never gone before. But remember the Prime Directive of Netiquette: Those are real people out there.”

Using the internet safely and responsibly can open doors for you in your personal, educational, and professional life.  Just make sure that you protect yourself and others by being respectful of them and you!  Here’s a link to Netsmartz online resources for internet safety.  It includes real life stories of teens who were hurt online.  Be careful and have fun doing it!

 

Kidshealth.org. (2012). Online safety.  Retrieved from: http://kidshealth.org/teen/safety/safebasics/internet_safety.html#cat20019

Lookbothways Inn. (2008). Retrieved from: http://www.atg.wa.gov/InternetSafety/Teens.aspx

Perle, L. (Jan 2010). Get cybersmart with Phineas and Ferb. Retrieved from: http://www.commonsensemedia.org/advice-for-parents/get-cybersmart-phineas-and-ferb

Ross, S. (2011). Netiquette.  Retrieved from: http://www.albion.com/netiquette/rule1.html

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Schools and Walled Gardens

October 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Please click the link below to access my Voicethread presentation.

Schools and Walled Gardens

EDTECH 541: Acceptable Use Policy

September 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Like many people, I have been required to sign my employer’s Acceptable Use Policy statement, sometimes on a yearly basis.  The nature of human beings dictates that some people can and will use resources poorly.  In response to the poor use of technology, institutions have had to implement policies that dictate the proper use of their resources.

My understanding of the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) is that it simply contains the rules and/or guidelines for using computers and networks belonging to a certain entity.  In my lifetime, I have signed AUPs for several of my employers stating that I will use their technology responsibly, for business purposes, and I will not use resources that might lead to harm.  Harmful resources include visiting sites that might contain viruses, sexually explicit content, or sites where I can make personal judgment statements that my conflict with those of my employer.

AUPs should contain a section that clearly explains the policy to the user.  This includes highlighting consequences should the policy be violated.  The AUP should link back to the general behavior policy of the school or business to show that technology use is linked to expected behaviors.  Also included in the AUP should be a definition and example of use that is approved and acceptable.  This section should also include examples of what is not acceptable use.  For instance, it is not acceptable to visit pornographic sites or sites that contain foul language and inappropriate images.  It may be unacceptable in some institutions for people to visit sites that allow music and movie streaming or even social media sites.  These rules should be clearly stated so that there is no confusion on the part of the user.

In the interest of writing a AUP for a school, students need to know exactly what they can and cannot do.  The AUP should link technology use to the student code of conduct, list acceptable behaviors, and enumerate the consequences for students who do not follow the AUP.   Also, schools need to keep in mind that “media have no intent…people do and the policy is made for people. Real people with real language that can be understood by parents, students, and teachers” (techlearning.com, 2012).  Students generally respond positively to a positive and friendly tone, so writing the AUP in this manner is advisable.

The AUP should simply advise users about their role in using technology responsibly.  Regardless of who the user is, the tone, word choice, and syntax of the document should be easily followed and friendly.

Here are some Acceptable Use Policies that I have become familiar with:

Boise State University Acceptable Use Policy

Google Gmail Acceptable Use Policy

Flickr Acceptable Use Policy

Arizona Department of Education Acceptable Use Policy

Reference:

Tech & Learning. (2012, June 3). Looking to create a social media or BYOD policy? Look no further. Retrieved from: http://www.techlearning.com/Default.aspx?tabid=67&EntryId=4355

Vision Statement EDTECH 541

September 9, 2012 Leave a comment

The question of whether or not to integrate technology into education has almost become obsolete in 2012.  Rather, education should be asking how technology can be properly, appropriately, and effectively integrated into education.  The contemporary personal use of all types of technology makes the absence of technology in education problematic.  Students are using technology in their personal lives, but often have to disconnect from technology in their classrooms.  The fact that they use and like technology makes it an obvious motivator for participation if integrated properly in the classroom.  Not only does technology integration motivate students by gaining their attention, but also it engages them through hands-on practice and connects them back to their personal lives making the technology more relevant (Roblyer and Doering, 2013, p. 25).  Incorporating technology can be one of the best ways to ensure that students are engaging with the curriculum in meaningful ways.

Schools are the traditional location to teach young people skills that will travel with them through life.  Thus, teaching students proper and responsible use of technology should be another goal of education.  Education needs to integrate and use technology in order to make this happen.  While many schools do have computers, they are not used effectively across the curriculum to enhance learning.  Many reasons for the lack of technology integration stems from the deficiency of knowledgeable teachers and support systems for technology integration.  The National Education Technology Plan (2010) notes that “although we have adopted technology in many aspects of education today, a comprehensive infrastructure for learning is necessary to move us beyond the traditional model of educators and students in classrooms to a learning model that brings together teaching teams and students in classrooms, labs, libraries, museums, workplaces, and homes—anywhere in the world where people have access devices and an adequate Internet connection” (p. 51).  Schools need to make technology integration a priority by investing in technology resources as well as training and incentives for teachers to use technology effectively.

Studies show that proper integration can enhance learning as well as increase standardized test scores, a goal that most administrations already pursue.  Fadel and Lemke (2006) conducted a study of the research available on technology integration.  Their findings indicate that “overall, across all uses in all content areas, technology does provide a small, but significant, increase in learning when implemented with fidelity […] Most educators are looking for the value proposition that will significantly advance learning, teaching, and school system efficiencies (p. 15).  Educators as a whole are interested in any kind of enhancement that can increase student understanding.  Technology integration must be focused and specific to “address the needs and challenges of specific schools and serious attention paid to leadership development, professional development for teachers, school culture, curricular redesign, and teacher preparation (Fadel and Lemke, 2006, p. 15).

Meaningful integration includes designing technology into curriculum and careful selection of technology that enhances current curriculum objectives.  Technology can make teachers more efficient in their trade as well as motivate and energize students toward their school subjects; an end that justifies the means if enhanced learning is the product.  Any career a student chooses to pursue is going to use some form of technology:  “The challenge for our education system is to leverage technology to create relevant learning experiences that mirror students’ daily lives and the reality of their futures” (NETP, 2010, p. 9).  Educators must accept the challenge to engage students meaningfully in the technology that they will encounter in life after graduation.  A focused and appropriate introduction to effective technology can both serve instructional goals and create a population of responsible technology users.

References

Fadel, C., & Lemke, C. (2006). Technology in schools:  What the research says. Cisco Systems.  Retrieved from http://www.cisco.com/web/strategy/docs/education/TechnologyinSchoolsReport.pdf

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

U.S. Department of Education. (2010) National Education Technology Plan 2010 Executive Summary. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/technology/netp-2010

Technology Use Planning Overview

November 7, 2011 Leave a comment

The term “technology use planning” can best be described as an ongoing, fluid plan for how to use technology in education.  The planning includes the budgetary and spatial requirements for technology as well as the plan for implementation of those technologies.  The idea of technology use planning assumes incorporation of technology but also a careful analysis and plan of how that technology will be used.  John See makes a good point that effective technology plans should be output based starting with the goals or competencies that we want to accomplish rather than the actual technology needed.  This concept is the “planning” part of the process as it assumes a broader knowledge of both the curriculum and the desired learning outcomes (1992).  The technology becomes a vehicle for arriving at that outcome rather than an outcome itself.

The National Educational Technology Plan 2010 can be very effective for technology use planning because it acknowledges several important facts.  One such fact is that students have completely different technology experiences in and out of schools.  There is a disparity between the technology they are allowed to use in school and what they freely use outside of school.  We need to plan for better integration that includes technology that students will encounter in their daily lives.  The NETP also recognizes that faculty need training and support for integrating technology.  It reads, “The best way to prepare teachers for connected teaching is to have them experience it. All institutions involved in preparing educators should provide technology-supported learning experiences that promote and enable the use of technology to improve learning, assessment, and instructional practices.”  We cannot forget that our technology use planning should be focused on the users of the technology.  Anderson notes that a technology plan should be less about computers and more about people (1999).  This is for both planning and execution purposes.  Finally, the NETP includes specific goals and recommended actions that institutions can put into place to help them with their own planning.

I agree with See that plans should be short; however, I think there should be long-term evaluations built into the plan.  For instance, as See mentions, a five-year plan would be completely obsolete five years from now as new technology emerges so quickly that we cannot conceive today of what will be available five years into the future (1999).  However, I believe that we should also have a long-term goal of continually evaluating our technology use plan and making changes to it to address both emerging technologies and the efficacy of the current plan.

I couldn’t agree more that effective plans focus on applications.  I see this daily in my own school.  Our technology is monitored by a person who doesn’t teach and is mostly concerned with accountability for the hardware.  As a result, we have computers available, but we have so severely limited the access to them and their access to applications that they become merely, to use See’s word, keyboards.  As I said above, if we could design our desired outcomes and then plan how to achieve them using technology, education becomes more about the learning and less about face or seat time in front of the technology.

Other than my own teaching, I haven’t had much use with technology use planning.  However, I am constantly amazed and dismayed at the narrow-minded thinking that goes into using technology in education.  I recently had to restrict my students from using electronic devices to access e-books for my literature class. Teachers are not to allow students to use any form of technology except the laptops that we check out on a cart.  I wasn’t told if this was due to bandwidth issues or viruses introduced into our network from outside devices.  Because there was no explanation, it seemed like we are just trying to limit exposure to these devices.  I have students that use electronic dictionaries and thesauri during writing assignments, e-books for in class reading, and i-pads to write papers.  These are devices the students bring with them, and they want to use them!  It’s hard for me to plan for technology use when I am discouraged from allowing students to use technology.

Anderson, L. S. (1999, February). Technology planning: It’s more than computers. Paper to accompany keynote address in Singapore.

See, J. (1992). Developing effective technology plans. The Computing Teacher, 19(8). Retrieved from http://www.nctp.com/html/john_see.cfm

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology. (2010). Transforming American education learning powered by technology. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/technology/netp-2010

Netiquette Rules

September 28, 2011 Leave a comment

In EDTECH 502 last week, we had to write a set of Netiquette rules in Dreamweaver.  The HTML code was tough, but I like the way my page turned out.  As an interesting side note, I created an educational NING for my English students to use as a literature discussion board outside of class.  I was very proud to upload my very own Netiquette page that I wrote with my students in mind!

I am quite proud of my progress so far and very excited to be using my school work so soon!

Darla’s Netiquette Page