Don’t let fear hold back technology in schools – combine Scholaris with Tech Usage Policy
Earlier this year, Australian technology site Delimiter – “passionate about just two things: Technology and Australia,” published Improving technology’s grades in Australian education.
This thought provoking opinion piece makes some important points. Among them it highlighted the risks that are attached to the greater use of internet and communications technology in schools.
The article identified and drew together a number of issues that negatively impact the debate on the role of technology in education.
- The high frequency of negative technology stories that appear in the media on phenomena such as cyber bullying, pornography, harassment on Facebook and ‘sexting’.
- Technology is also identified as driving students to distraction; they have mobiles – some smartphones – and this allows a steady drip of text and email alerts to constantly drag their thoughts elsewhere.
- The over-arching idea of a generational divide that separates young people from older people, characterised by elements of youth culture such as music, gangs and video games.
What links these from the perspective of many adults is ‘fear’. Some adults – parents, teachers, policy makers – are fearful of exposing students to the anarchy of the wild, wild, web; fearful of invasive and pervasive technology; and fearful of what we do not understand, what we perceive as different.
We must turn fear to our advantage; we must work out how to successfully reap the benefits of technology in schools; it needs to be deployed intelligently, to work with the positive while working against the negative factors. In conjunction with a student technology usage policy Scholaris learning portal offers the opportunity to do just this.
Scholaris learning portal provides a secure learning environment that prevents the worst excesses of the internet from invading the learning space; secure logons prevent anonymous social media activity and allow the learning community to self-moderate the environment.
Policy rooted in community values is a pivotal element of deploying technology; most businesses ask employees to sign up to internet usage policies as a condition of employment; in schools an appropriate Tech Usage Policy could include a clause that states mobiles and smartphones should be switched off during lessons.
The distracting nature of communications technology and youth culture strongly demonstrates the desire for socialised activity among the younger generation. Socialised learning through Scholaris learning portal leverages this preference and enables learning to fit in with the way the younger generation like to do things.
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