Arizona Education Association

Winter 2013

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ADVOCACY CORNER Suggestions for the Appropriate Use of Technology Computers, Internet, email, text messages, smart phones, tablets, social media, and tiny digital cameras have changed our lives. Most school employees use technology to improve communication and instruction, but more than a few school employees lost their jobs because they used technology inappropriately, both inside and outside of the classroom. Whenever you wonder about whether using technology is appropriate, analyze the situation by changing it to an "old-fashioned" method of communication. For example, if you are deciding whether to send a text message to a student, ask yourself if it would be appropriate to send a similar letter to the student. The following are tips from the AEA Advocacy Department to keep you out of trouble when using technology: DO review your district's Internet and technology use policy. Find out if your district limits use of school computers, personal email, social media, and cell phones by employees. Some districts require employees to sign an acknowledgement stating that they understand and agree to comply with technology use policies. Some districts strictly limit how you can interact with students in the district. DO think before you send. Technology is quick. If you would not say something directly to a person, then do not send it to that person in an email. Take a moment to review any emails or text messages before you send them. Check to see if you clicked on "reply" or "reply all." Check the message to determine whether it should be sent to a personal email address rather than a school email address. DO NOT use the school computer to communicate or view anything that you would not want your boss or your mother to see. Most deleted emails and computer Winter.13advo.indd 16 information can be recovered by a computer technician. School district Internet policies usually prohibit profanity, ethnic slurs, sexual content and photos, threats, and harassment. Public schools expect teachers to be role models for students and to conduct themselves with decorum, decency, and integrity. You should not bring an adult-themed magazine to school, and similarly you should not look at that kind of website at school or on school computers. DO NOT use a school computer or school email addresses to influence an election. Do not use a school computer to send or forward communications asking others to vote for or against a candidate, bond, override, or other ballot proposition. Also do not use a school computer to ask for money or volunteer time to help a candidate. Use your home computer and email addresses. Keep communications professional. Use a school email address to communicate school information to students and parents. Avoid sarcasm, humor, and name calling, as they can be misconstrued. Be cautious about giving students your personal telephone numbers, email addresses, and web pages. Remember that you are the student's teacher, coach, or club sponsor. You can be friendly, but you are not the student's friend or peer. Think about whether a parent could be alarmed by the content or frequency of messages to a student. DO NOT friend current students in the District. Social media, such as Facebook and Twitter are prevalent in our lives, but they can relax boundaries between teachers and students. Also, it allows the occasional transmission of personal information to students that may not be appropriate, such as those Spring Break photos your college roommate posted on Facebook. Do not friend students in your District, unless you know the student through 16 Winter 2013/14 x AEA Advocate 11/4/13 3:23 PM

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