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.
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.
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?