Results of the Grade Seven Mindful Use of Technology Presentation

Last week I gave a presentation to the Grade Seven class about Netiquette and appropriate use of the iPad (and other technology).

Here is the presentation:

 

Click here for the presentation

NOTE: The slides don’t give a lot a way, as I don’t believe in reading off slides. If you want to peruse my notes, you can download them here: Grade Seven Social Media Presentation Notes

How did it go?

The students responded well to the presentation. They were extremely engaged and eager to contribute with their stories and examples, sometimes relevant, sometimes not so much (cough, cough.) As people who teach Grade sevens girls may know, they tend to be Chatty Kathies.

Still, having the problem of too engaged students is infinitely more desirable than the opposite. In fact, the discussion went on so long we needed a whole other period to finish up our contract. Thanks to Ms. Jackson and Ms. Allison for letting me take over their class for two whole periods.

Some Interesting Points

Teacher Use of Tech

As the goal was to create a contract which both the students and the class will sign, the conversation also covered the ways teachers are using technology. What became very evident is that the STUDENTS ARE WATCHING US. And though it might not seem like it, they are looking to us for models on how to behave. Our online use is just one of the laces where they are surreptitiously looking for guidance. The told stories of teachers (mostly in elementary school- so no fretting please. We are not talking about you, specifically) who would give a math test then proceed to play on her computer without turning down the noise. With the result that the quiet of the classroom was interrupted by the little beeps and keyboard clicks and email alarm sounds. Or of a teacher who would give her students reading time and then proceed to do her online banking. A lot of examples of teachers going on their facebook during class time abounded. I think these stories tell us that it is time for us to practice what we preach. Though it is not always possible as a lot of our work is on the computer, it is important to remind ourselves to be mindful about our use of tech in the classroom.

Versed on the Negative but not the Positive

I also found that many of the students knew a lot about the dangers lurking in cyberspace- internet predators, cyber-bullying, unsafe behaviours. But they had not thought much about the ways in which a well-managed online identity could benefit them.  As we all are pretty much in agreement that social media is here to stay (barring a zombie apocalypse of course), I think it is important to stop the less than effective scare-the-pants-off-them strategy (akin to the abstinence-is-the-only-kind-of-sex-ed-kids-need school of thought) and focus more on how developing a positive and safe online identity can be a good thing.

Constant Vigilance!

As Professor Moody says, we need to practice constant vigilance in terms of reinforcing the behaviours we expect from our students. If the iPads are not needed for a particular lesson, begin right off the bat with what I like to call the “wands away” rule. Ipads away please. If they do not listen, then behaviour marks are issued. Every year we have a few weeks where we need to reinforce proper attire with this method. I think iPad behaviour must be subject to the same scrutiny. After a while the students know to put it away.

Balance, Balance, Balance and Personal Responsibility

When I asked the students what teachers could do differently in the classroom as regards technology, a student answered,”give more paper worksheets.” Surprised, I asked her why. She said it was because the iPad is too tempting for her- that she found it hard not to resist playing games, etc. She thought if she could go back to having paper worksheets this would solve the problem.

I thought this was a good opportunity to remind them of their personal responsibility when it comes to their own behaviour. Aside from the fact that the iPad allows us to function with way less paper changing hands than before thus having a positive environmental impact, the technology was here to stay. There is no going back.

I also mentioned how our social media policy at Traf is very liberal as we believe in fostering personal responsibility and self-management in our students. To do that, they need to really look at their behaviour and challenge themselves to do better. Yes, the iPad can be a very big distraction, just like the book I tucked into my math textbook for pretty much my whole primary and secondary career was for me. the teacher can only catch so much of it- it is up to the student to be aware of their own behaviour and strive to change any bad habits.

THE GRADE SEVEN MINDFUL USE OF TECHNOLOGY CONTRACT

In conclusion, here is the contract the Grade Seven class came up with on their own (okay, with a little bit of prodding, but not as much as you would think). As you will be called upon to sign this as well, I would love to have your feedback.

GRADE 7 MINDFUL USE OF TECHNOLOGY CONTRACT

CARDINAL RULES:

  • I will treat people online and offline the way I want people to treat me.
  • I will not be a jerk.
  • I will put my best foot forward.


BE AWARE

  • I will always THINK before pressing send.
  • I will be aware of other people’s feelings.
  • I will always be careful about posting information about where I live or where I go.
  • I will always put my settings on private.
  • I will never talk to strangers online. I will also not send pictures of myself to strangers.
  • I will only friend the people I know.
  • I will always have a strong, secure, password. Not something that people can guess.
  • I will always DOUBLE CHECK to make sure I am sending my email to the intended person!
  • I will be aware of the “noise” of my device (playing music, youtubes, etc. in public places without earphones) and do my best to keep it to a minimum.


BE RESPECTFUL

  • I will not play on my iPad when other students or teachers are talking.
  • Teachers- I will not use the internet for personal things during class. (ONline banking, facebook, shopping, etc.)
  • I will only use my iPad when the situation requires it.
  • I will give my full attention to someone when they are talking to me (I will put my device away)
  • I will represent myself and my school with respect.
  • I will stay focused in class and not get distracted by social media (eg. Facebook) or games.
  • I will never record or take a photo of teachers or my fellow students without their permission.
  • I will never say something online that I wouldn’t say in person.
  • I will not be rude or mean to other people.
  • I will not use social media to hurt or offend others.
  • I will not send an email, text or instant message when I am angry.
  • If I am not sure if my email/text/instant message may offend people, I will read it to a friend or parent first and ask their opinion.
  • I will not hack into other people’s accounts, change their statuses, or post under their names, even if it’s only a joke.
  • I will never copy and paste information from the internet directly into my project.
  • If someone asks me to take down a post or a picture that concerns them, I will take it down.
  • I will respect myself by not posting provocative pictures online.

BE HEALTHY

  • I will take time to get away from the internet and be active (go outside and socialize face to face with my friends and family).
  • I will make sure to take a break from my computer (I will get up and move around).
  • I will remember that sitting and looking at a computer screen for long amounts of time is really bad for myhealth.
  • I will turn off my iPad at recess and lunch (unless I need it for for homework)
  • I will remember to talk to my friends!
  • I will prioritize the living person beside me and log off facetime.
  • I will set a time to turn off all my devices before bed.
  • I will agree with my friends to stop texting, instant messaging, facetiming, etc. after a certain hour at night.
  • I will never, EVER sleep with my phone under my pillow.

Questions? Comments? Rants?

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