Think You’re Cut Out for Safe Use of Technology?

By: Christine Upton

In today’s 21st-century learning environments, there is an abundance of technology tools available for teachers and students to use. However, many of these resources are made inaccessible within schools for K-12 students by digital use restrictions.  So you just find that awesome tech tool to use with your students, and your school board does not allow student access.  Do you know why?  It is important for educators to be aware of these safe school policies and procedures when implementing technology in their classroom.

Are You Quick to Click?

Have you ever signed up for an online account without reading the terms and conditions?  These terms and conditions often outline how your information is going to be stored and shared and acceptable user age limits.  For example Education Act and Ontario Ministry of Education Safe and Accepting Schools  work together to ensure our student’s information stays protected.  Every school board in Ontario must have effective policies and procedures in place for the acceptable use of the Internet, ensure the privacy of information sharing followed, and a technology plan.

This Tool is Cool so Why is it RESTRICTED?

Active school board policies and procedures should answer why there is a restriction from using Facebook in the classroom!  It is a school board’s responsibility to monitor and determine if a tech tool should be accessible or restricted.  It is important to check with your technology facilitator because it might not be set out in the terms and conditions if you can use it.  For example, Turnitin does not set an age limit in their usage policy, but many school boards restrict usage for students under the age of 13 because it infringes on the students privacy.

Who is Responsible?

Ontario Safe Schools Code of Conduct provides that all students and employees have the right to be safe in their school community.

It is a school board’s responsibility to ensure their students are educated with computer use policies and procedures including responsibility when using technology tools inside and outside of their learning environment.  Typically this comes down to teachers and administration ensuring their student’s digital citizenship is understood and is held accountable. Check out this resource on 21st-Century Teaching and Learning Digital Citizenship.

Author: cupton77

Christine Upton completed Early Childhood Education at Seneca College in 2006. From there she completed her BA hon in Geography and English specializing in Advanced Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems at York University in 2010. Christine earned her Bachelor of Education at UOIT in 2012 where she is currently completing her M.Ed. Christine works full time as a secondary teacher at DDSB and as an online teacher with Durham Continuing Education. Christine has a passion for teaching, life-long learning, spending time with her two little girls racing motocross and engaging her students with interactive and hands-on activities

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