Response: Should schools allow teachers to use outside technology tools?
Topic: Leadership Issues
Scott McLeod's post today on the Technology & Learning blog raises some questions about teacher and student use of Web 2.0 tools that school administrators need to address. Scott writes:
"So administrators are essentially in a bind. If they don’t allow usage of these tools, they become fodder for bloggers and other educational technology advocates because they’re failing to tap into the pedagogical potential of these creative technologies and ignoring the future needs of students and society. If they do allow usage of these tools, they run the very real and likely risk of inappropriate usage, including usage that may incur legal liability and significant financial costs for the school organization and the taxpayers that it serves. I think it is important that we not downplay schools’ obligations in this area. Cyberbullying, sexual harassment, and other inappropriate uses of technology are real and frequent occurrences by both students and employees. Schools cannot abdicate their legal and moral responsibility to monitor appropriate usage of technology tools.
As an educator, I desperately want to allow students and teachers to use these wonderful new tools that are external to the school organization. As an attorney, I’m struggling to figure out how to make this happen."
I think educators are already guilty of downplaying cyberbullying, sexual harassment, and other inappropriate uses of technology by refusing to deal with these new technologies. Incidences of these behaviors happen regularly and impact schools, but we often deal with it by burrowing our heads a little deeper in the virtual sand.
Why are kids (and adults, for that matter) misusing technologies? In large part I think it's because very few of us are stepping up to the plate and teaching them appropriate use, setting parameters, and then following through. I don't think this lets parents off the hook, but it has to start somewhere. We can't control what happens at home, but we can address what happens at school.
I'm not suggesting completely throwing caution to the wind, but I do think we need to start facing issues squarely. For example, many of the Web 2.0 tools I use have built in privacy features. Are we making sure that teachers and kids know they're available and how to use them? We could take advantage of collaborative tools within defined knowledge groups, modeling effective use for those times when users are in less confined environments--but it's the rare school that takes the time.
Granted, we can't anticipate every possible issue, but we can position ourselves so that we're being proactive rather than reactive. I could go on, but this post is way too long already. I'd sure like to hear other's thoughts on this topic!
Technorati tags: Scott.McLeod, Web2.0, school.administrators, Brooks-Young
Photo credit: Electrical Web by C.P. Storm 21 April, 2006. 20 Sept., 2006 (http://flickr.com/photos/cpstorm/132627453/)
Posted by sjbrooks_young
at 9:40 AM PDT
Updated: Wednesday, 20 September 2006 10:09 AM PDT