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?
We have to remember “technology cannot and will not drive meaningful change by itself” (Hess, Hochleitner, & Saxberg, 2013). With this in mind we must thoughtfully implement technology. This is where policy comes in. If districts or schools come up with good policies “technology can make learning solutions more affordable, reliable, available, customizable, and data-rich” (Hess, Hochleitner, & Saxberg, 2013). Basically there are so many opportunities tech can provide as long as it is leveraged in the right way.
A good reason for a good tech policy was set by the Mooresville School District. Mooresville School District was able to raise scores by implementing tech. “Between 2007—when the district began its digital conversion—and 2012, proficiency on core subject state exams in reading, math, and science rose from 68 to 89 percent, the graduation rate increased by 14 points to 91 percent, and the share of students attending a two- or four-year college rose from 75 to 88 percent” (Hess, Hochleitner, & Saxberg, 2013). This district was able to show some very positive results because the way they implemented their tech was well thought out. These gains are not just because tech was used but because educators, administrators, the community, and students were able to work together.
I think the first thing to consider when creating a policy is the vision. What is the goal of implementing technology? O’Brien (2013) list some phrases that also be of help in the vision:
After you establish a vision is will be easier to come up with the policy. Marcinek (2014) suggests 2 titles for a policy: responsible digital use guidelines or empowered digital use policies. I like these names because they sound positive. He suggests these names because they provide a sense of purpose beyond just getting in trouble for using your device. Another suggestion is that the policy be something that students can understand. Make your policy simple and don’t create fear. Here are some things to consider when crafting your policy:
Keeping all of the aforementioned in mind here is an example of an Empowered Digital Use Policy:
I understand that using digital devices (whether personal or school owned) and the GDRSD network is a privilege, and when I use them according to the Responsible Use Guidelines I will keep that privilege.
Educators can help further tech policy by realizing that they need to let go of control. There is no way to know everything (Winske, 2014). Once educators realize this implementing new tech will be easier. However, this is a big feat and easier said than done. Another thing educators and administrators need to try to establish is trust (Marcinek, 2014). If we can trust students and empower them to use the tech that is provided student will be a lot more confident and willing to try. With all this in mind we also need to be upfront with parents about what is going on in the classroom. If parents can trust what we are doing we will see a lot more success (Marcinek, 2014). You have to get more than just students on board. The more people you involve the more likely you tech program will be successful. I think this is really the key in working to craft the district policy for tech use. Talking with others and sharing what students are doing may just be the push the district needs to work on a new tech policy or updating the old one.
Andrews, K., Dach, E., & Lemke, C. (2013). 2013 Learning and Technology Policy Framework. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from https://education.alberta.ca/media/1046/learning-and-technology-policy-framework-web.pdf
Hess, F. M., Hochleitner, T., & Saxberg, B. (2013, October 22). E-Rate, education technology, and school reform. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from https://www.aei.org/publication/e-rate-education-technology-and-school-reform/
Marcinek, A. (2014, October 22). Digital Citizenship: Developing a Culture of Trust and Transparency. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/digital-citizenship-culture-trust-transparency-andrew-marcinek
OBrien, A. (2013, June 20). How to Build Support for Education Technology. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/building-support-education-technology-anne-obrien
Whitby, T. (2015, October 30). Who Is Responsible for Tech Abuse? Retrieved July 28, 2016, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/who-is-responsible-for-tech-abuse-tom-whitby
Winske, C. (2014, February 17). Tips for Creating Technology Policies for K-12. Retrieved July 28, 2016, from http://www.k-12techdecisions.com/article/creating_an_acceptable_use_policy_for_mobile_learning_initiatives#