CIS:Smart, Safe and Responsible Use of Technology
CIS follows the Alberta Learning Guide and the Learning and Technology Policy Framework. According to this framework, the use of technology in schools is encouraged to support students to become engaged thinkers and ethical citizens, with an entrepreneurial spirit. However, it is crucial that technology is used responsibly and consciously. In order to help students’ build this consciousness and sense of responsibility when using Electronic Communication Devices (ECD) and to protect students’ health and well-being, students adhere to the CIS ECD Policy and Procedures.
Responsible Use of Technology
CIS encourages students to use electronic communication devices to enhance learning and support the building of core competencies. However, using ECD at CIS is a privilege, and like all privileges, rules must apply so that results can be achieved. At CIS, our teachers are trained to keep up with the future of technology and change our old mindsets into an open one towards innovation.
Technology will never replace great teachers, but in the hands of great teachers, it’s transformational.
– George Couros
From PreK2 to Grade 12, students are only allowed to use technology if they follow the rules. Simply put, students are allowed to bring personal electronic communication devices such as tablets, iPads, laptops, smart watches or smart phones ONLY if it’s for academic communication or other relevant purposes.
When using technology for academic purposes, the learning outcomes must be explicitly announced by the teacher/s and must include relevant learning-based activities, examples of which range from internet-based research, email, image search, translation or other clear and teacher-directed uses. If there is no clear purpose, students’ electronic communication devices will be handed to the teacher once students enter the classroom.
Timing also matters. As role models to younger students, secondary students are allowed to use cell phones for personal purposes at designated times, in designated places. Personal usage during any other school time period (including time between classes) is not allowed and requires explicit permission from the teachers. Regulation is key here, and if rules are not followed, there are clear consequences.
Now, you may be wondering, why not just ban ECD? Everyone else seems to be doing it! Well, in the wise words of John Dewey, ““If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.” In this day and age of rapid technological change, technology can improve our quality of life. If we put a blanket ban on technology, we will not give our students the ability to learn about our new world and improve how it works. Technology provides us with a wealth of data and insight.
However, technology can also be distracting at times, which demands of us that we must be more responsible in our management and use of technology.
Guiding CIS Students to Use ECD Appropriately
This year, CIS students and parents have all read and signed the ECD policy.
CIS has clear structures and frameworks so that all technology users at CIS can develop a healthy and safe relationship with technology.
Moreover, CIS is keen to promote healthy living and an active lifestyle, even with technology surrounding us. One way that CIS does this is through our Intramurals Program. At CIS, lunch times are now extended to one hour for Middle and High School students. The purpose of our Intramurals Program is to further develop our athletics program by running a structured opportunity to practice game and movement, and develop sports skills in a fun, safe and inclusive environment. Intramurals will be linked to athletics; for example, we will start with HS volleyball and MS soccer as those are sports that we play in season one. Different intramurals will be offered throughout the year. Intramurals are fun, inclusive and for everyone, and they will get everyone off their phones too!
Top Tips and Conversation Starters to Encourage Responsible Use of Technology.
CIS spoke to our very own Vice Principal of Secondary and STEAM Lead, Mr. Ted Barks, as to how we can all be responsible technology users at CIS. Here are Mr. Barks’ 5 tips!
Technology is a part of all our lives, and it’s here to stay! We must recognize that having technology at school is a privilege. That means sticking to the rules you set up for its use. Remember, rules are there to help you, not hinder you!
Be careful how you use technology, and always use it with purpose. Teachers are here to guide you with this, and respecting its purpose is vital! At CIS, we use technology to learn. If it is not for learning, or if it hurts or embarrasses others, avoid it.
Technology can be excellent for building relationships, making connections and fostering a sense of community at CIS. But as a responsible user, we must know when and how to use it, and these include managing online friendships and setting boundaries. Ask teachers and parents for help if you are not sure.
What we practice at school should also be practiced at home. If there are rules at CIS for use of technology, then these rules should be followed at home too. CIS urges parents to also monitor their child’s online activities at home just as we do here at school, and to have important discussions with them if you think that boundaries are being crossed. We are partners in your child’s education.
CIS demonstrates trust, communicates concerns openly and agrees on boundaries with all our students so as to create a healthy and safe relationship with technology. We feel that this is the best way to ensure a satisfactory balance between independence and school rules. CIS expects that parents also do the same. Simply put, it is not practical to expect everyone to simply avoid using technology as it’s here to stay! Technology can indeed take our educational to world new heights if only we do it responsibly! Don’t you agree?