Essential question: What specific policies will help your district prepare students for current and emerging technology use? How can you help lead your district in creating these policies?
“Ultimately, the power of technology should be harnessed to support innovation and discovery, not simply to aid teaching. We need to engage learners to use these new technologies as designers and creators of knowledge.”
Technology is a huge part of our society and our lives. It has changed the ways we communicate, work, and live. Technology has fueled innovations; for these reasons it should also be a part of the education of our students. Technology has the potential to help us make our learning more student-centered, engaging, and authentic (Learning and Technology, 2013). However, technology cannot do this on it’s own. Technology is a tool and should be used to help implement changes that allow learning to be student-centered, engaging, and authentic. Mark Edwards from Mooreville School in North Carolina explains that his district focused first on learning solutions, “and then used technology to implement them in an affordable way.” His schools saw great success. He says, “We are not trying to add on to old ways of teaching and learning. Rather we are trying to ‘rethink school’ from the ground up, enabled by today’s technologies and guided by the demands of the 21st-century workplace.”(Hess, Hochleitner & Saxberg 2013)
To do this, we must first consider our school/district vision and use it to help us make policy that will enhance the educational experience of our students.
When considering technology policy the K-12 Blueprint offers some questions and ideas worth consideration:
In her article Tips for Creating Technology Policies for K-12 Chrissy Winske spoke with Jennifer Jenson PhD, Professor of Pedagogy and Technology at York University to offer some interesting ideas to consider:
First, an acceptable use policy needs clear guidelines on cyber bullying
Then Jenson says, don’t block Youtube and Facebook, instead discuss appropriate use and time. Her argument is that kids understand these sources of media, because it’s what they access at home.
Finally, “The first best practice from the policy and the teacher side is the same thing. You have to let go of control. You can’t know everything and you have to be willing to have difficulty conversations. The second one is that using those types of technology [tablets, smartphones, laptops] literally changes your pedagogy and instruction. I think sometimes you can say close your laptops. Turn off your devices. We’re going to spend 20 minutes with no screens.”
This research has led me to believe that technology policy has much more to do with than just technology. We must be willing consider and rethink the culture of the classroom to create policy that will allow us to create a learning environment responsive to student needs, as it is student-centered, engaging, and authentic.
Hess, Frederick M.; Hochleitner, Taryn; & Saxberg, Bror (2013, Oct 22). E Rate, education technology, and school reform. American Enterprise Institute. Retreived from: https://www.aei.org/publication/e-rate-education-technology-and-school-reform/
Winske, Chrissy (2014, F.eb 17). Tips for Creating Technology Policies for K-12 Retrieved from: http://www.k-12techdecisions.com/article/creating_an_acceptable_use_policy_for_mobile_learning_initiatives#