June is Internet Safety Month - who knew?
Part III: Have you read your school's acceptable use policy for technology?
I am excited to begin teaching art for a new school this fall. While my excitement builds, the techy teacher in me is also aware that I may face an up hill battle when trying to integrate technology into the art curriculum. Access to computers will be a problem because there is only one computer lab. There is also a full time teacher housed in the lab.
No worries... my motto is "Where there is a will, there is a way!" So before I start looking for grant money and begging my administrator for more space to house all of the cool equipment I will acquire, I must do my homework and find out what my choices and limitations are when it comes to student use of technology and the Internet.
Here is what I have found - it is even available online :-)
"The primary purpose of Tipton County School District's electronic communications network is to support and enhance learning and teaching that prepares students for success. Providing access to technology is an investment in the future of both our students and staff. The Tipton School District believes that electronic communication is a tool for life-long learning, and that access to technology is one of the resources that promotes educational excellence, (Tipton County Student Handbook, p.43)."
Hot dog, this is exactly what I was hoping for! As a teacher, I too, want to use technology to support and enhance learning in art class... Tipton County Schools and me... we are going to be okay.
The above statements were taken from the Student Acceptable Use Procedure for Policy #4.406 for the 2007-2998 School Year. The document also indicates that students and staff should use technology in a "responsible, efficient, ethical, and legal manner..." Furthermore, the handbook lets the students and their parents know that the use of technology is a privilege, and the privilege may be revoked at any time for misuse. Students and parents are also required to agree to the terms and conditions outlined in the policy document and provide signatures.
It is important to have such documentation in place. Parents and students must always be made aware of the expectations for electronic media use while on school property. When using the school's computers, network or the Internet teachers and students should always have educational objectives in mind. Anything else is just not okay in a school setting.
This policy clearly outlines what is and is not acceptable for students. Below, I have listed the specifics with a little less jargon :-)
1) be careful - do not share passwords!
2) hands off other people's data or equipment
3) your emails are not necessarily private
4) big trouble will follow if you access or receive inappropriate material over the Internet
5) the school's technology may not be used to sell stuff
6) you break it, you buy it - that includes programs, hardware and networks
7) do not steal software & for heaven's sake, do not install anything if you haven't been given permission
The only thing that seems to be missing is a statement on plagiarism. In the days of "cut and paste" it is all too easy to acquire text, images and video from the Internet. Use of other people's intellectual property without proper citation is plagiarism - no matter how you look at it. Without proper guidance, students may not even realize that direct use of someone else's work found online is wrong. As teachers, it is up to us to teach our students about the potential ethical and legal problems that surround plagiarism. When developing lessons that require students to conduct research online, teachers must also stress the importance of proper citation. Having a rubric that clearly requires citation for student products will help.
That said, it is important that I teach students to be good stewards of the wonderful world of technology. There are so many awesome tools available for art education and I can't wait to get started. Now... I need some money to purchase equipment... anyone want to make a donation???
Part II: Am I a safe surfer? Are you?
I generally regard myself as a safe and ethical Internet user. Believing myself to be safe does not however, stop the nagging voice in the back of my mind. It is this voice (or is it my mother's voice?) that questions whether I am really as safe as I think I am (read more). The voice also reminds me that I must take the responsibility to verify sources of information and give credit where credit is due.
Source Verification: My parents used to tell me; "Everything you see on TV isn't true."
TV, radio and news papers are no longer our only sources of information. We should remember the importance of questioning authenticity and accuracy as we seek out reliable information in today's high tech world. Anyone with computer access and half a brain can upload thoughts and images to the Web... but what about the person with a full sized brain who just thinks he's an expert? Or even worse, the clever person who intentionally distributes misinformation? One quick way to check the credibility of a web page is to look at the URL. Deconstructing the components of the URL, is just one step in evaluation process. Such evaluation "is important in determining the authority, authenticity, and application of the information located on the Internet" (Mills, 2006). It is critical that we begin teaching our children to look for credibility clues as they search for information online. Teachers: check out Kathy Schrock's website for The ABC's of Website Evaluation.
Internet ethics: "Give credit where credit is due."
In an earlier post I made mention of my concern regarding student plagiarism. When we teach our kids about "copying" we must also teach them that giving credit to an author, artist, etc. is not only the right thing to do, it is the law. In order to reinforce proper citation, teachers should set clear expectations for assignments, have students develop a list of their resources, provide a rubric and teach proper methods of citing sources. Perhaps one of the most effective ways to teach students about the topic is by modeling honesty and proper citation ourselves (Mills, 2006).
Educational Websites for teachers and parents
CyberBee.com, links to Internet safety sites
NetSmartz.org, educating the public about Internet safety
i-Safe.org, Learn the 4Rs
UK Cooperative Extention, lists Internet safety tips for adults and children
Part I: Internet Safety and Ethics
Internet use has become a natural part of my everyday life. I have used the internet for at least 11 years to email, shop, and access information on everything from preschools to the scary rash on our new “stray” cat. I have also turned to the internet as a tool to find lesson ideas, as well as to conduct graduate and professional research. Furthermore, I have recently realized that the online social networks are not just for kids – there are excellent professional networks and tools available.
As I look for ways to integrate technology in my elementary art classroom, free online applications such as Zoho, EduBlogs, Wikis, CamStudio, and Toondoo have become my new best friends. Currently, I am a member of ArtEducation 2.O and I recently signed on to Twitter. These platforms provide an opportunity for me to meet other professionals, artists and graduate students from around the world. We share ideas, resources and the occasional funny story.
While I relish the possibility of such connectedness at my fingertips, I have begun to worry about personal information floating around on the Web. Haven’t many of us come to trust Web use enough to enter our email address on just about anything, our credit card number and address for purchases? Don’t we access our financial records, complete our taxes online and even post photos of ourselves and family? Just today, Gary Storts was sitting next to me at the Web2.0 seminar at the University of Memphis and he showed me the newest, most amazing little tool (just a tiny scary) from Google Maps called “Street View.” Watch the screen capture below:
Google's "Street View"
I clicked on a random city street... feel free to type in your own home address and see if there is video. Oh sure, this would be a great tool for finding a friend's house for the first time BUT what about stalkers???? What if I was checking the mail in my mismatched pj's and rumpled hair as the camera guy drove right past my house? Maybe I am making too big of a deal about this but it feels just a tad creepy.