Tech News for LMS Parents
What you need to know about your child, school technology and BYOT
Liberty Middle School Responsible Use Guidelines for Technology
(for school and personal devices)
- Students should understand that using digital devices (whether personal or school owned) and the FCS network is a privilege, and when used according to the LMS/FCS guidelines, they will keep that privilege.
- Students bringing personal devices to school should understand that they are to be used for educational purposes only.
- Students should have personal devices (phones, tablets, laptops, e-readers, etc.) turned OFF (not on silent or vibrate) unless they are being used in class as directed by the classroom teacher.
- Students are not allowed to use any type of personal device (including headphones) in school hallways or restrooms.
- Students should keep their personal information (addresses, phone numbers, user id and passwords) and that of others private. Notify technology staff if you think your student information has been compromised.
- Students should show respect for themselves and others when using technology, including social media.
- Students should give acknowledgement to others for their ideas and work.
- Students should treat all school property (including technology) with respect and report any problems to a teacher or technology staff member.
- Students should report inappropriate use of technology immediately.
- Help us by limiting your child's data usage during the school day. View our newsletter for helpful information.
- Teachers will be using Netref to monitor student internet usage during the school day.
Handing your child a device that allows them to go out onto the Internet, text, make calls, etc. is a like giving your child a key to a candy store – you wouldn’t just let your kid just eat whatever he’d like, as much as he’d like, until he got sick, would you? You’d impose limits to make sure that your child didn’t get sick in the first place. Your relationship with your child and technology is the same – you have to impose limits so that your child understands what he is doing and what the implications are if he tries to bypass those limits.
Liberty Middle is the same with our BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) policy for students – we want students to learn to use technology responsibly, but to do so we have to impose limits on its usage. We really need parents to partner with us in order to help our students be a success with technology!
Parents often ask “what is the best type of device to purchase for my child to use at school?” I will generally suggest a laptop, as the device is more flexible and is far more useful for typing papers, creating multimedia, etc. If not a laptop, I suggest a tablet, as the larger screen makes viewing web pages and videos easier for the student. My least favorite suggestion is a smart phone, because of the size (they really are hard to read from – it’s tough on the eyes!) and the potential for outside distractions it can present. Fortunately, if you do choose a smart phone, you can help us with the distractions by setting limits on the device.
Unlike a tablet, laptop, or other device, the smart phone can allow students to bypass the filters that we have on our wi-fi network. While it is school policy for students to not attempt to access sites that are not allowed (such as certain social networks or sites deemed unacceptable for school), any kid without smart phone limits knows that he can bypass this policy, and the majority of students do, often with disastrous results (for more on this, see).
Kids can also text one another using the phone’s signal, which is not limited by our school wi-fi network. There is no real educational purpose for texting at school, as they can use our interactive software by accessing our school wi-fi.
Many of the disciplinary issues we have regarding BYOT at LMS originate from non-educational use of devices for texting, use of social media networks, and accessing inappropriate sites by using their data plan (which is not filtered by the school). Fortunately, YOU as a parent have the tools at your disposal to make sure your kids use their phones for schoolwork, and not get distracted by the other things that they can do that do not support their schoolwork. All major smart phone providers have free tools that you can use to set smart limits on your child’s device to ensure that he/she is focused on school when using his/her technology!
Here are some suggestions for parents to help their kids have a healthy relationship with their personal technology:
Talk to your child about the school BYOT policy (posted at the top of this article) – your child’s teachers can only do so much without parental support. Let your child know that you expect them to follow the technology rules set forth by the school – be a partner with your child’s teachers in helping them understand the difference in educational use at school versus social use outside of school.
Turn off their access to 4G data networks during the school day. This does not mean that students with a smart phone can’t use our school wi-fi network to access school related work, but it does mean that they can’t get to sites that are filtered out. Doing so makes their phone battery last longer and also limits the amount of data that they use on your plan, which can be a cost savings if you do not have an unlimited plan. Log into your provider’s web site and set these limits – you’ll be glad you did!
Helpful links for setting limits on phones:
Limit who they can text during the school day. You can set limits on who can be texted – for example, I limit my daughter’s texting to immediate family members during the school day so that she can contact me and her family if there is an emergency. After school, the limits turn off so that she can contact her friends via text. These limits are easily set using the parental control options provided by most cellular phone networks.
That said, one of our toughest issues with texting is parents texting their kids during class. Kids are easily distracted, and often these well-meaning texts come up during tests, during presentations, etc. and take your child (as well as those around your child) out of “the learning zone.” Please, if you need to get a message to your child and you want to make sure they are not interrupted during school work, call our front office at 770-781-4889 – we will get the message to them between classes or earlier depending on the urgency.Limit technology access during the night. There is a lot of research that ties access to phones, computers, televisions, etc. with disrupted sleep patterns in children and teens. You can use limits to block access, but your best bet here is removing the device from your child at least a half-hour before they go to bed – this allows them some time to “disconnect” from the tech so that they are more ready to go to sleep. They will survive the night without their phone and that good night’s sleep is important for their health and their grades!
Make sure that your child does other things WITHOUT technology in their hands. There are documented cases of students experiencing “withdrawal anxiety” during times when students cannot use their devices (for example, during testing), and the last thing you want is a child who cannot sit and have a conversation at the dinner table without looking at their messages. Make sure that they get some non-tech time - reading, going outside, riding a bike, or just sitting and daydreaming – it’s great for their health, and it’s good for them to be able to find other outlets for their energy.
Set an example. Kids look to their parents as role models – think about what kind of example are you setting with your own use of technology.Links to help with setting limits for yourself!
Got questions or concerns about technology use at Liberty? Please contact your ITS, Tracey Abercrombie, at 770-781-4889 extension 290151 or by email at email@example.com