It recently came to light that there are many things in my head that apparently aren’t in everyone else’s. I thought we were all on the same page.
A few weeks ago, a teacher shared with me that her team was using some great online tools with their students in grades 5-8. I inquired about the ages of the students and how the team of teachers informed parents that their children were creating accounts at these sites. Hmmm… that seems to have been something new for some of our teachers.
We’re set up in teams here in our schools. Most teams are made up of 4 teachers who work together and share students for a variety of topics. Students, parents, and teachers feel a sense of smaller community within our larger schools. For the past two years, while I’ve been in the role of Technology Integration Specialist, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a Technology Committee, made up of representatives from each team. This year we’re shaking things up and now we have technology faculty meetings- one for preK-2, one for 3-4, and one for grades 5-8.Things are going to change.
The lack of knowledge about the COPPA law and the need to get parent permission before getting underway with a project utilizing a web 2.0 tool- I blame that on committees. Our teachers, who aren’t unlike most of their peers globally, have a lot on their plates. They are on many committees, administering standardized tests, gathering and inputting data, and oh yes, teaching. That’s not even the whole of it. There’s definitely not time for them to report out within their teams about the meetings they’re all attending and what was discussed or agreed upon. The change this year to whole meetings will be positive and hopefully productive.
Last week we had a grade 5-8 tech faculty meeting. We used TodaysMeet to have 4 synchronous conversations around hot topics. (Teachers got a color dot upon arrival to designate which topic they would begin with.) Here’s what we came up with by the end of our hour:
- That everyone would inform and get permission from parents before having students create accounts elsewhere. We’d create a letter/permission slip for web 2.0 tools giving parents various options.
- That teachers and students would not just ‘get an image from Google’ . We’d create a common language and method to teach our students and model that behavior as a faculty.
- That a BIG focus would be on Digital Citizenship and helping our students become more responsible digital citizens by having teachers who are consistent role models.
I know that our government is taking a closer look at No Child Left Behind. Wouldn’t it also be time to take a look at COPPA and bring it up to date with today’s world? It was written well before we had so many great tools available to enhance learning.
It was an eye-opening faculty meeting and series of conversations for me. How do your schools work to stay in compliance with COPPA and copyright?