Sorting Out

We are in the midst of figuring out how to integrate technology into our school curriculum. It’s frustrating at times, and teachers are sometimes tempted to  give up.  I won’t bore you with the details, but assume that everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.

It’s no one’s fault.  I have to admit that I’ve played the blame game, and  don’t want to continue. Too often the game becomes an excuse for doing nothing, and I don’t want to get trapped into that.  Taking COETAIL class has helped me persevere,  and  to link up with like minded teachers and counselors.

NETS for Students:

Digital Citizenship is the area I am most concerned about as a school counselor.  For the past few years, we have done mini lessons in guidance classes for grades 4 and 5.  This year our principal asked us to start covering this topic in grade 3, and more extensively in grade 5 as we are piloting 1 to 1 in all 5 classes (2 classes with Mac Books, and 3 classes with iPads)

Grade 5 used Carnegie Cyber Academy from the first day of school, and the kids responded quite well.  This site is engaging and not too childish for 10 and 11 year olds.

What to do with grades 4 and 3 is up for discussion.  One thing for sure is I want to approach it differently this year, and encourage the kids to use higher order thinking.  Let’s not make posters anymore >.<   With Grade 4, I am thinking we should concentrate on learning about e-mail etiquette.  This seems to be the age many parents are thinking about giving them their own e-mail accounts.  At school, we set up e-mail accounts for all grade 5 students, with no plan of issuing them in grade 4.   What does research say about appropriate ages for kids having an e-mail account?

NETS for Teachers:

We are in the pilot year of a new professional growth and evaluation program, and NETS for teachers is included therein.  Though it has made some teachers edgy, I welcome the increased accountability.  We don’t have a choice about whether or not to integrate technology.  Not is not an option.

Counselors are charged with developing our own professional growth and evaluation protocol this year.  Our first meeting is set for mid-October, and I am determined to put NETS for teachers in our document.  Wish me luck!

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About Naho Kikuchi

Elementary school counselor at The American School in Japan. Living and working in West Tokyo since 1997. Forever trying to figure out how to balance work, family and time for myself.
This entry was posted in 21st Century School, COETAIL, Guidance Lessons, School Counseling. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Sorting Out

  1. Jean Hino says:

    Digital citizenship, emailing, texting and bullying. I know they are also issues at our school with some of those middle grades and they get sent to the counselors and administrators. I hope that as I teach my 2nd graders what is appropriate use of technology they will be less likely to abuse technology. I’ve used technology in the classroom, but this is the 1st year I am teaching about the use of technology.
    Last year I had several 2nd grade students create their own email accounts. I had 1 parent ask what the school policy is. We didn’t have one and said that if their child created an email account the parents should have access and that it is the parents’ responsibility to monitor it. I have my suspicions that most of the other parents weren’t checking or didn’t know. I have gotten several invites from people and I assume they are students to join some social networking groups. I usually just deleted the emails, but have come to realize that as elementary students they should not be on those sites as most of them have an age restriction of 13 and some 16. I’ve become very aware of the need to inform parents and students of what is appropriate. Yes, I want the students to be using technology even in 2nd grade, but the appropriate tools with the appropriate supervision. Parental awareness seems to be an area we are not always thinking about or working on providing the needed information.
    Good luck in getting NETS for Teachers in your documents. I’m working on getting an awareness of NETS for Students and Teachers among some of our faculty. Our Elementary division has said that we will integrate technology into 3 units in each class this year. Without any learning targets that can be a bit interesting. Teachers are willing to add the technology, but I think most are still looking at doing the old things in a new way.
    I think all of the members of Coetail are glad to have like-minded teachers/counselors to encourage and be encouraged by. Many of the members, find there is resistance at their school from some colleagues and/or administrators. Hang in there!

  2. Naho Kikuchi says:

    Hi Jean,
    Thank you for your comment. I totally agree about informing and empowering parents around these issues. I wrote about engaging parents in previous post after we run a workshop.
    What is your opinion about the appropriate age for kids to have e-mail accounts?

  3. Jean Hino says:

    Naho,
    That is a really good question. I know our school has started this year to provide email for 5th graders. Middle schoolers and high schoolers have had accounts. Last year I had several of my students in 2nd grade create their own email accounts. I had 1 parent contact me and ask what the school policy was. The principal said that it was up to the parents and their responsibility to monitor the email. I’m sure that parent did and continues to monitor their child’s email. I have my doubts about some of the other families monitor what their children are doing on the computer. I really can’t think of any reason a student would need a personal email before 5th grade. If they enjoy writing, then the parents should set up an email account that they also have access to. I think it is our responsibility in elementary school to teach appropriate use of technology and to provide opportunities for students to be using technology in and out of the classroom. I don’t think in elementary school we should be monitoring email accounts for students and I’m not sure why students would need an email account. What do you think?

    • Naho Kikuchi says:

      Jean,
      What I can’t get my head around is if students can do collaborative work without having e-mail accounts. For example, can they work on a wiki without having an e-mail account?
      I am doing a survey with grade 4 students about their technology use right now, and boy, there are some confused kids !!! I worry about introducing them to school e-mail accounts and their own personal computer all at once in grade 5. I think that’s too much. Why not introduce them to e-mails in grade 4, and really learn to navigate that first. Thoughts?

  4. Jean Hino says:

    Naho,
    I’m not sure about the wiki and collaborative work, but I was talking with our tech facilitator and one of the things we agree on is that by introducing these things(most anything tech related) earlier we can have conversations and teach the “proper” use. That doesn’t mean wikis need to be taught or used in early primary grades. She has been working with our 5th grade class on creating avatars for their wiki/blog. They were told “No google images, you need to go to Creative commons or draw your own.” Still students are asking “What if I print off the image and then your scan it?” Zoe at YIS has a blog post about her K students learning about copyright and understanding the concept. So maybe starting the emails in 4th grade, teaching proper etiquette and use will prevent some of the bullying that happens. It won’t prevent every abuse or misuse of the technology, but if we wait to teach proper use, and kids are already using the technology, they often have developed bad habits. We all know it is harder to break a bad habit than begin by developing good habits.
    We’re struggling with “how password protected” do our blogs need to be. Are the students safe if there are no passwords to view a blog? But if everything is “locked down” are we teaching the students how to be safe? Every time a child gets on the train by himself or walks to the park or store by herself there are predators. We teach kids what to do in the real world, so let’s teach them what to do on the internet. Passwords can actually give a false sense of security since there is often a “back door” into most sites.
    Just another thought to throw into this conversation.

  5. esartguy says:

    Digital Citizenship

    Digital citizenship is a big issue in this day and age. With so many children having near limitless access to the Internet and all the information it has, how are we, as teachers and parents working together to teach our students/kids properly use technology in this day and age? It is important to realize that the digital age is here to stay and limiting a child’s access to it is only hindering their ability to learn how to grow and function in today’s world. Proper education will go a long way to teaching helping students move forward.

    Each school will handle it differently, but it is important that we follow the NETS Standards for Students. This provides guidelines for each school to move forward. It also allows for enough flexibility that schools and parents can individualize their programs to their own specific needs.

    The thing to remember with all of this is that communication skills are key. All the participant groups will need to talk and listen to each other. Compromise will also need to be achieved if things are going to happen. A student’s future is heavily tied to the digital age. Learning to function safely and in an appropriate way will only help them.

    Digital Citizenship
    http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/

    NETS for Students
    http://www.iste.org/standards/nets-for-students/nets-student-standards-2007.aspx

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