Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Issues arising from Draft #2 and beyond...

I hope those of you that are keeping tabs on the Student Internet Use Policy are going to let me know what you think of it all. By no means do I assume to have all the right answers or have it all worded correctly. I seek advice all the time and encourage you to give opinions. I want you all to know that this is just a beginning and is not the final word in terms of editing the policy. I know there are some issues.....such as the students who want to take their own initiative and do research or learn something on their own (weird! haha) but I would enjoy some help in those matters of wording or suggestions on how to modify it!!

I also know that some of you believe this policy to be restrictive and well I know it is not exactly what we (as tech supporters or "tech jocks") are trying to promote (not restriction), but please help me to find a more meaningful way to show the students how these things are inappropriate for school use (looking up or posting pictures from the weekend party on Facebook - which is what they are doing!). I am not sure that at this point in beginning to promote instead of restricting, that the students (at least in my school) fully understand and care about the responsibility of it all. I have had many of conversations with students in my school about these things, and every time I do, I hear the same things - "what's the big deal?", "ya so?", "I'm not doing anything wrong", "It's not that bad", and the list goes on. Of course when they say "It's not that bad", is when I am telling them to log out of computer at noon hour when they are playing a game where they are holding a gun in the middle of the screen and are shooting at another human being (character) on a computer game. My typical response in this situation is "Do what you do at home, but at school it is inappropriate". Once I say that to the student and give them a little explanation , I typically notice that student realizing the point of it all and they say "ya I get it" or "ya I know" and I have no more issues....but it took me taking action for them to realize it!

They are not "there" (meaning at the point of pre-understanding, before I have to tell them), yet. They are not quite understanding (or at least displaying any knowledge) as to why it is inappropriate looking up specific 'bad' items, playing violent games, etc. at school until they are given trouble from a teacher. This is my teachable moment and I have ones similar to this everyday! I take these opportunities to talk to that student about what, why and how things can be resolved, how it should be dealt with in the future, etc.

In the last 2 school days I have caught 2 different students on Facebook. Facebook is one of the only websites that is actually blocked and they are on it. As many times as I have told them that it is blocked (oh they knew believe me), and why it is inappropriate to be on it at school (especially since it is blocked, but also in general), the students still seem to be on it - looking up pictures of them all drinking at a party on the weekend I might add. They instantly knew they were not supposed to be on there, and as soon as I walked in the room, they tried to exit out of the website - of course me being the savvy smart lady I am, I knew they were up to no good and happened to see the picture of them drinking as they were minimizing their Internet explorer. They knew it was wrong and I told them to log out of the computer (and following the policy, told them that they were to have their computer privileges removed for 1 full school day). No arguing came from this student. Surprised? I'm not. I should hope they know by now that if a website is blocked, and they are on it, that the consequences could be much much more severe.

I hate restrictions. In my own life, restrictions frustrate me to no end. I am a free-spirit, a creative mind, an easy-going individual. I do not want to impose restrictions, but the fact that the student I caught looking up pictures of them drinking on Facebook, had a student who was under the age of 10 sitting nearby, I am left with the understanding that the student looking up them drinking did not care if the younger student saw it. Is that an influence we need? Are they not exposed to it enough? Do they need to see that at school - where it is supposed to be a safe haven for them to learn and be themselves? Without some supervision while on computers (while on these websites), and without the guidance of the teacher, I have only seen students use this type of website for school inappropriate reasons.

UGH! Am I doing anything right? Am I on the right track? How can I help them to see the better side/responsible side of the Internet tools? How can I be less restrictive but still hold some ground? UGH!!