knoope_LT4_Activity 7_Social networking and Digital Citizenship

This week’s research focus on the subjects of Social Networking and Digital Citizenship has uncovered a few realizations regarding my use of tech tools that I need to implement immediately.

After discussing our district AUP with my assistant principal and my concerns that our students do not sign the document annually, she was able to clarify a few things for me. First, students sign the AUP as incoming freshmen or new incoming students. When the district revises the document, all students will review the document again and the document becomes part of their administrative file. Although this is a bit more comforting, my concern now revolves around the theory and the practice.

On the positive side, my assistant principal is excited that I am integrating a variety of technology into my lessons. The tools I have introduced to my classes have never been used at this school in the past. We did discuss the necessity of informing my parent community about the tools my students are accessing and using in class. Her recommendation was to proceed with a letter home to keep parents in the loop. By doing this, I would be able to move up on the proficiency ladder on my evaluation.  Since I had already begun drafting the note when this week’s assignments came about, the timing is perfect.

As I continue to draft this letter to parents, I can now also include the Digital Citizenship Policy for them and their students to review. Indeed, our students hear the concerns about Internet safety and cyber bullying from our administrative team, but students do not heed those warnings. I firmly believe that when students hear this information from a classroom teacher who actually uses and monitors those technology tools regularly, it has a greater impact.

I will be sharing the information on Social Networking and the Digital Citizenship policy Rich and I created with my 10th grade colleagues so they can also introduce these concepts to their students. Since we are moving toward having our students produce more of their work online, students should know how they are protected and what the expectations are of them as end users. More importantly, when students review the policy, it can open up a dialogue about their future as students, digital citizens, and responsible young adults.

I am excited to be making small strides in opening the technology door at my school. With the information I have gleaned not just this week but over the last few weeks, I feel empowered and joyful to be a part of this evolution. My students are excited about what they are learning and how they are learning it. If I can ensure they become responsible and safe, then I have done my job.    

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Comment by Theresa Allen on February 1, 2014 at 1:55pm


That is great that you are paving the way for your district!  Having admin and parental support is the best way to go when you are looking to add/edit changes to district policies.  I'm always nervous about informing parents because I seem to get one or two who are against what I am doing and they refuse to let their child participate in the project...temporarily.  Once they see what we're doing, they allow their child.  The more communication with parents, the better they understand and will support.  

How did you approach your assistant principal?  Do you have to make an appointment or can you step in when needed?  

Comment by Edis Knoop on February 1, 2014 at 3:32pm


Great questions. I too am concerned how parents will react when they see this information because it is new to them, but at this point, since students are already using the tools, I'm just informing them rather than asking for permission. I doubt many of my parents will object. 

As for approaching my assistant principal - we had a conversation at the beginning of the year about how I wanted to integrate more technology into my classroom lessons, so she has been very supportive of my "tries" this year. I used the time at the end of my second observation debrief to let her know what was happening with my Brit Lit class and their sonnets; she was very excited to see/hear their projects. 

I have to say that all my administrators are very supportive when it comes to helping our students raise their achievement scores and fully engage students in classroom participation.They truly have an open-door policy; I am blessed to have this kind of support. 


Comment by Melissa Quinn on February 1, 2014 at 9:53pm

Hi Edis,

How exciting to know that you have administrative support for your endeavors to add technology into your curriculum.  I know at our high school, teachers do not get permission for student to create accounts for any other their classes.  I have two high school daughters and I've never received a letter asking for permission for them to create accounts.  They use several different sites for different classes.  They feel the AUP covers all the accounts that students will need.  I also think this is because most sites only require you to be 13 and most high school students are 14+.

I struggle at the middle school level, like Theresa, when adding a new technology where students have to create an account.  I've called several parents to discuss their concerns and reassure them that the risks are few and students will be monitored.  I also suggest that if there is a parent portion that they sign up and check in on their children's accounts.

I can't wait to hear more about your experience with technology in your classes!


Comment by Richard Cole on February 1, 2014 at 11:27pm

Edis, I agree with you that teachers can have a greater impact on students becoming good digital citizens much more than having them hear the information from administrators.  I think to be able to follow through on our policy, teachers have to learn better ways to monitor what is happening on the technology devices in their classrooms.  That is why I am a big supporter of technologies like LanSchool that can manage a computer network for a teacher.

Good luck introducing our Digital Citizenship policy to your students.  I hope we are able to set them on a path to good digital citizenship.


Comment by Janelle Shumaker on February 2, 2014 at 9:55am


That is exciting to hear that you are taking the necessary steps to start implementing a digital citizenship policy and utilizing many digital teaching tools.  I liked that you said that you will be sharing much of this information with your teaching colleagues. I bet they appreciate learning much of this information right along with you.

It sounds like you have a great administration at your school for them to be willing to really listen and support your ideas.  

Best of luck with all of your new ideas!


Comment by Edis Knoop on February 2, 2014 at 10:15am


The tools I'm asking my students to use do require them to create accounts, but they are all currently set to private so only the owner can see it (e.g. Protopage) but when I need to see their content, they can login and I can see they added certain links. On VoiceThread, only the members of our class/group can see the work they post leaving me to monitor their work and comments. When I showcase this tool to my admin team, I have to login with my account because I have not invited them to be part of the group....wonder if I should change that. What would you all do?  

Comment by Edis Knoop on February 2, 2014 at 10:19am


Yes, I have already started sharing these tools and my student projects with my colleagues. They are intrigued but are still "walking around the pool perimeter before they jump in." It is a scary endeavor, and I understand, but I have assured them that I am here to hold their hands, answer any questions, and help them discover the answers together. I just want them to give it a try to see how it impacts their teaching. With all the other official expectations on our teaching plates, this one should be fun not stressful or anxiety inducing. 


Comment by Kathryn Leal on February 2, 2014 at 9:25pm

I think sharing your policy with your colleagues is important too, so they can develop something similar in their own classrooms. It never hurts to hold students accountable for what goes on when they are using technology. If they know what is expected of them, they can avoid getting into trouble. Most teachers, I think, do not consider these issues beyond the AUP policy that parents/students sign at the beginning of the year. Great Job!


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