From the moment your students wake up, they are most likely to be found online, even on the bus ride to school in the morning. This behavior extends even into school hours, especially if your school runs a one-to-one program. You’re not even safe if you don’t have one-to-one programs; they have discovered ways of staying connected in no cell phone areas.
At any moment on a school day, during or after school hours, students and staff members spend a significant amount of time exchanging messages, refreshing their emails, accessing the LMS to submit, and evaluate students’ assignments while executing plenty of other tasks. These other engagements may lead students to visit many websites and apps that contravenes the district’s legal use agreement or click on plenty of insidious links that can likely compromise the school’s data confidentiality.
School leaders need to be in the loop on the usage of school technology.
The reality today is that learning has moved online, so any attempts to over-regulate this space may come off as internet policing. However, monitoring technology usage in schools Is vital. With these arrangements, you should keep tabs on how effectively your staff and students utilize online curricular tools. You are also supposed to know many more items you can add to the school’s technology expenses before it goes beyond the technology budget and oversee the safety of the school’s data and educational tools. Adding these duties to the traditional functions of your office can be overwhelming.
But protecting your school digital property isn’t supposed to wear you out. Read on to discover three strategies any leader can engage in building a digital-driven schooling environment that benefits the students without compromising students’ data safety.
Probe the technology choices of your staff and students.
The best way to protect the school community’s digital property is to ensure that teachers and students alike use technologies that don’t expose them to data breaches and are proven safe. First, you’ll have to take stock of all the digital learning tools utilized by the staff and students, then subject them to integrity tests to determine their safety. After that, gradually release the necessary tools required for teaching to the teachers upon their validation. You should go further to formulate a standard vetting protocol for new digital learning tools if any subsequent requests from the faculty members approve a new tool that is fresh and unproven.
It is quite normal to be carried away by the shiny features of recently discovered digital learning mediums that we fail to inquire what kind of data the new tool is harvesting? Are there any likely threats to safety that can arise? However, the National Association for Secondary Principals has compiled useful resources to assist you in classifying new technologies as safe or unsafe.
Compiling an inventory of technologies used in your school or district is the first step in this direction. Then, gathering usage reports on each of these technologies will guide you to what needs to be scrutinized and validated as safe for your students’ use.
Equilibrate academic needs with student safety.
When you discover a shiny digital learning accessory, especially when it comes to rare features that promise better learning outcomes, you can be caught up in the product’s hype and forget to consider the students’ safety. Before approving the use of a digital learning product, you should ask what might be likely dangers to students’ privacy? Will the school community gain proficiency in using these products before starting a new session?
Conducting periodic surveys on the utilization of online learning products may be time-intensive. On a few occasions, it may include inexact outcomes from unscientific data. The feedback a majority of the time has been valuable and accurate. With the emergence of modern technologies, the survey process is now easier than ever, assisting school leaders in highlighting the prevalent needs of their school community while presenting a credible report of the currently used tools.
When it comes to expending funds on digital learning tools, there are two elephants in the room. First, are you equipped with all the necessary data to make decisions that guarantee students’ safety? And second, how beneficial is the technology for teaching and learning?
It is also crucial to understand which websites most students visit for biology lessons, which apps are the students favorite for learning algebra, what digital products are widely acceptable to the students for learning figures of speech, and why they choose the digital tool.
School leaders’ paramount duty is to develop organized online learning spaces where students can learn and exchange information without breaking the district’s budget for digital learning.
Finally, gathering data, evaluating it, and then making informed decisions on this information is pivotal to productive technology usage and the school’s data safety.
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