Keeping students safe with proactive IT practices, guidelines
- By taking a proactive, aggressive approach to IT, schools can ensure students are safer and prevent mishaps like mismanagement, misconduct and device theft.
- Communicating expectations to students and staff is key, and all engaged in digital spaces should have a solid understanding of social etiquette and behavior as well as school guidelines related to privacy, bullying, language and what kinds of content is appropriate to post on social media.
- Keeping track of tech devices can be streamlined if schools use digital options instead of simple inventory; apps can track devices more accurately and allow for remote software, platform and firmware updates.
"Coupling device security and recovery strategies with educational programs can be transformational," Harold Reaves, the Global Manager for Absolute Safe Schools, writes in eSchoolNews. But schools and districts should actually view such a combination as standard, not something aspirational. All modern schools need concrete rules around tech device and internet use, even if digital initiatives are limited. And although guidelines vary depending on the needs of individual communities and districts, simple guidelines on etiquette, appropriate web use, and device management and tracking are essential.
Ed tech can increase student opportunities, and more schools than ever are making digital advances. As of 2009, the Institute of Education Sciences reported that 97% of teachers had one or more computer in the classroom in 2009, of which 93% could connect to the Internet.
With practices like sexting becoming more commonplace, schools need to make sure that they help protect students from lapses of judgment by explaining the potential ramifications. In some states, sexting can carry serious legal and criminal penalties. It also carries the possibility of a permanent place on the Department of Justice's national sex offender registry, and underage students can be charged with the distribution of child pornography for sending images of themselves.