EDET 678 Week 11: Essential question: What specific policies will help your district prepare student for current and emerging technology use? How can you help lead your district in creating these policies?

Aleta May

Initial Post for Emerging Technologies Week 11

EDET 678, Dr. Lee Graham

Essential question: What specific policies will help your district prepare student for current and emerging technology use? How can you help lead your district in creating these policies?

There are five Policy Directions detailed in the Learning and Tecnology Policy Framework (2013):

  • Policy Direction 1: Student-Centered Learning
  • Policy Direction 2: Research and Innovation
  • Policy Direction 3: Professional Learning
  • Policy Direction 4: Leadership (building capacity within the system to leverage technology for student-centered learning)
  • Policy Direction 5: Access, Infrastructure and Digital Learning Environments

In my estimation, our district is working to improve in all of these areas, and this is no easy task when it is across the great vast tundra of western Alaska. For each of the above categories listed above, there is a chart that lists detailed descriptions of what these look like. I believe that this framework would work well for our district as one to hold our special technological challenges up to.  I am visualizing our’s mirroring this framework. It is very important to note that Canada faces many of the same challenges we face in Alaska. For example, there are wide expanses of tundra, woods, mountains, rivers, that hold within these students who deserve the best education available. This means that reaching across the wide-expanse needs to involve close connections to Internet providers, satellite companies and for us an understanding of funding through E-Rate.

The E-Rate program was developed by federal policymakers. Telecommunications Act of 1996, the E-Rate program “is a discount on telecommunications services for schools and libraries “ and it is “overseen by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)” (Hess, Hochleitner & Saxberg, 2013). This program is up for expansion of provisions for high-speed Internet to 99 percent of America’s students by 2017” (Hess, et. al., p. 2). President Obama and his education team calls this “ConnectED.” This is major for our school district!! The higher speed of internet we have, the more the equipment we already has can be effectively used to make available courses and/or tutoring they need.

As a school district, we need to change “the culture of instruction” . . . “Technology does not change the cognitive rules for learning, but offers ways to better deliver the learning experience” (Hess, et. al., p.9). Our district (as well as many others across Alaska) needs to use technology in ways other than testing and pre-made programs. For example, I do use Lexia for reading, Dreambox for math, and we have Read 180 that is set up to be a blended learning environment with built in rotations. What we need to do district-wide (and perhaps beginning at our school) is strongly emphasized integrating technology into every subject area and use an interdisciplinary approach. I could be teaching science and use a breadboard not only to teach electronic circuitry, but to also calculate the difference between my body temperature in Celsius with other students, and we could discuss ambient room temperature and how that affects what we are seeing on the computer screen from the code that was copy and pasted in and then adjusted. Further, our students need to learn how to use coding—this may include gaming, which may in turn involve math or story telling.

Additionally, our district needs a policy that is very clear on how to appropriately use social media in school, safely. According to an interview in an article by Winske (2014), we need to prepare our students for appropriate use of social media, since they will be facing this in workplaces anyway. If we overly restrict or ban YouTube, Facebook in order to prevent the possibility of cyberbullying, we are removing the opportunity for students to learn how to handle situations. I agree with this quote,

“I actually think one of the things that might happen if you open these resources (social media, YouTube, etc.) to use in schools is not necessarily that you’re going to see more bullying, but that you might create an opportunity for a teacher to see something and say hey what’s going on? Is this common? Are you doing it? Is it being done to you? “ (Winske, 2014).

A strong acceptable use policy (AUP) will guide teachers and students to consistently teach and refer to rules already set in place, while simultaneously teaching appropriate formal use of Internet spaces and how this is different from informal uses away from school (and futuristically in their workplaces).

Basic Acceptable Use Policy Tech Training YouTube clip from Magnolia ISD’s Acceptable Use Policy for teachers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QQ1qqa4OQw

Acceptable Use Policy for Kids created by Kaitlin Fajks using PowToon:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbHxDIdS4q8

References

 Hess, F., Hochleitner, T., Saxberg, B. (2013). E-Rate, education technology, and school reform. American Enterprise Institude.

Minister of Education (2013). Learning and Technology Policy Framework. Edmonton, AB: Crown in Right of the Province of Albrta copyright. http://www.education.alberta.ca/LTPF (2013).

Winske, C. (2014). Tips for creating technology policies for K-12.

YouTube Video Clips:

AUP Video Clip for Teachers:

Griffin, K (April 25, 2016). How to deal with Acceptable Use Policies & Cyberbullying in the classroom.  Retrieved 7-31-16 at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QQ1qqa4OQw

AUP Video Clip for Students:

Fajks, K. (September 14, 2015) Acceptable Use Policy. Retrieved 7-31-16 at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbHxDIdS4q8  (created using powtoon: http://www.powtoon.com/join )

 

One thought on “EDET 678 Week 11: Essential question: What specific policies will help your district prepare student for current and emerging technology use? How can you help lead your district in creating these policies?

  1. Sara Lucas

    I agree that our district is trying to improve tech, but you are right that it is hard to do. The district just covers such a big area. Many schools close to Bethel get a lot more help than schools that are far away. A lot also depends on the knowledge of the site tech. Ours is new and still learning a lot, so much is left up to teachers to explore on their own. You’re also right that our district is very good at using tech for testing and pre-made programs. I wish we did more projects that were interdisciplinary as well. This is so hard with the way curriculum and credits are set up at the high school level. This is probably bigger than our district, but it would be even better to see classes redesigned and not so separate. Maybe the credit system could be overhauled. If we go this route to include more tech in meaningful ways we definitely need a more clear tech policy. It is our responsibility to keep students safe and show them how to use the internet appropriately.

    Reply

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