Monthly Archives: January 2015

EDTECH 541: Acceptable Use Policies

Acceptable Use Policies are used to communicate expectations for student behaviors when they are on a school computer or device. Like most “rules” that are written for students, they involve acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. Whereas in the classroom, we have safety rules that are obvious like “don’t throw things”, where computers are used, the safety rules may not be as obvious. How do you know what is dangerous with communicating on the computer when the point of the communication is not for the student to ultimately meet the other person.

Safety rules may seem like common sense, but they still need to be stated because as teachers, we only want to see the good in people. We work with kids who are full of potential and is our joy to see them learn how to do something. Likewise, they like to impress their peers or adults in their lives by showing what they can do. It is in our protective nature to want to shield the students from ones who could do harm to them, but a firewall can only do so much. Just like they need to learn as children to not run out in the street before looking, they need to be taught how to be aware of potentially dangerous situations.

My professor found some really good links for us to use to research Acceptable Use Policies. I encourage you to check these out if my interpretation of them sparks your curiosity to learn more.

Edudemic: http://www.edudemic.com/school-social-media-policy/

Times must be changing because I swear that four years ago when I started to submerge myself in this online learning world, having to come up with rules on how to behave in social media was not even close to something I thought I’d have to contemplate. Yes, I had a colleague who used Facebook with his students (2009), but since our IT person had told us not to do that, I just figured he was a renegade teacher who could not be held back. Now I know not only how to use Facebook as a teacher, but I know how to use it safely.

The idea of a school having a social media policy should be commonplace now. I do not know if the school where I taught has one now, but I expect they have added onto their computer use contracts something about safety, netiquette, and other behavioral expectations. In 2009 it was acceptable to just tell teachers to avoid certain websites and therefore not connect school liability with online dangers. Now, in 2015, the school can still choose to not have a designated way for teachers, students, and parents to communicate in an academic way, but we should still be responsible and let students know what is possible. This particular website “crowdsourced” acceptable use policies. They essentially created a wiki and invited anybody to add their two cents worth of ideas.

I love what they created. It covers every conceivable situation. Above I mention how do we know what can happen to our kids in a social media situation? Well, fortunately for me, I don’t have to imagine all the horrible things that can happen because someone else has done it for me. Edudemic took the ideas and created acceptable use policies any school can borrow, adapt, or use for their purposes. If I am asked to create an AUP, I know I will be coming to this website to make sure I included everything that should be there.

Education World: http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr093.shtml

Education World took the National Educational Association’s acceptable use policy and summarized its components. This has two interesting perspectives. First, Education World is a website that currates education websites and hopes to make money from its advertising. They certainly figured out how to use the pop-up window to their advantage. The second thing that catches my attention is that they chose to use the NEA policy. NEA is one of the two major unions that cover teachers. It is only logical that they would have people who could create a document to meet legal obligations.  If I do create my own AUP, I may very well go to NEA or the American Federation of Teachers websites to see what they recommend for the policies.

I wanted to impress you by finding the NEA document, but I am not sure it exists. I have found two places that purportedly quote an NEA AUP document, yet neither one links back to it. Education World does not list it as a citation at the end of its article. This Classroom 2.0 blogger practically quotes the same thing, but does not give a link to where she found her information. The closest I found to an NEA document that gives suggestions on the use of media or technology is their resolutions document from 2013.

Apparently the American Federation of Teachers is now the United Federation of Teachers. I was not able to find a policy statement at their website concerning an acceptable use policy.

BYOD,K12 Blueprint:  http://www.k12blueprint.com/byod

Remember the good old days when you’d see a paper note being passed across the room? I actually used to help students pass their notes because it was less disruptive than having them toss it across the room. Then came the time when you’d hear the cell phone ring, and you’d call out asking for it because you were required to confiscate it. That turned into “make sure your ringer is off” as students entered the classroom during first period just so they would not disturb class during class time; you no longer had to confiscate them. Now we are asking students to bring their own devices to class. We’re having them tweet us during a question and answer session. They are texting us the answer to their question of the day. We may even be taking attendance by having students sign into a document we put online. Times, they are a changing…

I’m familiar with BYOD being bring your own drink. Now we have BYOD or BYOT. BYOD is now bring your own device. The “T” in BYOT is for technology. Naturally if we are expecting kids to bring their own equipment to school, we have to have rules that govern how they  use it. Some schools do not require students to bring their own devices. Instead they are able to check out equipment to students so an income disparity does not get in the way of student success. Plus it evens the use field because one device may be able to do stoichiometry for you, while another can’t even bring up the periodic table. Ye gads!

The k12 Blueprint is an amazing site if you want to bring use of digital devices to your school. Intel sponsors the site, which makes sense because their chips are probably in most of the devices that will be brought to campus. The website is thorough, including sections for:

Just about anything you want to know about how to set up a BYOD program at your school can be found at the k12Blueprint website.

If you are just looking for a policy document on BYOD, check out the TeachThought website.

Actual Examples:

Some schools are considerate enough to put their AUP documents online. Here are a few you can look at.

 

References:

9 Steps For Schools To Create Their Own BYOD Policy. (2013, October 29). Retrieved from http://www.teachthought.com/technology/9-steps-for-schools-to-create-their-own-byod-policy/

BYOD. (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2015, from http://www.k12blueprint.com/byod

Dunn, J. (2012, May 3). It’s Time To Crowdsource Your School’s Social Media Policy. Retrieved January 30, 2015, from http://www.edudemic.com/social-media-policy-crowdsource/

Getting Started on the Internet: Acceptable Use Policies. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2015, from http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr093.shtml

Lepi, K. (2012, June 11). Crowdsourced School Social Media Policy Now Available. Retrieved January 30, 2015, from http://www.edudemic.com/school-social-media-policy/

Linking to learning. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2015, from http://www.uft.org/news/ny-teacher/link-to-learning

NEA Resolutions. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2015, from http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/nea-resolutions-2013-14.pdf

Owen, C. (2015, January 22). Acceptable Use Policies. Retrieved January 30, 2015, from http://www.classroom20.com/profiles/blog/show?id=649749%3ABlogPost%3A1049227&commentId=649749%3AComment%3A1049569&xg_source=activity

EDTECH 541: Vision Statement

Tech vision statement

I think I may have had to write one of these when I first started in the EDTECH program, and am glad I get to write one now because I have had the experiences of earning the MET since I last wrote one of these. Even though I am to avoid a personal perspective, it will be very difficult to make this unbiased. I downloaded our text to my Kindle and since I can annotate the text, I have been. Much of what I have been reading in chapter 1 are anecdotes I can relate to because I have experienced what they describe.

The most significant theme in the literature is how technology for the sake of using technology is not how it is meant to be used in schools. Robyler and Doering (2013) discuss the role teachers can play with technology and are quite optimistic that teachers want to use the technology and are interested in finding ways to integrate it into their curriculum. They go on to say, “We need more teachers who understand the role technology plays in society and in education, who are prepared to take advantage of its power, and who recognize its limitations.” (p.10). The chapter continues with suggestions on what is currently possible and how these possibilities connect to current educators.

Teachers now need to understand more than just the hardware- which components to use and how to use them correctly; they also need to be aware of the power in much of the software available for classroom use(p. 11) Robyler and Doering (2013) also recognize the responsibilities teachers now have if they choose to use interactive media that involves a social component(p. 13). There are concerns about software tracking student input along with peer to peer interactions which can lead to cyberbullying (p. 16).

The parts addressing virtual or distance education are optimistic because they recognize there are states that now require students to take a virtual course before graduating from high school(Robyler & Doering, 2013, p. 17). While they bring up the digital divide and how it appears that there are still students who do not have access to equipment or the Internet, they did not emphasize how at least within the last few years, there are companies that will provide the students with a laptop and Internet access. I worked for one such company and they actually had a logical plan to keep the students engaged with the curriculum. They had to demonstrate progress before the computers would be “unlocked” for use beyond the program’s lessons.

Standards for technology use are continuously being examined. They are not revised so frequently that there is a continuous learning curve, but there is the reality that technology can change, so the legal structure or educational suggestions for guidance will need to be revised. I think the “hour of code” may have started at around the same time the sixth edition was published so they were not able to include statistics for the impact that is happening worldwide. According to the website, http://hourofcode.com/us, fifteen million people participated in 2014’s hour of code. There were over seventy seven thousand hour of code events last year. Even though I do not have direct access to students, the hour of code has inspired me to write lessons that will ideally engage students in learning how to code or how to adapt current games like Minecraft and make them more personal. I have no idea if I will ever get to see my lessons used with students, but I know that students won’t be able to try them out if I don’t write them. My teaching credentials for science have not opened the doors I was hoping they would, so I will just have to rely on current trends and projections to give me the inspiration I need to create without already having an audience.

Robyler and Doering (2013) bring up having teachers make portfolios as a part of their credentialing programs. (p. 21). California passed the Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) in 2008. http://www.pacttpa.org/_files/Main/CalTPAPromo-Teacher.pdf. Leading up to this law, several California public and private colleges and universities developed the PACT- Performance Assessment for California Teachers (PACT). The PACT is like a mini-National Board portfolio process. I know this because I was a student teacher supervisor in 2005 at UC Berkeley, and we were testing out the PACT with our students. Because I was not a National Board Certified Teacher at the time, it was strange being the one to guide pre-service teachers in this process. When I had an opportunity to be back in a classroom in 2007, I immediately started working on a National Board Portfolio. It took me the three years to pass, something I am not necessarily proud of sharing, but those three years made a huge impact on me as a teacher. All three years I spent on working on entries, trying to figure out the instructions, and preparing the videos and paperwork were incredible. This blog entry is about a vision statement, and I would love to elaborate on the section Robyler and Doering (2013) use to discuss the roles portfolios play in teacher development and showcasing student work, but I want to respect that those ideas may be beyond what I am expected to do for this assignment. This segment is in here, however, because Robyler and Doering do recognize the power of portfolios, and how now that there are more free electronic resources available, both teachers and students can create them easily.

It is good to see that HyperStudio from back in the mid-1990’s is not completely gone. It has become involved with portfolio software (Robyler & Doering, 2013, p. 23). Robyler and Doering (2013) mention Adobe software having an impact on students building websites, however they did not seem to recognize the strength of Google apps like Google pages or sites, or mini-learning management systems that let students display their work to their classmates like Edomoto or KidBlog. (https://www.edmodo.com/, http://kidblog.org/home/).

Whether or not we like it, technology is going to be a part of the classroom environment. If I could physically be in a classroom, it would be a blended situation. I subscribe to the thought that the school day does not exist merely during the hours students have seat time in a room with tables and chairs. In my latest in-classroom teaching experience, I learned that my philosophy has not fully reached current teachers and students. I left the classroom in 2010 after spending three years at a charter school. While at this school, I learned that students expected their academic obligations to stop at the end of the day (we did not have any bells so I can’t say at the ring of the last bell), and the majority of teachers thought their obligations ended at around 4 pm. Summers were for them to do as they wished, most of the time involving travelling to places outside of the US. It was a new experience for me because I have always seen my time with students as not being enough time; it is the best ten months of the year and always too short. I see technology as a way to get the academic learning to continue after students leave their chairs in the classroom.

In 2009 I tried to get students to engage with VoiceThread and Moodle to have asynchronous discussions outside of class time. I was one of their first teachers to ask them to first do work outside the classroom, and outside class time that was not merely paperwork homework. I was also asking them to use technology that the school did not actually know how to support yet. In 2008 I had students make websites in Google sites/pages to express the use of genetically modified organisms throughout agricultural parts of various countries. I was doing this at the same time they were still making paper posters to defend their senior social justice projects. The following year, I noticed website construction becoming a part of the social justice presentations. Unfortunately once I left the school, my connection with them was completely severed, so I do not know if the person I shared a classroom with has figured out how to teach without relying on prepared PowerPoint slides to guide her instruction, or has asked students to do their year-end biology project in media other than making a colorful self-standing poster. I shared a classroom with her for three years and heard lots of stereotypical comments about why she could not do something, which was very frustrating because she also liked to point out how she was the youngest teacher in our department, and therefore she had the most recent relevant teacher preparation. Although I wanted to point out to her repeatedly that in my third year of teaching I started a biotechnology program for my school, which also allowed the course to be taught in my district, I kept myself quiet, which unfortunately may have led to my body malfunctioning.

I started getting dizzy / having vertigo in 2009. It did not stop so I left the classroom. I sought out the MET degree with Boise State, and am continuing to take classes here because I like what I am learning. I am disappointed that the individual experiences I had with my classes have not led to more than a part-time temporary 1099 position with a company, but my reality is so different than what should be happening in a classroom. The manual wheelchair was delivered this morning and we’re interviewing another company tomorrow for home care services. I certainly do not mean to disrespect this assignment by bringing up my personal situation, but this is my supposed Vision Statement for technology use. Because I cannot physically go into a classroom and force teachers to learn how to hybridize their classrooms, or force them to take time outside the “bell structure” to learn how to integrate technology into their courses I can’t physically get current teachers to go that one more tiny step beyond mere constructivism. My ideas embrace the ideal scenarios, and contain hope that the educational system will change to allow all students to have the opportunities they need in order to become creators, makers, and leaders of how they will use their knowledge. For my vision to happen, I will create what I can to make avenues for students’ learning to be possible. It will still be up to the classroom teachers and students’ parents to decide if they want to be aware of what I can offer, and use the products I will be creating.
References

Get Secure Account. (2014). Retrieved January 23, 2015, from https://www.edmodo.com/

The Hour of Code is here. (2014). Retrieved January 23, 2015, from http://hourofcode.com/us

Kidblog. (2015). Retrieved January 22, 2015, from http://kidblog.org/home/

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching [6th edition].

What is PACT? (n.d.). Retrieved January 23, 2015, from http://www.pacttpa.org/_main/hub.php?pageName=Home