Technology Integration is a four part series on essential questions, technology integration resources, web page design, and multimedia in projects. Sections contain relevant opening essays and resources.
Part 1: Essential Questions
Part 2: Technology Integration Resources
Tech Resources (Page 1): Best Practices for Teaching and Learning with Technology
Tech Resources (Page 2): Building Internet, Search and Citation Skills has subsections:
Tech Resources (Page 3):
Online Student and Computer Safety--a short essay on what you should know, including tips for an acceptable use policy
Tech Resources (Page 4): Grants, Other Funding, Grant Writing, and Free Resources
Part 3: Web Page Design
Part 4: Multimedia in Projects
Online Safety: Protect your students and their privacy, and your computers against hackers, viruses, and spyware/adware!
The list of security and online safety issues continues to grow from cyberbullying and online gangs to misuse of social networks and concerns about use of mobile devices in school. For example, "the widespread adoption of mobile technology has created new security concerns. There are concerns about privacy, access and authentication, viruses and hacking, device theft, and intellectual property protection, as well as cheating and plagiarism. IT leaders are challenged to confront the threats and vulnerabilities they face without merely blocking access to valuable new apps and services" ("Mobile Tech," 2012, p. 3).
Hence, keeping students safe online is essential. Nancy Willard (2009) suggested that an effective school-based strategy to address this issue of internet safety should have six components:
Educators will find valuable guidelines, including in relation to FERPA, in Protecting Student Privacy While Using Online Educational Services: Requirements and Best Practices from the Privacy Technical Assistance Center of the U.S. Department of Education (PTAC, 2014). The document addresses "privacy and security considerations relating to computer software, mobile applications (apps), and web-based tools provided by a third-party to a school or district that students and/or their parents access via the Internet and use as part of a school activity. Examples include online services that students use to access class readings, to view their learning progression, to watch video demonstrations, to comment on class activities, or to complete their homework" (pp. 1-2). PTAC includes a variety of resources "for education stakeholders to learn about data privacy, confidentiality, and security practices related to student-level longitudinal data" (p. 1).
Internet safety is so important that the Congress passed the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) in December 2000 to address concerns about children's access to inappropriate internet content when using school and library computers. Although the law has been challenged in the courts, as reported by Mary Minow (2002), online safety is important for all children and particularly important for students in their early teen years who are making the transition between the greater influence of their parents to that of their peers.
Students need to understand the importance of not giving out personal information of any kind to online strangers, including their passwords and photos. They need to understand that the rules of communicating face-to-face apply online; hence, cyber-bullying is wrong, as are cheating and plagiarism. Harmful words said face-to-face hurt and the memory might fade in time; however, words stated online can stay forever. While those words might be intended only for their peers, those same words might come back to haunt the students if read by parents, teachers, college officials, potential employers, or law enforcement agents, for example.
Andrew Wallace (2013) tackled the confusion that exists among those who are required to interpret CIPA and implement it. CIPA is actually comprised of three acts: the Child Internet Protection Act of 2000, the Neighborhood Child Internet Protection Act of 2001, and Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act of 2008, which collectively "spell out the requirements for school districts that wish to receive federal funds through the E-Rate program" (Basics section). Stating CIPA requirements in a nutshell:
School Districts must:
- Use a “technology protection measure” to block images that are: child pornography, obscene, or harmful to minors.
- Determine, with community input what content (visual or written) is inappropriate for minors.
- Adopt an Internet safety policy that applies to both students and staff.
- Teach students how interact on email, social networking sites, and in chat rooms.
- Deliver instruction with a focus on cyberbullying.
- Monitor in school use of the Internet. (Wallace, 2013, Quick Facts section)
"CIPA compliance is required for any school or library receiving E-rate funds for three of the four eligible service categories – Internet Access, Internal Connections, and Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections. Applicants for Telecommunications services only, are exempt" (E-Rate Central, n.d., Introduction to CIPA Compliance section, p. 1).
Students and anyone who uses email also should be cautious when opening email attachments. Attachments, particularly from individuals you do not know, might contain code that is harmful to the computer itself, and enable the computer to be invaded by hackers, viruses, and spyware.
In its findings, the National Center for Education Statistics reported that nearly all U.S. public schools in 2005 with Internet access used various technologies or procedures to control student access to inappropriate content. Leading the approaches were blocking and filtering software (99%), teachers or other staff monitored Internet access (96%), parents signed written contracts (79%), students signed written contracts (76%), monitoring software (67%), honor codes (53%), and school restrictions to its own intranet (46%). Leading methods to inform students and parents about approaches included via school policies or rules, newsletters, messages posted on the school web site, school bulletin boards, and pop-up messages when students log-on to computers or the Internet (Wells & Lewis, 2006).
Filtering enables you to control what sites users can or cannot access based on pre-determined criteria set at the administrator's level. Schools can prevent students from accessing sites with sexual, violent, gambling, and non-educational themes. But with so many sites out there, setting the filtering criteria so that relevant sites are not blocked and then maintaining the Web filter's site database can be a challenge. An ability to authenticate users and identify their activities on a network can be an important accountability feature, particularly for students who try to access blocked sites (Careless, 2007). Stephanie Olsen (2006) noted that students know how to create Web proxies, "to route Web traffic through an anonymous domain name or circumvent content-filters" (para. 6). However, Willard (2009) noted that students do not always have evil intentions when trying to access blocked sites. They might be just trying to access their social networking sites, which schools have been known to block.
Web filters can be software or hardware based and those of high value to schools are not necessarily cheap. A sophisticated feature to look for is one that "constantly records and rates new Web sites as they appear, then sends this data to your Web filter to keep it up to date" (Careless, 2007, p. 10). However, there are free web-filtering services. OpenDNS (DNS stands for Domain Name System) provides content filtering, phishing protection, domain blocking, adult site blocking, web proxy blocking, and a domain whitelisting feature. This latter gives the user final say in what is blocked. There's no hardware to buy, or software to install.
Parents and students need access to a school acceptable use policy (AUP) for technology. An effective AUP addresses two goals: "shielding students from harmful material and enabling access to beneficial internet resources" (Pierce, 2012, online p. 2). Such policies should be updated at least once per year.
Overall, there is no single blueprint for creating AUPs, but organizations such as Common Sense Media have developed guidelines and samples, and gathered numerous resources to assist developers. In its 1-to-1 Essentials program, Common Sense Media provided the following topics that developers may want to address:
In considering changes to existing policies, Nancy Caramanico (2011) suggested to address Web 2.0 (including student online posts), cell phones (including texting), devices that enable portable internet hot spots (e.g, MiFis), other mobile devices (e.g., personal laptops), social media and social networks, digital images (including use of student names), and outside of school use of technology.
To address social media, policy developers need to first define social media, as the term does not mean the same to all. Taking a tools perspective can be overwhelming. As Gaurav Mishra (2009) noted, "social media encompasses many different types of tools, and each tool has specific characteristics and a steep learning curve" (para. 2). Differences can been seen in social media tools such as "Blogging (WordPress), microblogging (Twitter), video-sharing (YouTube), photo-sharing (Flickr), podcasting (Blog Talk Radio), mapping (Google Maps), social networking (Facebook), social voting (Digg), social bookmarking (Delicious), lifestreaming (Friendfeed), wikis (Wikipedia), and virtual worlds (Second Life)" (para. 2). As tools come and go, policy makers can better justify its inclusion in the learning environment, if social media is viewed as tools and practices that focus on the 4C's: content, collaboration, community, and collective intelligence. Per Mishra, these constitute its value system:
If one views a social media definition in terms of Mishra's 4C's, then banning social media as a general policy is no longer an issue.
The AUP policy should also address technology devices that learners bring to school, which is commonly referred to as BYOD. J. Robinson (2013) noted that a clear definition of such devices, users, violations, and consequences to violations should be included, as well as disclaimers. The BYOD policy at Newton-Conover City Schools in North Carolina includes any devices capable of connecting to their wireless network. BYOD users include not just students, but anyone (employees and guests) who can connect to the wireless network. A BYOD policy should make it clear that the purpose of the wireless infrastructure is to support instruction. The policy should define when devices become a disruption and spell out offenses resulting in loss of wireless connectivity privileges. At Newton-Conover these latter include accessing web sites of a pornographic nature or with illegal content; cyber-bullying or harassment of other users, and engaging in activities of a malicious or illegal intent. The BYOD policy should include disclaimers, such as the district not being responsible for providing tech support for personal devices, and not being responsible for damage, theft, or loss of personal devices.
Educators are exploring ways to use mobile technologies in learning. As in higher education, we need mobile learning strategies at K-12 that support academic plans "emphasizing experiential learning, interdisciplinary research, creative expression, urban engagement and global opportunity" ("Mobile Tech", 2012, p. 2). According to the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and the FrameWorks Institute (2012), "Before steps are taken to impose limits on the use of social media and mobile technologies in schools, policymakers and educators need to consider the consequences for learning that such restrictions would produce" (p. 2). Further, "One of the most powerful reasons to permit the use of social media and mobile devices in the classroom is to provide an opportunity for students to learn about their use in a supervised environment that emphasizes the development of attitudes and skills that will help keep them safe outside of school" (p. 2).
Banning the use of social media and mobile technologies is not the answer for ensuring safety. Mobile devices have become an integral part of society and students' lives. Hence, as James Bosco (2013) noted, there are districts that "have altered the perspective on acceptable” use policies by framing them as “responsible” use policies. A “responsible use” approach is more than just a switch in terminology. It presents the student use policy in the form of what students should do rather than what they should not do" (p. 7).
For further reading and examples of AUPs, consider the following:
Get a promise from students to be LARK, and when they cross the line, ask them if what they did is LARK, that is Legal, Appropriate, Responsible, and Kind. It’s an acronym they most likely will remember, suggested by Pamela Livingston (2007, Aug. 2) in her Classroom 2.0 blog post on AUPs. The term has no copyright.
Parents, do you have concerns about cellphone use and your teens?
CellPhoneCity.com produced an infographic of interest to you: Parent's Guide to Teens and Mobile Use. It includes some fast facts on cellphone ownership and use, teens' attitudes toward cellphones, parenting rules and etiquette for cellphone use, info on e-learning with cellphones in classrooms, and some useful apps to control and monitor use and special apps for e-learning, visual and auditory learners. Classroom teachers will also benefit from this information. See the following apps:
Parental Control Board "is an online parental control service that allows you to easily monitor, track, manage and secure your children's mobile devices (phones and tablets)" (Site description).
Qustodio allows you to supervise your kids online. Control access to pornography, filter harmful websites, monitor calls, SMS, web activities, set time limits to manage online experiences, including social networking, each day without the drama; set time limits for games and apps. You can even track your child's location. K-12 Schools can also benefit from this app for online safety, device management, and usage supervision.
123elearning is a wiki for educators to help them better address cyberbullying with students. The site has videos, lessons, slideshows, rules for online safety, discussion, and additional resources.
bNetS@vvy contains tools for adults to help youth stay safe online. Categories include social networking, wireless devices, gaming, cyberbullying, safety, and privacy.
Cable in the Classroom has a Digital Citizenship series on Safety and Security, Digital Literacy, and Ethics and Community. There are also other resources, searchable by type, subject area and grade level.
Carnegie Cadets "is an interactive game designed for fourth and fifth graders that teaches Internet safety and computer security in a safe, fun setting. Created by Carnegie Mellon's Information Networking Institute and Carnegie Mellon CyLab, the game is a free download." Further, "Players join the Cyber Defense training program at the Carnegie Cyber Academy, where training missions teach different Internet topics. The missions cover fundamental skills such as how to spot spam, how to keep personal information private, and how to identify Web site traps, such as dangerous pop-up windows, forms that ask for personal information, and Web pages that show inappropriate content." (About the Game section)
Common Sense Media has free programs of interest to guide youth to become better digital citizens. The Parent Media Education Program addresses 21st century issues like cyberbullying, social networking, sexting, video games, and more. It can be used alone or in combination with the Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum. Materials are also available by grade band through high school. Digital Passport for grades 3-5 teaches learners about online issues, including cyberbullying, privacy, and respecting the creative work of others. Online videos and games help with this endeavor.
Connect Safely is for parents, teens, educators, advocates - everyone engaged in and interested in the impact of the social Web. Of high relevance is A Parent's Guide to Facebook, which helps understand what Facebook is and how to use it safely.
Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) maintains a section of its website devoted to Focus Areas. Included in the focus area for IT-management is Smart Education Networks by Design (SEND). At CoSN you can also download the Protecting Student Privacy in Connected Learning toolkit, a "step-by-step guide to navigating the complexity of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and related privacy issues. The toolkit is organized in the form of a decision tree, or flowchart, and addresses FERPA and COPPA compliance issues as well as smart suggested practices that reach beyond compliance. Also included in the toolkit are definitions, checklists, examples, and key questions to ask."
Cyberbullying Research Center "is dedicated to providing up-to-date information about the nature, extent, causes, and consequences of cyberbullying among adolescents. ... [It] serves as a clearinghouse of information concerning the ways adolescents use and misuse technology. It is intended to be a resource for parents, educators, law enforcement officers, counselors, and others who work with youth. Here you will find facts, figures, and detailed stories from those who have been directly impacted by online aggression. In addition, the site includes numerous resources to help you prevent and respond to cyberbullying incidents" (About Us section).
Digizen.org from Childnet International (London, UK) has an entire section devoted to cyberbullying. You will find advice and guidance for schools on preventing and responding to cyberbullying, including an overview of how cyberbullying is different than other forms of bullying, and a special film for young people showing the impact of cyberbullying. The film is a good resource for use in the classroom. Resources and advice for using social networking services with young people is also featured at the site.
Family Online Safety Institute has resources for good digital parenting, and a section for policy and research. You can search by age ranges, category, and digital type.
Internet Child Safety and Child Internet Protection from helpwithpcs.com addresses internet child safety, child security in chat rooms, websites with unsuitable images, spam email with unsuitable images, and provides suggestions for internet security and email filter software.
iKeepSafe.org resources "teach children of all ages in a fun, age-appropriate way, the basic rules of Internet safety, ethics, and the healthy use of connected technologies" (About Us Mission and Vision section).
InCtrl brought to you from Cable Impacts, is "a series of free standards-based lessons, originally developed by Cable in the Classroom, that teach key digital citizenship concepts. These lessons, for students in grades 4-8, are designed to engage students through inquiry-based activities, and collaborative and creative opportunities" (Site description). Lesson topics include Communication and Collaboration, Digital Citizenship, Privacy, Media Literacy, Cyberbullying, Ethics/Copyright, and Information Literacy.
i-SAFE America provides age-appropriate K-12 curriculum to schools in all 50 states free of charge. For example, students can learn about cyber citizenship, personal safety, cyber security, intellectual property, cyber bullying, and predator identification. There is also a professional development program for educators, law enforcement personnel, parents, and community members.
The NetSmartz Workshop® is an interactive, educational safety resource from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® and Boys & Girls Clubs of America for children (ages 5-17), parents, guardians, educators, and law enforcement. Teach children how to stay safer on the Internet with this workshop's age-appropriate, 3-D activities.
OnGuardOnline.gov provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry on preventing Internet fraud, securing your computer, and protecting your information. Their free booklet, Net Cetera: Chatting with Kids About Being Online, provides adults with tips to help children and teens navigate the online world. Topics such as social networking, sexting, cyberbullying, communicating online and phishing, appropriate use of mobile phones and texting, file sharing, parental controls, protecting your privacy, and more are included.
Our Space is a set of free "curricular materials designed to encourage high school students to reflect on the ethical dimensions of their participation in new media environments. Through role-playing activities and reflective exercises, students are asked to consider the ethical responsibilities of other people, and whether and how they behave ethically themselves online. These issues are raised in relation to five core themes that are highly relevant online: identity, privacy, authorship and ownership, credibility, and participation." These materials were developed via a collaboration of the GoodPlay Project of Harvard Graduate School of Education and Project New Media Literacies of the University of Southern California.
HOT!: Planet Nutshell: NetSafe is a series of 18 video episodes on internet safety presented in an engaging cartoon format. Episodes 1-14 are designed for learners in K-12; episodes 15-18 delve into tips and tools for parents, mobile devices in distracted driving, use of public wi-fi, and mobile location privacy. You can also download transcripts.
Stay Safe Online, sponsored by the National Cyber Security Alliance, contains the information you need to secure your home or small business computer. You'll find tips on how to safeguard your system (e.g., disconnect from the Internet when not in use), a self-guided cyber security test, beginner's guides to online security, and other Internet security resources.
StopBullying.gov provides "information from various government agencies on how kids, teens, young adults, parents, educators and others in the community can prevent or stop bullying" (About Us section). Cyberbullying is also addressed.
Technology & Learning eBook: Keeping Students Safe Online Securing the Learning Environment Addressing the Challenges of Internet Assisted Learning.
Think Before You Link is a free online course produced by Discovery Education and Intel Security. It's designed to teach learners in grades 3-8 about cybersecurity, cybersafety, and cyberethics. Educators will appreciate the interactive curriculum resources and guides. There are interactive lessons for parents, too, with real-world scenarios. Each module should take about 45 minutes to complete.
Utah Education Network K-12 Student Center features a comprehensive selection of student interactives categorized by technology topics addressing keyboarding skills, internet safety, real life stories, and hardware/software for gradebands 3-6 and 7-12.
WiredSafety.org provides numerous categories addressing online safety and education: privacy, safety, security, law/cybercrime, cyberbullying, child protection, cyberstalking/harassment, the wired campus, distracted driving, and sexting/sextortion. It also provides resources for various age and user groups.
ConnectSafely "is a Silicon Valley, Calif.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to educating users of connected technology about safety, privacy and security. Here you’ll find research-based safety tips, parents’ guidebooks, advice, news and commentary on all aspects of tech use and policy" (About Us section). Highly recommended. The site also includes a media library with videos, talks, and presentations.
Gaggle provides safe online learning tools specifically created for K-12: email, a human monitoring service, GaggleTube (for safe videos), web hosting and design, assignment drop boxes, blogs, instant messaging, digital lockers, class pages, calendar, safe texting, markup for feedback on assignments, discussion boards, social learning, mobile apps. "Gaggle features built-in processes and classroom workflows designed to promote educator and student productivity. Teachers can easily create, assign, collect and correct assignments on their schedule, while promoting student engagement and embracing the benefits of social networking in a safe and controlled environment" (Overview section). Among resources is a Content Library. A Buyer's Guide: Teaching and Learning Platform Safety Checklist (2013, October) contained the following key safety criteria for selecting the safest platform for your school:
Kaspersky is award-winning antivirus software. Various options are available for the level of security you desire. At the highest level, per its description, Kaspersky's Total Security package provides "security against the latest online threats. Safeguard your money, privacy, identity and data with our ultimate level of protection, including Password Manager, Private Browsing and free online backup." It also protects mobile devices.
KeePass is "a free open source password manager, which helps you to manage your passwords in a secure way. You can put all your passwords in one database, which is locked with one master key or a key file. So you only have to remember one single master password or select the key file to unlock the whole database. The databases are encrypted" for security (What is KeePass? section).
How Firewalls Work by Jeff Tyson, posted at HowStuffWorks.
In Free and Low Cost Software to Make Computing Easier Miquel Guhlin (2005), a Texas school district instructional technology services director, suggests software and provides advice on compressing multiple files for transfer as an email attachment, setting up your own Web server, FTP server, and Email (SMTP) server; protection from spyware/adware/viruses; and selecting alternative browsers to Internet Explorer; and ensuring that your email is private, not public.
Symantic Encryption offerings include endpoint encryption, email encryption; file, folder, and cloud encryption.
Bosco, J. (2013). Rethinking acceptable use policies in to enable digital learning: A guide for school districts. Washington, DC: Consortium for School Networking. Retrieved from http://www.cosn.org/ParticipatoryLearning
Caramanico, N. (2011). Brush up your AUP. Tech & Learning, 31(11), 52-54.
Careless, J. (2007, April). The filtering challenge. Technology & Learning, 27(9), 8-10. Retrieved from http://www.techlearning.com/product-guide/0071/the-filtering-challenge/44259
Consortium for School Networking and FrameWorks Institute (2012). Making progress: Rethinking state and school district policies concerning mobile technologies and social media. Retrieved from http://www.cosn.org/participatory-learning-schools-leadership-and-policy-0
E-Rate Central (n.d.). Internet safety policies and CIPA: An e-rate primer for schools and libraries. Retrieved from http://e-ratecentral.com/CIPA/default.asp
Guhlin, M. (2005, March 1). Free and low cost software to make computing easier [Online]. TechLearning Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.techlearning.com/article/3620
Minow, M. (2002). The Children's Internet Protection Act: The recent district court decision in context, for librarians and library patrons. Law Library Resource Xchange, LLC. Retrieved from http://www.llrx.com/features/cipa.htm
Mishra, G. (2009, May 11). Digital activism & the 4Cs social media framework [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/2009/05/11/digital-activism-the-4cs-social-media-framework/
"Mobile Tech Transforms Higher Education: 5 Key Trends to Watch" (2012). Retrieved from http://www.lenovoeducause.com/resources/
Olsen, S. (2006, April 19). Kids outsmart web filters. CNET News. Retrieved from http://news.com.com/Kids+outsmart+Web+filters/2009-1041_3-6062548.html
Pierce, M. (2012, March 2). Student safety in the age of facebook. T.H.E. Journal. Retrieved from http://thejournal.com/Articles/2012/03/02/online-safety.aspx
Privacy Technical Assistance Center (2014, February 25). Protecting student privacy while using online educational services: Requirements and best practices. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from http://ptac.ed.gov/
Robinson, J. (2013, February 19). From the principal's office: Ideas for establishing & revising your school or district's BYOD policies [TL Advisor Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.techlearning.com/default.aspx?tabid=67&entryid=5463
Scrogan, L. (2007, August/September). AUPs in a Web 2.0 world. EdTech magazine. Retrieved from http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2007/07/aups-in-a-web-20-world
Wallace, A. (2013, October 25). CIPA: 10 years later, there is still confusion. TechLearning Magazine: Features. Retrieved from http://www.techlearning.com/features/0039/cipa-10-years-later-there-is-still-confusion/54343
Wells, J., & Lewis, L. (2006, November). Internet access in U.S. public schools and classrooms: 1994-2005 (NCES 2007020). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2007020
Willard, N. (2009). A web 2.0 approach to internet safety. Education World. Retrieved from http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/columnists/willard/willard008.shtml
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