School level technology issues

When looking at the school-level administrative technology decision and policy issues, there are so many positives and negatives that are and have been dwindling in the schools.  

school

Image taken from Pixabay

In my teaching career, I have seen the school level set the stage for the dramatic personae such as our students, fellow staff members, parents and community members. A few years back when I was teaching  at Thom, our admin team was wanting to initiate some way to integrate tech in education in a meaningful and pedagogical way.

They created a subcommittee of teachers who were interested to find ways to integrate ed technology in the classroom.  Together we invested in the idea of BYOT (Bring Your Own Device). This initiative was becoming a popular phenomenon in the school building.

theatre

Image taken from Pixabay

Later, a few teachers and myself with the help of former tech ed consultants created a Thom Technology Catalyst Team. Together we set the scene and we held bi-weekly meetings and discussed ways to support BYOT in the school building. We initiated posting signs on the classrooms doors that stated: THIS IS A BYOT CLASSROOM, which meant students were welcome to bring their props such as cell phones or devices on the condition that they signed the new digital citizenship policy from Regina Public Schools and had permission from home.

It was all brand new then!  Some teachers were excited to be experimenting with tech ed and tried using technology within inquiry projects. Then came the conflicts where some teachers were frowning upon us questioning why on earth we would allow students to bring disruptions in the classroom? Then there were conflicts from the parents when parents were either very supportive or against teachers using devices / cell phones in the classroom.

After a couple of months and years of trial and error with BYOT, there was momentum in the school building with students using DC meaningfully. We also held lunch and learns (money was given from our admin) to support teachers who were wanting to try using ed tech in the classroom in an educational way.

A couple of years later with budget cuts, ed tech consultants job being cut and educators being transferred out of the building, the technology catalyst team became quite small.  Furthermore, the focus from admin seemed to shift away from edtech and more about data and student retention.

As an educational leader something that has really bothered me is how DC and ed tech initiatives in my division have been pushed to the side. This is of course creating side effects for our learners as they are not properly learning on how to be digital citizens. Teachers have also moved from BYOT to cell phone jail methods.

As I mentioned earlier,  digital citizenship is not happening in my school and from what I can see initiatives to support DC is not happening from my school division.  Due to educational budget cuts from our Saskatchewan Government, digital citizenship initiatives became less critical for teaching in the classroom and our Edtech consultant’s title at the board office was fazed out. The “need” to to teach more about DC has become less important in the schools these past few years and the digital divide in the schools have been creating more conflicts.

In some schools, cell phones are banned to deal with issues of bullying and inappropriate use which to be honest is band aid solution…it is not the solution.  Cell phones and electronic devices are not going away anytime soon.  Unfortunately these conflicts have not been dealt with properly and they are not disappearing. They are usually dealt with in a short term manner hence why these conflicts are always recurring in the school building with the issues on bullying and what it truly means to be a digital citizen. There are also conflicts with time and resources that are needed for teachers with regards to DC. There is of course conflicts with teacher, parent, community push for or against technology in the school / classroom.

What I would like to see DC integrated properly back into the schools with the support of PD and perhaps the school boards could re-initiate the educational technology consultant and create a sub committee to support its teachers and students. This would of course result in successful and meaningful learning for our students when it comes to ed tech.

What side effects have you seen in your school building when it came to school level administrative technology decision and policy issue?

Thanks.

Krista

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3 thoughts on “School level technology issues

  1. Hey Krista, what a good read. I like your comment of, “cell phone jail” because that is exactly what happens in our school. I also agree with it being a, “band aid fix”. Presently our school does not have a technology policy nor do our students know what digital citizenship is. I also agree that we, as educators should be teaching the students about what a digital citizen is. I know that our students are unaware of how to use technology in a responsible way, Our education leaders need to be made aware of DC.

    I enjoy reading your posts, they help me to understand DC a lot more. Good luck on your project!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is clear that you are dedicated to best pedagogical practices and technology. It seems as though a lot of schools have moved to BYOD, however, I’m seeing very little Professional Development for best practices with these devices. Our classmates blogs and the pre-interns that I’m currently working with reveal that they are struggling with cell phones in the classroom. While they want to support BYOD, they struggle with the best use of the device and strategies for keeping students on task while using these devices. Interestingly, if you believe that K-12 is preparing students for post-secondary and the workforce, they need to learn how to manage personal devices while functioning in society. For example, at 3:40pm my kids call or text nearly every day. They’ve learned that I usually won’t respond until after 4:30 when I’m done work. Rarely do we communicate during the work/school day – hopefully this teaches them that they shouldn’t be doing personal communications at school and it’s okay not to respond until work/school is done.
    It would be nice to see efforts to prepare teachers for advancing tools and devices, however, as you mentioned it seems as though good pedagogy suffers due to budget cuts and priority issues.
    As a post-secondary school, we don’t have policy regarding device use or integration into education? I too would like to see our Faculty provide some guidance on device use and best practices! All the best in your future technology endeavors!

    Liked by 1 person

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