I’m relaxing after a busy first week back at school. This was a week full of meetings and ID making for me. Issuing IDs is one of my responsibilities in the library. I took advantage of this and made my own ID a little different…fun!
I’ve been on a hardcore mission these last few weeks to push for more opportunities for my teachers and students to use collaborative, creative tech tools. There’s been lots of talk about Missouri’s new law regulating teacher-student communication on social networks. Here in Louisiana, we have a law that regulates digital communication between teachers and students as well. The way I read it, it seems kind of vague and districts can interpret it and write their policies accordingly.
In my district’s policy, it’s interpreted in a strict way. Any communication by a teacher with a student in our district must be for educational purposes through a medium provided by the district. All communication not relating to educational services through any medium between teachers and students in the district is prohibited. The exception is for immediate family members — basically you can text and FB friend your child. You can text or friend your niece, nephew, cousin, etc. that is a child in the system IF you have written documentation on file with the school. You may not communicate electronically with your children’s friends or kids you mentor through your church youth group if you are a teacher and they are a student in the district. But one of our district initiatives is building relationships. Just not through digital communication, I guess.
Also, we are limited to using “district provided means and/or devices” for educational purposes only. Where do web 2.0 tools like Glogster, Voki, Animoto, Edublogs, and Edmodo fit into this? That’s where I’m trying to start my mission. Obviously, I think there is a lot of change that needs to happen. The first thing I think we need is the opportunity to use these tried and true tools that so many have found successful when used with their students. So that’s where I am right now. I am so incredibly lucky to work with some amazing, tech savvy teachers that are 100% about providing their students with the creative learning experiences they need. This is how I know we’ll get there.
Change is hard. It’s particularly hard to get people onboard when technology makes them feel uncomfortable or fearful. I’m putting together a presentation on understanding the importance of your digital footprint, because I think that’s something that most people just don’t get the importance of. Great things are going to happen this school year. It’s not going to be easy or comfortable, but it’s worth it if it is what’s right for the students.