Responsible Use of Technology- How to get started.

A colleague of mine recently emailed me and asked for some responsible use materials.  His intention is to use the materials to help his staff on their journey to both implement a wireless network while protecting the children in his school.  I have to start this discussion by stating that I am not an expert but as this issue is something that I have been asked before I will try to cobble together what others have taught me and share some of the things that have helped me when I have wrestled with this issue in my own building.

@gcouros shared a continuum of Digital leadership with me which is a great tool for teachers to reflect on when they are evaluating where they are at in their schools and divisions.  The point of this exercise is to force you to look at how open your policies are what you are doing to teach students to treat technology responsibly.

Digital Leadership Continuum for schools by George Couros

The ratings in the chart above run from 1-4 from highly restrictive to absolutely open.  The question isn’t where should we be on this continuum but how can we get to the 4 level.  At the highest level Schools have the least restrictive access and are fostering responsible use of technology.

How can you reach the fourth level on the above rubric?

Teachers need to understand technology before they can moderate its use.  We all need to be networked teachers and educational leaders. Here’s how

Teaching responsible use and giving access is not something to be taken lightly.  For years we were content to simply block everything and restrict our students access.  This practice left students with little training in the area of responsible use and in a vacuum students make mistakes, and at times some of them may be criminal.  There have been several occurrences in recent history where students/children have used technology inappropriately and landed themselves in trouble.

The following is a list of resources that can be used to teach responsible use of technology. Here are some resources I have found to help an administrator start their journey towards responsible use policies and practices in their school.

1.Common Sense Media– Video’s and teacher lessons to instruct students on responsible use.

2. Forest Green School Technology Innovation Plan– a plan outlining the use of techology in school by George Couros.

3. How to promote safe, responsible and ethical use of Technology– Prezi presentation outlining the need for responsible use of technology.

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I am by no means an expert but this blog has helped me to organize some thoughts and potential plans for the future.  We cannot and should not be blocking and filtering because the internet is simply too large a place to police.  We cannot turn it off as our students have access weather we like it or not through smart devices and soon in many household appliances.  What we can to is to help students define what is safe, kind and socially appropriate use of technology so that when they access the internet they have the “street smarts” to avoid danger and not harm themselves or others.

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