Activity 5: Legal and ethical contexts in my digital practice
Ethical issues in Education Technology involves several different aspects, including proper “etiquette”, student safety and privacy, unauthorized access at school, and objectionable materials showing up at school.(“Ethical Issues in Educational Technology,” n.d.)
To be honest, I did not realize there was an internet staff policy within our school. However the overriding concerns of the document are:
The Safety and progress of the students in our care The safety of our staff The public image of the school
Within this document, there are also specific articles that we have to adhere to about using the internet when acting in our professional capacity as agents of the school.
Staff are required to create separate work identities/ accounts for online services and workspaces used in connection with the school. We are not allowed to use personal identities for school purposes, and staff are required to act with a professional demeanor at all times and maintain appropriate teacher/student boundaries.
Some teachers have already set up Facebook page/group to interact with students 24/7. Obviously, this has its merits as students often check Facebook so that they will see any relevant information about meeting places and schedules. I must confess I have not yet taken this step in my day to day interactions with the students. When speaking to the some of the staff, they have not had any major issues with this, but they were also not aware that one of the conditions of setting up a Facebook page which clearly states in our documentation that the Network manager must be “friended’ to that page/group.
With some students being more tech savvy than staff, one situation came about last year when one of our students accessed the main server and had access to ‘privileged’ parts of the school computer network. The Server Admin password was discovered stolen by a student and shared with others. This compromised the school system severely. When the students were identified the school took the step of restorative justice. It was explained to the students what disservice they were doing to the school and other students. The students were thanked for identifying the weakness and there was no further action for the students as long as this did not occur again.
Ultimately, I believe students and parents need to be made aware of all the dangers of social networking. A collaboration of teaching proper online etiquette and behavior between teachers and parents is where it needs to begin. Teachers can lecture and warn students of online dangers, but these students also have access to computers at home, or at friend’s homes, or even on their cell phones.
Ethical Issues in Educational Technology. (n.d.). Retrieved May 26, 2016, from https://ctools.umich.edu/access/content/user/csharbo/Public Portfolio Files/Position Paper %233.pdf