Unit 5 – Provincial Level: Aspects of Edtech Leadership
Educational Technology is still relatively new and the concepts surrounding the documents we were asked to read and review this week are still foreign to so many educators and administrators today. I have to say I am happy to read these documents as I was not aware these even existed! For the past few years I have been immersed in integrating technology into my classroom. I have been teaching my students Digital Citizenship lessons; however, I had no idea there was a framework created by the ministry that outlined the responsibilities of the ministry, school division, and advisory groups. I was also interested to read the outcomes and indicators presented in the framework. Why is it educators are not made aware of these documents?
As a teacher I have been interested to see when technology integrated outcomes would make their way into our curricular learning outcomes. This document suggests they are not too far away. I have often wanted to introduce my students to new learning opportunities and teach them some technological skills, such as coding, and I struggle to find where I can integrate it into our existing curriculum. I know best practice dictates a teacher is to look at outcomes and choose activities or learning opportunities to support those outcomes. However, there are times where learning opportunities arise and, as a teacher, I know my students would learn from these opportunities but they are not justified as they do not fit into the neat box that is our Curriculum. Teachers are encouraged to teach students 21st century skills, but even my Digital Citizenship program is grasping at fitting into the pre-existing curricular outcomes. How long do you think it will take until we see some of these edtech outcomes integrated into our current cross-curricular learning outcomes?
“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.”
The Digital Citizenship Policy Planning Document will serve as a terrific resource for my final assignment in this course. I am working on revamping the existing acceptable use policy outlined by my current school division to include more of a responsible use policy. The Digital Citizenship Policy Planning Document provides suggestions for not only how to teach digital citizenship to students in Kindergarten through grade 12, but also provides ideas for creating a digital citizenship policy, which differs from many existing Acceptable-Use Policies (AUPs). The differences between these two documents are outlined in the graphic provided on page 13.
It is my intent to provide a document where students are empowered to become digital leaders where they see opportunities to grow and develop their digital literacy and citizenship skills. We need to create an environment where our students take responsibilities for their actions and behaviours online and are held accountable for their actions. We are preparing our students for the real world and students need to understand they will not always have someone ‘policing’ their behaviours online, so they need to learn to be responsible and these habits can begin at school.
The final document we were asked to read was the STF Social Justice document. This document outlines the definitions and beliefs surrounding social justice, social inclusion, equity, and systemic barriers. When considering issues surround Edtech, we need to always consider the “Digital Divide” in that not all of our students have access to these technologies at home and therefore the expectation that all students will be able to work on technology-rooted assignments as homework, needs to be taken into consideration. Some of us are incredibly privileged and tend to take that for granted when we assume that all of our students can afford, have access, or have experience with these different technologies. Reflecting on this document, I believe it is important for educators to regularly check-in and consider some of the barriers our students and families may be facing and how we can advocate and provide opportunities to overcome these obstacles.
In creating a student Responsible-Use Policy I hope to not only empower students to be stronger digital citizens and leaders, but to also help them to be aware of the inequity that exists in our global technological world. In doing so, it is hoped students will be less likely to take their technological advancements for granted and treat it with respect. Being a digital citizen is more than just learning how to behave properly online, it is about acknowledging the opportunities is also allows you.