This week was good for being able to look at what policies my school/district already has in place. As a small Catholic school, our district is the Archdiocese of Anchorage. Because we’re on Kodiak Island, we’re removed from the other schools in our district, which can make things interesting.
This week I discovered we did not have an AUP for our students to sign. However, aside from last school year, our school has not been using an extreme amount of technology. Last year, students (second-eighth graders) did complete a digital citizenship course online. After completing the course, students were awarded a certificate. Despite this course, some students had difficulty being appropriate with technology.
My colleagues’ policy needs seemed more focused on a BYOD policy, which could stem from acceptable use policies, especially if that school/district’s AUP already contains a section concerning students’ own devices. From my colleagues and my own experiences, I can say that there seem to be challenges – Challenges with administration challenges in creating new policies, etc. Personally, it could be a challenge to involve the colleagues at my school become a part of writing the policy. Last year, I was the go-to if a colleague needed assistance. This year, I hope my colleagues will embrace the technology more and help our school move forward to utilizing more emerging technologies.
Teaching at a small Catholic school in a small town on an island has afforded me many benefits when it comes to teaching. One of these benefits is our access to education, especially with our current principal, who has previously taught technology at a college level. Our principal supports and encourages the use of technology in our classroom. Though devices are in need of upgrades/revisions, we have 1-to-1 devices for many of our classrooms. Our school is not held to the same rigorous standards as our public schools; there is more freedom to explore and try new techniques, particularly in regard to technology. However as I was completing my research for this week (and past week’s research for that matter), I wondered if our school had an AUP (known as an acceptable use policy). When thumbing through our enrollment packet, I discovered no policy for students to sign as they register. As I teacher, I realized, I had never once had my students sign one. Further, when researching our ‘district’ the Archdiocese of Anchorage, they did not have a policy on their site either. This, I thought, is an oversight for our school, and it is a policy our school needs.
An acceptable use policy or responsible use policy is a policy that outlines what a school or district expects of its members in behaving with technology (Common Sense Education., 2015). Our school technology vision is for all students to become technology literate. In order to achieve this vision, we must have a policy for guidelines and expectations. Acceptable use policies need to have clear guidelines and should be discussed with teachers, students, and parents (Winske, C., 2014). In moving forward with developing a policy for our school, several resources had tips on how to write your own acceptable use policy and samples of other schools. Scholastic (2015) encourages you to include the philosophy, statement of educational uses/advantages, responsibilities of educators, code of conduct, acceptable vs unacceptable uses and more in your policy. SETDA (2015) encourages schools to refine and revise policies and practices for high-quality digital learning. Finally, Common Sense Education (2015) outlines questions to ask as your policy develops. For example, how often will the policy be reviewed and revised, do you need school board approval, will your school have a separate acceptable use policy for teachers, will your acceptable use policy focus on behaviors or devices, etc.
Our school starts off the year with two inservice days and has another two inservice days in October. I believe writing an acceptable use policy could be an activity for teachers to work on together during those inservice days. When both my principals (as we have co-principals for this coming school year) return from their vacations, I plan to bring up this idea. I can help lead the way by finding samples and drafting a policy for my colleagues to discuss and edit. As the policy further develops, a bring your own device policy can be written as well. This could also help with professional learning in regards to technology as teachers develop and apply their knowledge to creating a policy that is beneficial for students (Alberta Government., 2013).
Alberta Government. (2013). Learning and technology policy framework Retrieved July 25, 2015, from https://education.alberta.ca/media/7792655/learning-and-technology-policy-framework-web.pdf
Archdiocese of Anchorage. (2015). Catholic education. Retrieved July 28, 2015, from http://www.archdioceseofanchorage.org/catholic-education/
Common Sense Education. (2015). 1-to-1 essentials – Acceptable use policies. Retrieved July 28, 2015, from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/1to1/aups
Scholastic. (2015). Using technology: Why have a technology policy in your school or library? Retrieved July 28, 2015, from http://www.scholastic.com/librarians/tech/techpolicy.htm
SETDA. (2015). Ensuring the quality of digital content for learning. Retrieved July 25, 2015, from http://www.setda.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Digital_brief_3.10.15c.pdf
Winske, C. (2014, February 17). Tips for creating technology policies for K-12 [K-12 tech decisions]. Retrieved July 25, 2015, from http://www.k-12techdecisions.com/article/creating_an_acceptable_use_policy_for_mobile_learning_initiatives
To say that learning about ‘crafting’ with technology was interesting would be putting it lightly. The experience was very enlightening. Though I had known some of the ‘crafts’ were possible, I hadn’t realized to quite what extent they were possible nor how the technology surrounding them had grown.
When doing my searching for additional resources, I struggled this week. I had difficulty finding topics that were different from those in the resources given. It wasn’t until exploring others’ blogs that I was able to see what other types of crafts could be made with technology, notably wearable technology.
Though I see promise behind this type of technology, it is something I would need to become more familiar with before implementing in my classroom. One site had a teacher using the technology in a MakerClub after school. That is the way I would want to start. I would want students to explore it with me and be comfortable. I am a crafter – I love making things: scrapbooking, quilting, crocheting, etc. I am not an artist. When posting with Tristan, I was able to relate to the fact that this could be something to help students with their self-efficacy and become more creative without having to draw something. Students who may struggle with other areas of art or crafting could take off when using this type of art. There are many possibilities, but first, more research or hands on training with students.
Chibitronics is the evolution of technology and arts working together (Chibitronics, 2014). Anything that students can already do with a paper and pen/pencil, they are now able to achieve with electronics (Buechley, L., 2012). Learning is now being extended so students can make numerous things with electronics. For example: interior light purses, neopixel ring bracelets, LED sparkle skirts, plush game controlers, etc (Terranova, A., 2014).
The basic idea is that students are building things with circuits (Graham, 2015). Students are making connections, which can extend into their classroom learning, similar to writing a report. With Chibitronics, there is a downloadable sketchbook available for free. Starter kits are available for purchase that provide the materials for simple circuts. The starter kit I found was available for $25 (Sparkfun, n.d.). There are many applications for Chibitronics in the classroom. Eichholz (2015) used Chibitronics in her school’s MakerClub for students to create light up Mother’s and Father’s Day cards. Students were able to make a heart that lit up and wrote, “You light up my life,” on the outside. Materials needed were copper tape, LED lights, and coin cell 3V batteries, all available on Amazon.com (Eichholz, T., 2015). Further use of this developing craft could be to have students use the technology when completing a shoebox scene from a book they have read (Graham, 2015).
As an avid crafter, I see much promise to utilizing Chibitronics in the classroom. Though there may be some challenges in getting started, I see it as a very promising and awesome development for classrooms. While watching the videos and looking at pictures of what others had created, I was amazed at the creations. I could see this being big in science classes, especially when it comes to the way electricity works. I can also see it extending into other curricular areas in the classroom and even classroom management. Imagine students having different colored lights to signal when they needed to use the restroom or get a drink. I can see so many students having a fun time exploring with and benefiting from Chibitronics.
Buechley, L. (2012, November 15). Leah Buechley: How to “sketch” with electronics. Retrieved July 19, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTBp0Z5GPeI
Chibitronics (2014). Our story. Retrieved July 20, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aGB0_8Y-w4
Eichholz, T. (2015, May 21). Paper circuit greeting cards [Engage their minds]. Retrieved July 20, 2015, from https://engagetheirminds.wordpress.com/tag/chibitronics/
Graham, L. (2015, June 28). AFA: Using chibitronics in the English classroom. Retrieved July 19, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aGB0_8Y-w4
Sparkfun. (n.d.). Chibitronics. Retrieved July 20, 2015, from https://www.sparkfun.com/categories/275
Terranova, A. (2014, July 15). 10 fabulous and fashionable wearable projects from Becky Stern. Make: Retrieved July 19, 2015, from http://makezine.com/2014/07/15/10-fabulous-and-fashionable-wearable-projects-from-becky-stern/
I remember in high school, cell phones were starting to be popular. Back then, people primarily had flip phones and I recall when the first iPhone was released. One of my teachers was so proud to show his off to us. As more students came to school with phones, our administration decided they needed to act. Their way of acting was to place a ban on cell phones in school – classroom, hallway, it didn’t matter. Eventually, they realized that wasn’t going to work when students would continue to use phones around the school, going so far to sneak them in class. I will admit I am guilty of this. Their next act was to work with student government and a committee (of which I was a part) to figure out what would work best for all students. Together the idea of a ‘cell phone zone’ was born. It seemed to work better than the ban, but of course, students would still try and text in class.
Technology has continued to grow and evolve. Now, students have additional technology instead of just phones they are bringing to school – tablets, cell phones, laptops, etc. It has become evident to me that we need policies in place that allow students to use these devices responsibly rather than banning their use in the classroom when I use my technology in the classroom and I know other teachers who do the same. Schools are spending more and more of budgets on keeping technology up to date in the classroom when students are already bringing these devices to school.
Regardless of if students are using their devices in the classroom in a formal program, I believe their should be a bring your own device policy for students to know what the school does or does not allow for their devices. Schools should develop policies that help foster students’ learning and helps them become responsible members of the technological community.
Two years ago I had a colleague who attended a staff meeting frustrated with her students using their cell phones in the classroom. She kept taking the cell phones away, but that wasn’t helping the situation. This was the last year at our school for this woman, who had joined the Peace Corps. My principal, who is quite the techie and has taught technology classes before, encouraged this teacher to have her students use these devices in a productive way in class. She was astounded. She simply had no idea of how to do this. At this time BYOD policies were still new but emerging further into the world of education. Since then schools in four states have adopted BYOD policies and more may be following (Lacey, K., 2014).
What exactly is BYOD? BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device and schools are creating policies for staff and students to use their personal mobile devices on school wireless to enhance academic instruction and rethink former cell phone bans in schools (Wainwright, A., n.d. & St. George, D., 2014). Wainwright (n.d.) lays out twenty pros and fifteen cons that come with developing a BYOD policy for your school. Some of the pros include: students have comfort with their own devices, it can be cost effective for schools, students may be more likely to continue learning after school hours, students’ notes can become more organized, students have limitless access to resources, teachers are more connected to parents and students, students have excitement for learning, and it allows for more personalized learning. Some of the cons include: overloading schools’ wireless networks, technology may become a status symbol for students, students may become easily distracted or forget to charge their devices, an increased possibility of theft, some students may not be able to afford devices, and applications may not be universal.
With more and more students bringing their own devices to school, I think it is necessary for every school to have a BYOD policy. Schools that have successfully implemented BYOD policies have explicit acceptable use policies or responsible use policies (Lacey, K., 2014). Students and parents must sign these policies and register their devices with the schools (students may register up to three devices). Students are also taught digital citizenship, which is different per grade level. Further, some schools include training for teachers to learn to use all the different devices they may encounter (Chadbard, E., 2012). A BYOD policy has to be implemented properly and security is critical; however, there are solutions to making a BYOD program successful (Martini, P., 2013).
Though not every student may own a device, I think it is essential to have a policy in place for those that do. Some schools purchase devices for the students that cannot afford devices (Lacey, K., 2014) I believe that having a BYOD policy in place is much more practical than a cell phone ban, especially since students are bringing their devices to school in spite of bans. As teachers we need to work with our students and show the educational value to their devices, rather than putting limits on them. Having an agreement and a BYOD policy will help our students become more successful.
Chadband, E. (2012, July 19). Should schools embrace “bring your own device”? [neaToday]. Retrieved July 12, 2015, from http://neatoday.org/2012/07/19/should-schools-embrace-bring-your-own-device/
Lacey, K. (2014, June). BYOD success stories. District Administration. Retrieved July 12, 2015, from http://www.districtadministration.com/article/byod-success-stories
Martini, P. (2013, December 22). 4 challenges that can cripple your school’s byod program [Teacher thought]. Retrieved July 12, 2015, from http://www.teachthought.com/technology/4-challenges-can-cripple-schools-byod-program/
St. George, D. (2014, September 14). Schools move toward ‘bring your own device’ policies to boost student tech use. The Washington Post. Retrieved July 12, 2015, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/stem/schools-move-toward-bring-your-own-device-practices-to-boost-student-tech-use/2014/09/14/4d1e3232-393e-11e4-9c9f-ebb47272e40e_story.html
Wainwright, A. (n.d.). 20 pros and cons of implementing byod in schools [Securedge networks]. Retrieved July 12, 2015, from http://www.securedgenetworks.com/blog/20-Pros-and-Cons-of-implementing-BYOD-in-schools