Major Project Part III
Leadership of Instructional Technology in Education
Dr. Kirsten Hansen & Dr. Stephen Wihak
April 11th, 2019
Table of Contents
The Rational & SWOT Analysis
The Explanation of the Process
The Engagement with the 4 Levels of Administration
The Effects on the Stakeholders
Reflection of my Leadership
Reflection of the Process
The Rational and SWOT Analysis
I am employed with Regina Public Schools and I am currently teaching at a secondary high school called Campbell Collegiate, which is a large high school in our School Division. There are approximately over 1600 students who attend the high school with roughly over 90 teaching staff members. At this building I teach in the areas of French Immersion and Spanish. Part of my duties for the past three years have been a Core leader. In this position I am responsible for creating and leading in professional development, I am responsible for the communication between my administrators and my core members. I am responsible to support my core members when it comes to assessment and in regards to our School Division’s Strategic Plan for student achievement. My School Division has approximately over 23 000 students from kindergarten to grade 12.
The Current State of Matters
In our current state of matters at the Provincial level, the Government has diminished funding to the Education sector in Saskatchewan. Furthermore, since 2017 the focus has been mainly centralized on increasing graduation rates across all Saskatchewan School Divisions. In 2013, I saw my School Division and other School Divisions across Saskatchewan embrace BYOD, the promotion of the responsible use of technology and Digital Citizenship. In my School Division, digital citizenship advisers and consultants were hired at the Division Level to support this initiative. Furthermore, I witnessed the start of the promotion of what it is to be a digital citizen with teachers and students. Our School Division created a student agreement for responsible use of technology and a digital citizenship agreement and the Administration Procedure 225 was created for the use of student – owned technology devices. In 2015, the Provincial Government of Saskatchewan in consultation with educators, professors and technology education experts, published a policy planning guide for school divisions to implement Digital Citizenship Education for Kindergarten to grade 12. This policy planning guide was created in response to recommendations that were contained in the Saskatchewan Action Plan to Address Bullying and Cyber-bullying that was released in November of 2013. Going back to the DC Education in Saskatchewan Schools policy guide, its main goal is to ensure that our students learn the knowledge and skills to help them develop appropriate and responsible behaviors online. It is also to support teachers, School Division by providing them with instructional and student resources that would encourage responsible and appropriate behaviors online. The working group (whom were educators from all across Saskatchewan and Professors from the University of Regina (Dr. Alec Couros and Katia Hildebrandt) suggested that in order to support the appropriate and responsible online behavior for our students from Kindergarten to grade 12, that the Ministry of Education needs provide school divisions with model digital citizenship policies and guidelines for implementation. It also encourages the Ministry of Education to provide educators with professional development and instructional supports to support student digital citizenship. The DC Education in Saskatchewan guide states, “supporting students at all grade levels and through all subjects to learn appropriate and responsible online behavior through the integration of digital citizenship instruction will help ensure that children and youth in the digital age become responsible and principled digital citizens, capable of building and maintaining a positive digital footprint, respecting intellectual property boundaries and protecting their privacy online. Digital citizenship education is not intended to be a stand-alone unit, course or lesson, rather it is best learned and understood when taught in context through supported online practice and real-life examples and experiences.” (Page 3) Unfortunately, the supports for digital citizenship is presently not happening at the school and Division level and from what I can see initiatives to support DC is not happening within our Provincial Level. Due to educational budget cuts from our Provincial Government, Digital Citizenship initiatives have become less critical for teaching in the classroom and our Edtech consultants position have been fazed out to one consultant for our whole school division. The “need” to teach more about DC has become less important at the School and Division level these past few years and the digital divide in the schools has become a big debate. Great ideas have been developed such as the DC education in Saskatchewan Schools policy guide and though it seems when it comes to Digital Citizenship it has been left on the sidelines at the school level and at the division level. Our division website with Regina Public Schools has a link that supports DC though some links are still not functional. It’s as if, there is some missing links and supports due to budget cuts. The DC agreement is no longer visible on the website, and I personally have not seen the agreement anywhere or being used in the school on a yearly basis.
There are many conflicts and tensions that are taking place with the digital divide. In some schools in our division, cell phones are banned to deal with issues of bullying and inappropriate use which to be honest is band aid solution which is not the solution. Cell phones and electronic devices are not going away anytime soon. Electronic devices can be found everywhere from the classroom, to school hallways and to the home. 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, within school divisions and in the community on the issues on bullying, sexting 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 and in the classroom.
The SWOT Analysis
Having the School Board and Provincial level government take initiative to support DC is a huge undertaking due budget cuts. DC initiatives and supports must of course be reinstated, renewed and researched thoroughly on what will support teachers and students with DC in the classroom, in the schools and within the School Divisions. Digital Citizenship must be seriously addressed and properly supported within our educational system. DC and EdTech PD training must be accessible and available to all teachers, for the reason that teachers are the ones who can promote and instill DC in the classrooms with students and within the school buildings. PD for DC and EdTech must be accessible to the teachers, students within the school division and community members consistently. The training and PD must be accessible online and face to face PD / training / supports should be easy to navigate for educators, students and parents. The training / supports / PD should be linked within the Ministry of Education document on Technology in Education Framework, the Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools and within the Alliance level of the STF on Social Justice, Inclusion and Equity where they can continue to support initiatives and updates to DC within the schools and School Divisions. These initiatives, PD and supports for DC should coincide with the Ministry’s framework to ensure that it is successful in Saskatchewan schools.
There are positive outcomes to supporting, reinstating DC initiatives, PD and training for teachers and students. Cell phones and digital devices are here and they are not going away anytime soon. Banning cell phones is not the answer. Teaching / educating students about DC is the right answer to support the digital citizenship of our students and community members. Most students in all schools within all school divisions have access to a digital device. If devices are used properly to support student learning, it will engage learners to use technology with purpose for educational use and it will also promote learners to use technology prudently in their daily lives in and out of school. With the proper integration of Digital Citizenship with regards to cell phone usage, students will have an understanding of what is appropriate and what is responsible use when they and we use personal technology such as cell phones. This will prevent cyber-bullying, inappropriate messaging and create social norms of what is appropriate when students use their digital devices. Furthermore this will break the digital divide when students are using technology properly with the use of proper digital citizenship. When cell phones are used properly in the classroom, most educators will be able to use these platforms to expand student learning, tailor student learning experiences. Which will support the Ministry’s and alliance level policies on DC. The School division should also continuously examine and support new PD and initiatives to support DC in the schools. Is the specific DC PD useful for educators and students? When can students and teachers access DC initiatives and supports? Where can educators and students access DC supports and initiatives?
There are of course potential weaknesses and issues that may arise with the renewed focus on DC initiatives in classroom across schools and school divisions. One big issue would be student compliance. Students are at times disconnected from classroom learning and can become distracted with their cell phones, they are sexting, sending inappropriate messages to classmates and bullying classmates. Students do not know how to use technology properly. Furthermore, they are also involved in risky behaviors by participating in cyber bullying, not protecting their social media accounts which can make them vulnerable to online predators. They are not protecting their passwords where others could have access to personal information and they are also plagiarizing others work without citing properly. They are using digital platforms for photos but they could also use digital platforms for educational purposes. Though with the renewed DC initiatives, teaches should be able to teach students about leaving a positive digital footprint and using technology with purpose. The dangers of inappropriate messaging, sexting and bullying. Teaching about limiting personal pictures and posts. Educating about safeguarding passwords and setting privacy settings on social platforms, using proper netiquette, awareness about online risky behaviors, analyzing social posts before posting the (what’s right and what’s wrong.) Logging off public computers properly, reporting disturbing online behavior and teaching about proper citing from online sources. Even though some students are digital savvy, they would be taught about the proper social norms for online behavior. Educators would teach about the positives of proper digital footprint and the negatives of sending inappropriate messages, images, cyber-bullying, and plagiarism which would continuously support the DC renewal in schools. Time and PD for fellow teaching staff members and students would need to be supported where DC would be taught in context with real life experiences and examples not as a stand alone unit.
Another obvious issue in having renewed focus on DC initiatives is the cost for supports and PD and if other educators will have buy in for DC renewed initiatives for the classroom. Renewed DC initiatives in the classroom cannot be done without a full on system change within the Division, the schools and should be supported from the Provincial level in order to ensure full on support from all involved. There will be some resistance from teaching staff as most teachers are not always accepting of constant change. The rational of this renewed DC focus should be explicitly discussed with all staff members prior to DC being renewed focus in the classroom. This should of course help teaching staff members adjust to the renewed change due to being transparent of the renewed DC focus.
The Explanation of the Process
While researching for the renewed DC initiatives in the classroom setting with the support of the School Divisions and from the Ministry levels, I have reviewed and consulted with many resources to support the renewed initiatives to support DC in schools, within our Division and at the Provincial level. With the School Board’s permission, I requested that the School Board adapt their Regina Public Schools Digital Citizenship Policy and to promote the DC model on Division’s website as well as on all RPS websites. Through my leadership, I adapted the current policy from Regina Public Schools on what the responsible use of technology is and I adapted the digital citizenship agreement for students. I used resources from the DC Education in Saskatchewan guide by creating more resources for implementing the policy via info-graphics, images and videos on what it is to be a digital citizen. I requested that the DC policy be given to and signed by the Regina Public Schools students and families on a yearly basis. I have also requested to have PD, sub time to help organize a subgroup of Edtech teachers to support the DC policy renewal within Regina Public Schools. The time given would be to support the creation new initiatives to support teachers and students on Digital Citizenship when it comes to cell phone usage in and outside the classroom setting. I have invested in adapting the current digital citizenship model on what it means to be a digital citizen in regards to cell phone usage in the classroom, the school building and in the outside world by the creation of visual aids, audio and info-graphics that will be displayed in Regina Public Schools classrooms.
I would collaborate with fellow educators, community members such as parents, our administrators, our students, our superintendents from Regina Public Schools and Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Education. Being an educator it is important that teachers be included in the discussion of renewed DC in RPS schools. Their thoughts, input and feedback are crucial as educators will be the ones to use and promote DC renewal in the classroom setting. Therefore meaning and accessible PD and continued support would need to be accessible.
With renewed DC focus comes possible push-back from parents. Parents should to be consulted as this will impact their child in renewed DC policy. Accessible and easy online PD and supports will be should be available to continuously support parents as they work with the DC renewal with their child.
Students should be given feedback surveys to find what renewed DC initiatives and supports are needed to support them. DC renewal would also be adapted to fit the needs of learners in the elementary versus the high school setting.
Administrators should be given time for renewed training and focus on how to properly help implement and support DC in the school. This training and renewed PD will help to continuously support teachers, students and community members.
Superintendents should always be consulted with renewed DC initiatives for the reason they they must balance the costs for the School Division that will support teachers, students in the schools.
The Ministry of Education needs to be consulted on the renewed DC initiative for the reason that they are in charge of all schools, school divisions and students to support a smooth transition with the renewed DC initiative in the schools.
To renew to DC initiatives in schools, I believe that all stakeholders will benefit in the long run for the reason that this will support the community on Digital Citizenship not just in the schools but within our lives in a digital world. Furthermore this will continue to support the policy from the Ministry, the Regina Public Schools Division and Alliance levels.
Recently the province of Ontario made the decision to ban cell phones for the 2019-2020 school year in all classrooms. I feel that if my School division with the support of the Ministry renewed its focus on DC in the schools, that other provinces in Canada would follow this idea and initiative to support community members and students. Banning cell phones is not critically thinking about its great impacts that it will have on students, families and schools. To ban cell phones is not necessarily the right way of teaching students about being digital citizens. Banning cell phones from schools or classrooms is only a temporary solution as it is not teaching our students how to properly use their electronics. Educating students on how to be be digital citizens with their devices will teach the community on how to use technology resources in a responsible, safe and in an educational manner. Leaving a positive digital footprint, being prudent with identity and online self image and also at the same time respecting others are important values to instill in our communities.
The Engagement with the 4 Levels of Administration
The following are examples of what would be done to support renewed focus of Digital Citizenship in Regina Public Schools.
A Proposal to the Regina Public School Division
To the Director of Regina Public Schools: Greg Enion,
The Regina Public Schools Edtech teacher group is requesting more funding to support the renewed focus on DC in our schools and classrooms. After various group meetings and discussions on the renewed focus on DC, we feel that more professional development, webinars, lunch and learns teachings would be needed to support teachers in our Division’s classrooms. Furthermore, we are requesting that the Technology Use & Student Agreement be visible and updates on the School Division’s website and all RPS school websites. We ask the the agreement be given and signed by all students and families at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year. We ask that we are able to be given substitution time to promote more teacher training and support from the Media Smarts website that our Division has license to. Furthermore we ask for the School board to release funding for DC posters, awareness and infographics to be placed in all schools within our Division.
We thank-you for your continued support and guidance on this matter.
Chair of RPS EdTech teachers
Regina Public Schools Teachers
A Google survey would be given to all Regina Public School teachers with the permission of RPS superintendents and administrators. The survey would be made in conjunction with the support from administration and superintendents.
Here is the link for the first survey: Link to survey
The first survey would focus on teacher voice and needs in the classroom setting in order to fully support the renewed focus on DC in the classroom. After the results of the Google survey are gathered, the Ed-tech teacher team would review the requests needed to support students DC in the classroom.
An email would be sent out to all teaching staff members to help form a working group to support the renewed DC focus. The working group would work with ed-tech teachers and together would review options and supports needed to support both the teacher and the student in the classroom and school.
The results from these meetings and research would help form the final proposal to the School Board and to the Ministry of Education with approval from the school Division.
A Proposal to the Ministry of Saskatchewan to support the renewed focus of DC in Saskatchewan School Divisions
To the Honourable Gord Wyant,
The Regina Public School Division is wishing to have supports in place to support its renewed focus on Digital Citizenship in all Regina Public Schools. This request for this support has been thoroughly researched by teachers, a sub committee of ed-tech teachers, our School Division’s administration team and Superintendents. We have found from the research, that students and teachers require more supports in place and professional development to support the DC Education in Saskatchewan policy guide as well as the Ministry of Education Technology in Education Framework. In our Ministry framework it states expectations that “educators and administrators are fluent in using and applying technology to enrich and enhance student learning and their own learning and professional growth. To support this framework and expectation, Regina Public Schools is requesting funding in Professional Development to support its renewed focus on Digital Citizenship. This will ensure that all educators are fluent in enhancing technology that enhances student learning and at the same time promoting positive digital citizens.
Dr. Alec Couros a University of Regina Professor and one of the members of the writing team for the DC Education in Saskatchewan policy guide writing team will provide webinars, modules for the start of the 2019-2020 school year to support this initiative. The cost can be negotiated privately with Dr. Couros at a future date.
Furthermore, the Regina Public School Board is requesting time and funding to support RPS Ed-tech leader teachers to supports teachers within our school Division.
We look forward to working alongside the Ministry of Education to supports the Technology in Education Framework.
We look forward to a meeting with you.
Krista Gates – Chair of RPS EdTech teachers
Email / letter / DC Agreement form to parents & students
(Adapted from the RPS Document: Responsible Use of Technology / Digital Citizenship Agreement for Students form and letter 2017)
Dear parents and students of Regina Public Schools,
Regina Public Schools is strongly committed to our renewed focus on Digital Citizenship in our School Division. We believe it is vital to prepare, engage and inspire students to prosper in a digital world. Our School Division continues to be committed to attaining high levels of achievement and equitable opportunities for all students with the provision and effective use of technology.
Regina Public Schools has access to a variety of technology resources that will transform students learning inside and outside of the classroom.
Regina Public Schools cannot monitor every aspect of student technology use. The purpose of this Responsible Use of Technology / Digital Citizenship Agreement for Students form is to foster compliance with procedures and guidelines for appropriate online behaviours.
I,__________________________________________________________, agree to follow the responsible use conditions listed below:
-I will Respect and Protect Myself
-I will Respect and Protect Others
-I will Respect and Protect Intellectual Property
-I will Respect and Protect Property
-I will bring Personal Technology to the classroom for learning purposes
-I will use online software that is RPS approved in the school and in the classroom
The Digital Citizenship awareness campaign at my school. Check out the re-tweet from my School and School Division:
Video: What is Digital Citizenship
DC INFO-GRAPHICS FOR THE SCHOOL AND CLASSROOM
Questions to support renewed DC focus in the classroom. (Adaptations can be made for High School versus elementary students.) Questions adapted from: DC Education in Saskatchewan guide
1- What is Digital Citizenship?
2- What are digital citizenship skills?
3-How can I practice good digital citizenship skills?
4- What are the three core digital citizenship principles?
5-What are the 9 elements of Digital Citizenship?
6- What is a positive digital footprint?
7- What is a negative digital footprint?
8-What does netiquette mean?
9-What is cyber-bullying?
10-What is “modeling digital citizenship” look like on social media?
Students themselves will be at times the obstacles when they are disconnected from classroom learning and can become distracted with their cell phones. For example, they are sexting, sending inappropriate messages to classmates and bullying classmates. Students will also involved in risky behaviors by participating in cyber bullying, not protecting their social media accounts which can make them vulnerable to online predators. They will not protect their passwords where others could have access to personal information and they will also plagiarize others work without citing properly. They will continue to use digital platforms for photos but they could hopefully also use digital platforms for educational purposes. Furthermore there is the threat of the security of our students, time and support from fellow teaching staff members and students.
There will be resistors and they will most likely be in the form of teaching colleagues, parents, administrators our superintendents and from the Ministry of education who do not support the change and the costs associated with the proposed change. Not enough money for the renewed DC PD from the School Division and the Ministry to support teachers and staff will be an issue to overcome. Though with a strong research, supports in place and a detailed view of the costs to implement the renewed DC focus in the classrooms, this will hopefully set focus on the importance of renewed DC in the classroom. Since Regina Public Schools owns the license to Media Smarts, teachers would be able to use this resource to support the renewed focus on DC, which would technically offset some costs.
Furthermore there are side effects of time, of limited resources, of educational outcomes that at times may be contradictory. There is new and varied technology that is coming out daily at a rapid pace which may work differently for different learners in varied contexts. There are also policies from the School Division and the Ministry level that are being pushed out without proper PD for teachers and students. And in reality, not all classrooms in my school division are fully equipped to fit these new ways of teaching.
No matter what, when School Divisions or the Ministry make decisions about policies and procedures, the question must always be asked…what are the obstacles? There are always going to be obstacles from any decision that is made.
The Effects on the Stakeholders
Due to the recent budget cuts in our Education programming in Saskatchewan, there would be an impact on stakeholders. Less money would be available for other areas in the education fields. Less resources and money would be distributed to building maintenance in the school buildings, to student transportation, to staffing and to other required professional development for staff which in the end would impact communities, students and staff. I do not know for certain if the Ministry would create more funding to help offset the cost to develop a renewed DC agreement and professional development for educators and schools. And of course due to the budget cuts in education and due to the current state of Saskatchewan’s economy, there would be an impact on students and teachers. The question remains, would the Ministry allocate more money to DC training and resources as they stated in their document?
When I reviewed last year’s Regina Public School’s school budget to try to gather information and determine the costs for the renewed DC agreement and PD, I am hopeful that the School Board with the support from Ministry would be able to support this proposed change. Though a change like this could not take place over one year, it would of course be a gradual process while working with funding and the Education budget. The impact on the stakeholders would take place not just in one year, but for many years to follow. With this proposed change, buy in would be required from our stakeholders. The buy in would be in the form of meetings, discussions, feedback, surveys and work within the working group committees. The hope for this proposed change is that with open discussions and feedback from stakeholders that there would be less or little push-back against the proposed changes. Taxpayers would need to be given a detailed report of all costs associated with this change. From the STF ‘s standpoint on Social Justice, Inclusion and Equity, it is key to ensure the importance of renewed DC in Regina Public Schools to support our learners in a digital world. The School Board and School Trustees would need to be clear on their communication with open meetings, discussions and a chance to educate the public on the importance of renewed DC in the schools.
Reflection of my Leadership
The proposed change that I am initiating falls in line with my current leadership style that is linked with the Critical Theory. Our learners and teachers are not being supported in and outside the classroom in a fast changing digital world. I feel as though this is not equitable for our teachers and students, that by not supporting / advocating for the renewed DC focus is causing a disservice to our community members. We need to educate our community about the systemic inequities that surround us, our children and our colleagues in regards to DC. Of course these inequities are massive and are bigger than me and have been embedded in an unequal system, it is important to start from the bottom up with conversations, discussions in the community and in the schools to have some effect on change. As a leader, I am constantly dealing with how the school, the students, the community, the School Division, the Ministry interact. All these groups play an important part when it comes to the role of educational technology. The role I play as a leader have a huge impact on everyone that I work with and work alongside. It is my role to also question what is happening, what is not working and what we can do to support real change. As and educational leader I am reminded that it is important to be critical. Being non critical in my own leadership is also being an agent of the existing powers. I know that there are constraints that surround me like the education budget, though with discussions and input from fellow community members, stakeholders and school divisions, the change can begin to occur.
There are some leadership strategies that I would use to propose this change such as the charismatic, sustainable, participatory and democratic approaches. Change can happen when a leader is making the case for an important change to occur. The leader has to have made connections with staff and has made it clear via conversations and data that the change is necessary to support students in a digital age. The leader cannot do this alone as there must also be a system in place to ensure that the distribution of responsibilities are divided amongst others who truly support this change. Digital Citizenship was an important topic that seems to have faded. This why there must be sustainable leadership where the change is in clear view for a long time and in the far future to support our students. This democratic change would be from a collective force in order to ensure change. It is not about being a conformist but it’s about being informed and not not having tunnel vision about how our “education machine” truly does function.
Reflections of the Process
This major project has moved in many directions throughout the learning process. It was hard for me to downsize it due to its magnitude. I have reflected upon the idea that schools are being used as agents for the maintenance of existing unjust power structures in our society. Our school buildings are continuing to create factory model systems that are standing in the way of progressing Digital Citizenship. Our own Saskatchewan government who continues to slash funding for our schools, is a power system that sustains, protects and reproduces. It uses its own teachers and students as agents of evil where change does not happen for the better for our students and their education. I see the digital divide on a daily basis in my school building and within my School Division. I understand that yes there have been initiatives that have been put in place to support DC, though these mini initiatives have been “band-aids” that are not truly supporting teachers and students on the topic of digital citizenship. I had many conversations with fellow colleagues, and administrators. I contacted our former Technology consultant whose role was fazed out to seek the old documentation for DC and Administrative Procedures to see what is truly being done to support our teachers and students in a digital age. I discovered that although there are policies in place, they are not being enforced, used and protected in the school buildings. I was surprised to learn that one of our School Division’s key focus is to support Digital Citizenship, though the focus has shifted due to budgetary constraints. I began to ask students and teachers to define what a true digital citizen meant to them and I was surprised to see that some students were not able to clearly define DC nor did they understand its true meaning. I know from my own teaching and leadership experiences about the importance of implementing a renewed DC focus in the schools…..which would be a massive undertaking. Though with research and the groundwork, it is truly possible to make this change happen. I have witnessed the non existence of cell phones in the classroom, to BYOD and to schools in my own School Division banning cell phones in the school building. I saw frustration from colleagues, students and parents through all this process of changes. Frustrations of the digital divide with teachers allowing BYOD in their classroom while other teachers banning cell phones. Frustrations with parents / teachers being concerned that their child / student is consumed with their cell phone. Frustrations by students of why they cannot bring a cell phone to the classroom.
This project has truly open my own eyes and has popped my little “education bubble”. My position in my own leadership has taught me that change is possible when we become critical of what surrounds us. That change is necessary to support teachers, students and community members when they are not being truly supported. Our school systems are teaching our students to be conformists where we are teaching them to be uncritical of what they are truly learning. It is very important to teach our students to become critical learners, digital citizens in this fast paced digital world.
Thanks so much for checking out my Major project III! I look forward to checking out other classmates projects!