This week’s research focus on the subjects of Social Networking and Digital Citizenship has uncovered a few realizations regarding my use of tech tools that I need to implement immediately.
After discussing our district AUP with my assistant principal and my concerns that our students do not sign the document annually, she was able to clarify a few things for me. First, students sign the AUP as incoming freshmen or new incoming students. When the district revises the document, all students will review the document again and the document becomes part of their administrative file. Although this is a bit more comforting, my concern now revolves around the theory and the practice.
On the positive side, my assistant principal is excited that I am integrating a variety of technology into my lessons. The tools I have introduced to my classes have never been used at this school in the past. We did discuss the necessity of informing my parent community about the tools my students are accessing and using in class. Her recommendation was to proceed with a letter home to keep parents in the loop. By doing this, I would be able to move up on the proficiency ladder on my evaluation. Since I had already begun drafting the note when this week’s assignments came about, the timing is perfect.
As I continue to draft this letter to parents, I can now also include the Digital Citizenship Policy for them and their students to review. Indeed, our students hear the concerns about Internet safety and cyber bullying from our administrative team, but students do not heed those warnings. I firmly believe that when students hear this information from a classroom teacher who actually uses and monitors those technology tools regularly, it has a greater impact.
I will be sharing the information on Social Networking and the Digital Citizenship policy Rich and I created with my 10th grade colleagues so they can also introduce these concepts to their students. Since we are moving toward having our students produce more of their work online, students should know how they are protected and what the expectations are of them as end users. More importantly, when students review the policy, it can open up a dialogue about their future as students, digital citizens, and responsible young adults.
I am excited to be making small strides in opening the technology door at my school. With the information I have gleaned not just this week but over the last few weeks, I feel empowered and joyful to be a part of this evolution. My students are excited about what they are learning and how they are learning it. If I can ensure they become responsible and safe, then I have done my job.
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