VI. Social, Ethical, Legal, and Human Issues.

Teachers understand the social, ethical, legal, and human issues surrounding the use of technology in PK-12 schools and apply those principles in practice.



A. model and teach legal and ethical practice related to technology use.


With technology changing all the time, sometimes it is difficult to understand licensing and technology use policies. My own school requires all teachers and students to review and sign an agreement each school year before using the school computers. However this agreement is very short and does not outline many specifics. Over the years I have heard a number of policies explained to us that were not well outlined in the agreement that we sign. Therefore, I created a short Power Point Presentation on, "The Technology Policies We Need Now and Why." This Power Point Presentation outlined some lesser known policies or gray areas.


While gathering information for the workshop on using Web Design in the Classroom, I spoke with our school media specialists. They expressed a great deal of concern over how students use resources in their projects as well as copyright violations. Because of their concerns, I made a special point of encouraging participants to review proper citation practices with their students to ensure that all students are giving credit to the articles, journals and photographs used in their informative websites.  


When researching my blog, I also researched the possibility of using freeware and open source programs in schools. Many open source programs can be found on the internet and some are comparable to commercially available programs. For schools with tight budgets programs such as GIMP or GIMP Shop can be used in place of expensive programs such as Photoshop. However, as with any program, teachers should not install these without permission and should consult their ETs and district regarding the installation of software on school computers.

B. apply technology resources to enable and empower learners with diverse backgrounds, characteristics, and abilities.


When designing a multimedia project, it is not hard for students to find an area that they excel in. For example, when teachers who participated in the workshop on Web Design in the Classroom let their students work with the creative software packages, some students decided to draw their own pictures, create Photo Stories and some even employed color schemes to make their website look uniform. Almost every student who came to present their project said that they preferred working with the technology over doing the project with pencil and paper. Teachers who participated in the workshop also said that students who seemed to excel in using the programs were allowed to act as peer mentors and those who completed the project early were invited to go around the room and help others. This helped the students to collaborate and learn from one another.


Presenting information in more than one format also helps students learn. Instead of just lecturing about film or animation, teachers can use blogs and links to websites or video archives such as YouTube to teach lessons about film or animation and allow the students to access and watch important and historical films. After watching the videos students can discuss what they have seen or ask questions about what they have seen in an online discussion. Using asynchronous means of communication allows students to prepare and organize their thoughts as well as adequately back up their opinions with links to other information sites or resources. This allows for shy students to engage in classroom discussions without speaking in public.


By seeing primary resources such as old films, news reels or artwork created during a particular time period, students can gain more insight about how world events affected people and influenced their opinions. Social and ethical issues can also be explored and students can learn more about how points of view have changed over the years.

C. identify and use technology resources that affirm diversity.


Many computer programs come with a set of copyright free images that users can place in documents and use for their own purposes. These images are commonly referred to as "Clip art" and are used by students and teachers alike. Some clip art archives are better than others as far as compiling diverse images is concerned. Many student centered programs such as Inspiration and Kidspiration attempt to include images from different cultural backgrounds as can be seen in this scatter diagram on the flow of communication in Seoul American Elementary School between ten staff members.


However, if students are serious about looking for resources on diversity they can turn to online databases such as CultureGrams to find information, real photographs and resources on other cultures. Students, whose teachers participated in the workshop on Web Design in the Classroom, had the opportunity to explore a number of these online databases to gather information for their studies.

D. promote safe and healthy use of technology resources.


Students at our elementary school are educated about online dangers through the i-SAFE program. In addition, filters such as Blue Coat and Altiris Carbon Copy monitor network activity and websites that users visit. Other policies regarding student safety and acceptable use of technology resources are outlined in my Power Point Presentation: "The Technology Policies We Need Now and Why."


Our school also makes use of Gaggle to monitor student e-mails. The school website also includes an Intranet that is password protected to ensure that student information cannot be accessed by unauthorized users.


Teachers and students are also encouraged to abide by copyright regulations. Teachers are not allowed to install any unauthorized software on school computers. The media specialists work with teachers to help train students to properly cite sources used in papers and online projects. It is especially difficult to train the younger students to cite URLs (such as National rather than the search engine (Google). During the Web Design in the Classroom workshop, I asked the participants to make a special effort to ensure that the students cited all the sources they used, even if all they borrowed was a picture.

E. facilitate equitable access to technology resources for all students.


Technology resources can be very expensive. Staying up to date is difficult because changes are being made all the time. At our school, the Technology Committee helps make decisions about how new technology resources will be distributed and accounted for. Many technology resources have been placed in the media center so that all teachers have equal access. A computer lab located in the media center is available to teachers, but must be booked in advance through an Outlook Calendar. Because of limited quantities SMART Boards, Elmos and InFocus projectors can be checked out of the media center like any other piece of equipment. Each building also has one SMART Board assigned to it that teachers can pass from classroom to classroom. Unfortunately, because none of the SMART Boards are permanently mounted as described in my Concerns Based interview, this creates an undesirable set up situation in which teachers have to contend with wires and set up problems.


Sometimes special buys are made by the district for a specific department. A couple years ago, DoDDS Pacific made a technology purchase specifically for the art departments. This purchase also included minimal training for the teachers on some of the new equipment. Some of the details of the purchase and the need for additional training are outlined in my Staff Development Plan of DoDDS Pacific Art Educators. Special purchases such as this can aid a department in the integration of more technology in the classroom.


Each classroom in our school has a minimal number of computers that are placed in each classroom for student use. Many teachers incorporate these computers into their curriculums by allowing students to have access to the computers during centers time, or they divide up their students according to a weekly or daily schedule to ensure that all students have a chance to access the computers.


Standards quoted from ISTE NETS - NETS for Teachers.