There are some incredible tools and resources on the web that will engage students and amplify learning. While it might be the perfect addition to that new lesson, Michael Gorman suggest taking a moment to pause and reflect before introducing it in the classroom.

While the internet and technology provide some amazing educational possibilities, educators must do the proper preparation to ensure student privacy and safety when using these tools. Let’s take a moment to explore some of these concepts and best practices. Please keep in mind that the following are suggestions and that educators should always check with their district technology department and administration before bringing new internet resources and tools into the classroom.

  • Read and understand your school district’s AUP or RUP – Also known as an “Acceptable Use Policy”.
  • Read a website, resource, or tool’s “Terms of Use” and “Privacy Policy” – This is the legal language that each website should provide and can usually be found under links called “Terms of Use” and “Privacy Policy”.
  • Educate yourself on different types of internet sites – It is important to know which sites only provide content and do not appear to collect information, and which ones are collecting data.
  • Check to see if there is already a district approved tool that does the same thing – The resource or tool might be cool, but you may already have an approved resource in the district that does the same thing.
  • Involve administration and other district decision makers on web usage – There really is so much out there on the internet.
  • Involve parents in the process – After reading the Terms of Use, Privacy, and district procedures… you may find it necessary to seek parental approval and permission.
  • Incorporate good digital citizenship at all levels – Practicing and modeling good digital citizenship is essential, but still not enough.
  • Determine why it is being incorporated into the learning process – A tool may be filled with glitter and lots of shine.
  • Become familiar with CIPA, COPPA, and FERPA – These are all important rules and regulations that educators should be aware of.
  • Completely vet the site before using – Along with these preceding ideas, take a moment to examine the site itself.

Information for this post was taken from a blog post by Michael Gorman published in Tech & Learning.  Read the complete blog post for more details.