Does your school allow technology in the classroom? Here’s what you need to know.

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The ins and outs of using technology devices at school. For more information on how to keep kids safe online, visit www.digitalcitizenacademy.org

When we went to school, there was no such thing as social media. In fact, it’s safe to say that when we were in school, the idea of even bringing cell phones onto school grounds was not allowed.

Well, times have certainly changed.

Now, not only are some schools allowing children to bring in their technology devices, they are actually encouraging it and it is a part of school policy.The ins and outs of using technology devices at school. For more information on how to keep kids safe online, visit www.digitalcitizenacademy.org

Do you know what your school policy for bringing in devices and using them is?

School protocol varies across the board, so it’s important that you take time to read the school’s policy on devices. Nearly 100 percent of schools have some sort of policy, but often times they’ve copied and pasted it from an out-of-date policy and haven’t taken into account how usage of technology has expanded from even a few years ago.

When you’re looking at your school’s policy, be sure to check if they have certain checks in place.

For example, does the school address cyberbullying or social media use? If they don’t, take the time to suggest it to your principal.

Why should schools allow devices

I’m not against allowing children to bring their devices to school … so long as it serves a purpose.

I’ve seen principals and superintendents who understand how technology benefits education. For example, Twitter is an excellent way for teens to connect to people around the world, whether they are journalists or experts, and have real-time conversations with them.

Many schools use Google Classroom; it’s one of the biggest platforms around and allows teachers and students to connect, stay organized and learn more. The learning management system is free and it’s a fantastic tool — and reason for kids to have their devices in school — but only when used at the appropriate times for the right reasons.

When it comes down to it, the problem with having devices at school is because students aren’t always given the boundaries to use it properly.

Schools need to take the time to learn the benefits, but also the dangers of being online without guidance.

If your school allows its students to bring devices, be sure to implement a monitoring app so you can turn off programs during school hours and ensure your child isn’t abusing the system.

When kids have technology in their hands, they lose 40 percent of their attention in an academic setting, so a monitoring app is key to make sure they’re paying attention.

4 tips for schools that allow devices

  • Suggest the concept of the cell phone parking lot. When students aren’t using their phones, have them place them somewhere they can’t access them during classes. A simple shoe pocket panel works or large basket, anywhere so they don’t have the devices on them at all times.
  • Take the time to offer professional development for teachers. It’s important that staff understands the good, the bad and ugly of what can happen online. If schools are allowing technology but not educating the teachers on its appropriate use and safety measures, or even what the kids are likely doing online, it’s a recipe for disaster.
  • Get students, parents and teachers on the same page when it comes to a monitoring program that allows teachers to share reports so parents understand how much time is being spent online during classroom hours.
  • Make sure parents are using a monitoring app. A challenge schools face is that students often use a VPN which bypasses the school’s server and cannot be monitored. A monitoring app can block the installation of a VPN.

Tips for parents whose children use technology at school

  • Encourage your kids to form positive social groups that encourage each other to make good choices online.
  • Get your kids involved in positive causes. I like JustStand.org, it empowers a more healthy lifestyle and discusses things like mental focus.
  • Find student-led social change programs and websites that allow kids to get behind a non-profit or charity or support online protests.

Are you a school or teacher? Learn more about how to keep students safe online today.

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