Whether you’re a tech savvy educator, or the teacher still struggling to get your computer to print in landscape format rather than portrait, it can be confusing to many as to why certain technology policies are put into place in our schools. I’m not ignorant when it comes to protecting students, but at which point do we take protection too far? Yes, blogs can be changed at a moment’s notice, with the potential of giving students a way of publishing and/or viewing inappropriate material. But traditional web pages can also be changed at a moment’s notice by the owner, a hacker, or using any of the newer tools constantly being developed. News sites can often contain graphic images that might not be suitable to children, but how do we expect students studying current events to be engaged if they can’t use the same tools available to them at home or on TV like CNN, BBC News, or other sources? Why do we punish students for the transgressions of a few? It is possible to just restrict the login and Internet access of a single student (just ask your school’s tech coordinator).
Perhaps it’s time to just enforce the Acceptable Use policies we have all of the students sign? Most school districts have them, and they all say the student is responsible for what they do online. If we choose to ignore those policies that have been carefully worded and put into place to show students that they are responsible for themselves, we remove all responsibility and end up costing other students’ productive work time, access to valuable learning tools, and the encouragement to make the right decisions. Every teacher should take the time to think through how their students use the Internet, and how learners can be responsible for their actions online, especially as technology plays an ever-increasing role in the workforce, personal lives, and school.
There’s a discussion going on the forum about Internet safety in our schools if you’d like to add your two cents.