Time to push 'reboot' on school tech policies

The most effectiveschools govern from a place of trust, and the least effective from a place offear. Nowhere is this clearer than in schools’ approach to the use of technology,where the widening gap between “haves” and “have-nots” is being worsened bypolicies that lock away access to Gmail, YouTube and other learning resourcesstudents use comfortably and safely everywhere except school.

In this issue of the Report, we offer a glimpse of “the rest of the story,” in which technology-savvyteachers like Colorado’s Carrie Faust harness the power of Twitter as amessaging service capable of reaching student journalists instantly in thenewsroom, at the football stadium, or in their living rooms.

Stereotypes andphobias about online predators and “cyberbullies” are prompting rash,one-size-fits-all technology restrictions in schools. Student journalists – forwhom 21st century communication tools are a luxury, not a necessity – are atbest an afterthought, if they are thought of at all.

That is why the SPLClent its support to the newly issued report, “Making Progress: Rethinking Stateand School District Policies Concerning Mobile Technologies and Social Media”from the Consortium for School Networking. “Making Progress” recommends pushing“reboot” on heavy-handed school technology bans, moving from a mindset of“acceptable use policies” to one of “responsible use policies.”

At the SPLC, webelieve it’s futile for educators to hold back the ocean. It’s time we startedgiving swimming lessons instead.

Frank LoMonte, executive director