Responsible Use Policy through the Learner Profile: COETAIL Course 2 Final Project

For our final COETAIL Course Two Project, Katy, Ju, and I created a Responsible Use Policy that a three program IBO World school could use.


We first decided on structuring our RUP through the Learner Profile, as it is common language used at our schools and its attributes are ones we want our students to emulate.  Since  we want our students to embody these traits as a learner in our classrooms, we also feel that they need to consider these when making decisions about technology.  Click here for a better view.

Using the Learner Profile descriptors, we created essential technology agreements.  From there, we broke it down into PYP, MYP and DP student agreements.  We created these agreements to be appropriate for the students, both in practice and in language at the different program levels.  We kept the individual documents down to A4 sized as we felt that was important.  We also wanted to create a visual that we could use to share with the community as it’s more engaging than an A4 document.

What we focused on…

We considered a lot of the issues we see daily at our schools, and ones that may not be explicitly stated in many AUP/RUPs.  Some of the agreements that personally stand out to me from our RUP are:

I will regularly update the systems and security on my digital devices. (knowledgeable)

I will give attribution in the manner appropriate to the task and the creator’s wishes. (principled)

I will regularly reflect on and update my digital footprint, updating my online presence so it accurately represents who I am.  (reflective)

All the BALANCED statements really resonated with me as well:

  • I will balance how much technology I consume by creating products with technology.

  • I will experiment with a variety of technology tools. I will choose the most effective technology tools for the tasks at hand.

  • I will manage my time spent with technology, ensuring that it is a tool which complements but does not control my life.

I think this is because this is where I see a general weakness in many students.  I hear of them watching hours and hours of YouTube videos, I see them attached to their cellphones as soon as the bell rings.  As I reflect on this, I also realize that we can’t just rattle off this RUP to students the first week of school and consider it done.  We need to provide skills and strategies to help our students reach these agreements.

The Visual Piece…

We also created a presentation that could be used at the three program levels.  We thought that these presentations would be best used at a Back to School Night and also to students the first week of school.  While we tried to match strong Creative Commons visuals to our agreements, we realized that this was difficult and we weren’t able to show everything in images.  We created the structure of the presentation together then “Made a Copy” of that template to create separate documents for each program.

While I am a little weary of posting an “incomplete” presentation here, I truly believe it’s for good reason.  I decided after looking (semi-unsuccessfully) for images, that I would like to bring the skeleton of this presentation back to my Student Tech Leader group for them to find where this is happening in our school or to create images which represent these statements through screencasts, screenshots and photos.  I think that authentic media will make this presentation a lot more powerful since it will directly connect to our community and my students.  Since it will be “student-made” or at least student-enhanced, I think the Tech Leaders will take more ownership of the agreements and be better role models to the rest of the student body.

Here are the PYP and DP Presentations.

On sharing with my community…

First of all, the AUP at my school is up for review.  I’m going to propose they look at this RUP we created.  I think it’s a great piece for an IB school.  We want our students to embody the Learner Profile and their lives are so digital.  This document connects our technology with our beliefs and the IBO philosophy.

At my school, I have seen a recurring issue with our parent information/parent education sessions.  Many parents who attend these sessions are uncomfortable with technology and some do not have “technical English”. Sometimes I feel the overall message and is often “Lost in Translation”.  If my school will adopt this Responsible Use Policy, then I would like to again ask students, or my Japanese colleagues to help translate this document into Japanese (and even Korean) as I feel it’s an important document to share with our community.

On working with others…

I felt it was really important to have this experience.  Students are regularly asked to work in groups and it is challenging.  I luckily had amazing partners in this project and I’m not just saying this because there’s a good chance they’ll read this post.  We are all at the end of our school year, living on different continents with an eight hour time difference.  Google Docs was a great way for us to collaborate and start to share ideas and find our focus. It’s funny to find that balance of creating and revising at different times and not knowing each other or how the other would react or if we’d connect enough for us all to be happy with our final product. In the past week, we realized that that wasn’t enough.  We had to talk.  We attempted Google Hangout and Skype, but our connection didn’t allow us to communicate well.  We easily used the chat option in the document to fine tune and wordsmith our work.



Linked Up

 Photo Credit: eliazar via Compfight cc

Where would I be without the Internet?

1. Disconnected and feeling guilty from living so far away from my family

2. An okay teacher

3. Bored?

Both of my parents were teachers, so I think it’s in my blood.  I fought it for a time, but I found myself young and unfulfilled in my job, so I decided to go back to school, even though I was drowning in debt.  I took a Master’s course in Education, and in one class, I knew I was supposed to be in a classroom.

I think both of my parents were decent-enough teachers.  They were well respected in our small community and loved by many.  But I can’t imagine what teaching was like back then -following textbooks chronologically through a year, having few teachers to collaborate with due to a small school size, and not knowing everything and not easily being able to find all the answers.

I cannot imagine teaching without the internet.  The internet doesn’t make a teacher good, but the internet can really strengthen a teacher and his/her learning environment.

Through the internet, I have been inspired by other teacher’s projects and ideas, like Kim – how does she do it all, so well?

I have met amazing teachers from around the world (like all the teachers I follow on Twitter, as a start).

COETAIL – An amazing online course for a Certificate of Educational Technology and Information Literacy, which impacts my teaching and student learning daily.  Aside from content, the collaboration and camaraderie amongst fellow “classmates” is equally amazing.

I have collaborated on great projects.

I have used Skype to connect my students with mentors & professionals.  I even continued as a PYP Exhibition mentor on my maternity leave through Skype.

The internet has allowed me to communicate with my students better.  I love using a blog to connect with my students – to share resources or something cool I found on the web.  Or to show off their work.

I also love that I can give formative feedback on their work through sharing Google Docs.

I also have been able to connect with students via email, chats and forums (the best resources for me being Google Apps and Moodle).  This has allowed me to check-in with students that don’t always talk regularly in class.  The quiet students now have a bigger voice.  Behind the screen, students gain confidence to ask questions, to share their ideas and to tell me something that they may not feel confident telling me in class.

I feel that both my students and I need to work on BALANCE.  We need to remember to close our lids and put our phones away and talk to each other.  We need to be able to disconnect.  We need to balance our play and work time.  What the Internet can bring to our lives is amazing – knowledge, humor, connections, entertainment, old friends, research…  if we have balance.

I just read Disconnected: My Year Without the Internet.  The article is interesting, but I couldn’t do that.  I wouldn’t do that.  Without the internet, my teaching would suffer.  Some relationships would suffer.  I do disconnect myself from time to time, but usually during vacations and I don’t usually check my school email on the weekends.

I am social.  I do love to hear what’s going on with my old high school friends who I haven’t seen in real life for 15+ years.  I love that I can look up a word and find out what it means in a second.  I love that I can Google something and find many different sources so I don’t have to be embarrassed about asking a dumb question.

And because of this, as I read  20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web and took copious notes, I kept thinking:

How can we know so little about something we use everyday?

Rude < Mean < Bully

Photo Credit: pasukaru76 via Compfight cc

Bullying has occurred since early man roamed the Earth, even though the term is almost always connected with the word: students today.  We all know it’s horrible and it’s damaging.   The term cyberbully has become more popular in the past few years, but really, isn’t it just bullying?  Most of our students don’t separate their lives or time between being online or offline.

It’s just life.

While it has the potential to be more permanent and to impact everyone much faster than before, it’s just as nasty.  Fortunately, usually when bullying is done by digital means, there is proof.  It is possible to find out who said what, rather than it just be whispered in the hallways, making it less speculative.

In Japan, teachers have a huge responsibility for student behavior outside of school.  If a student is caught doing something bad, the police, store keeper, or train conductor will contact the student’s school, not their parents.  Even if it wasn’t part of the culture, in my opinion, it is our job as educators to get involved, even if the bullying happens outside of school.  While reading, School heads called parents in cyberbully case: Harassment occurred off campus so jurisdiction unclear, officials say, I was thinking about all the different perspectives and all the community members who chimed in on the case.  It is all of our responsibilities.  Even if the bullying happened outside of the school walls and after 4:00 pm, it becomes our issue.  An issue we need to step up and deal with, because it does impact the students’ learning.  If a child feels unsafe or is unhappy due to bullying, there is no way they can be successful as a student.  With our staff of teachers, administrators and counselors, we usually know all the kids involved, understand their different personalities and family situations, have the ability to deal with concerns like this, therefore, need to be involved.

Something we need to do collectively (me and my school included) is be more proactive in talking about bullying and digital citizenship with our students and our community.  I think we should make sure our emotional and social health skills are developed well in our curriculum and that we provide workshops for parents so we can work together to create a common language and understanding, therefore, promoting a healthy environment for our students.  We need to address bullying proactively rather than always reactively.

Last week, when Robyn Treyvaud presented “Growing Up Digital” to our school, she presented The Different Tiers of Hurtful Behavior, which is outlined well here on A Platform for Good’s How to Talk to Your Kids About Bullying.  The following definitions are simple and clear.  I hope we will use them as a school community to identify and reflect on behavior:

  • When someone says or does something unintentionally hurtful and they do it once, that’s RUDE.
  • When someone says or does something intentionally hurtful and they do it once, that’s MEAN.
  • When someone says or does something intentionally hurtful and they keep doing it—even when you tell them to stop or show them that you’re upset—that’s BULLYING.
I have been in situations where parents have a knee-jerk reaction to someone being rude or mean to their child, and have come into school wielding the bullying word.  I get it.  I’m a parent.  We want to protect our kids.  With a better understanding of  what bullying is, as a community, we will hopefully have happier, more successful students.  We will never eradicate bullying, but we can empower victims and bystanders and help foster a happy, healthy community.
Here’s an example of a community working together to stand-up to bullying.  If you haven’t seen this video, check it out, We Are All Daniel Cui:

Walking the Line: Copyright in the Classroom

This week, I have been in “Digital Citizenship” overload.  COETAIL Course 2 is focused on Digital Citizenship and the PTA at our school sponsored Robyn Treyvaud to come spend a few days with us to work with teachers, students and parents.  While I feel like I’ve done a better job this year compared to previous years in teaching fair use and intellectual property, I can still improve.  I need to help create a better culture throughout our whole school.  The task of teaching digital citizenship cannot just fall to our small tech department.  I think it takes the whole community to create a better culture (online and offline) at a school.

I have been through many, many resources this week through our course readings and ones provided by Robyn.  These readings were only enriched by Iistening to our students and participating in discussions with my colleagues, getting a better understanding of our community’s different perspectives and concerns with digital citizenship.

I feel as a technology teacher, but really I hope every teacher, should walk the line of copyright.  I am teaching in Japan, but have also taught in the US and Peru.  Copyright laws vary country to country, but I try to stick to US law since most of the social media sites are hosted there and because I find it easier to find resources to support these laws.  I try to use my moral compass to do the right thing.

But in saying this, please don’t think I am perfect. I am a rule-follower.  I do my best, but I’ll be honest here, I do make decisions that could be “copyright questionable”.  For example, the video above talking about “the line” is created by Mark C. Eshleman.  I have spent the past thirty minutes trying to find the appropriate source to embed the video.  I saw it this week in one of our PD sessions, and I finally found it (I wan’t searching for it under the right name).  But, I cannot find it posted by the creator.  I found it on the contest site, “What’s Your Story?“, but I couldn’t get an embed code, just a link.  I hate it when videos are linked.  I want them embedded and attractive for my readers, but this is obviously not the creator’s YouTube channel.  I have made other minor copyright transgressions, but I try to be a good example for my students and I expect them to respect other people’s work.

In trying to do the right thing, I have stretched out the time I planned to spend writing this post by a lot.  I can definitely see how my students would get frustrated and how it would prevent them from doing the right thing all the time.

While I have been teaching and promoting our school’s Publishing Protocols for a few years, I think the reason my students are more on board this year.  This year I have moved the focus from the negative to the positive when talking about copyright and Creative Commons.  Rather than harp on: “Oh it’ll get ripped down from YouTube” or “It’s illegal”, I focus more on honoring the creator.

They are all creators.  

As MYP Design students, they create products – digital, materials-based, food and even systems and events.  Both for school and for fun.  They know how it feels to be proud of your work and wanting to share it with others.  They don’t want their work “stolen”.  They want to be appreciated and connected to their hard work.

My students creating book trailers last week

I still have a ways to go with them regarding re-publishing content.  I have seen many Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook feeds with copyrighted work.  They are quick to repost and share with no attribution outside of school.  I feel I will be successful when this truly is a habit and part of their culture. I want them to do this, not just because their teachers tell them so for school projects.  Unfortunately, I am not friends with them on social media, so I may never truly know.

What intrigues me about copyright, fair use and creative commons are the gray areas.  They have really opened up rich discussions with my students in the past two weeks.  I have learned so much because they have challenged me with their questions.  They have challenged me to help them find good, quality Creative Commons media.

Where Are You?

My Not-so “Private Parts”

Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver via Compfight cc

Before I send, submit, post, upload, or open up a new profile/account, I  I think.  It may only be for a split second, but I do think.  Who is my audience?  Who may find this?  Who will read this?  Will my students read this?  Could this be taken out of context?  Depending on what I may be posting or submitting and where, this reflection and subsequent revisions may vary in length.

Again, I’ll say, I’m glad I had time to “grow-up” before I started creating my digital footprint.  I haven’t had to fix anything, but that may just allude to the fact, that I’m not the most exciting human on earth.  I am hyper sensitive about other people’s feelings, so I often err on the side of caution when posting,  and later sometimes kick myself that I wasn’t more honest about my experiences, say in the day-to-day of living as an ex-pat.

After reading numerous articles on privacy, including PC World’s The Five Biggest Privacy Threats of 2013 and The Guardian’s How can I Protect my Privacy Online (both which I recommend reading), I have come to the conclusion that I don’t really care.

I am on the web.

I am not anonymous.

I am “safe enough”.

I appreciate that companies know my preferences:  I like it when I have options like “New For Me” or “More Items to Consider” on Amazon.  I love that the New York Times has Recommended Articles on the sidebar for… ME.  I find there is too much out there for me to troll through to find interesting new products or new articles.  I often live in the vortex of work and home and I need some help.  Companies using cookies actually save me tons of time.  They know me and make me happy by providing products, articles, even advertisements just. for. me – it’s like we’re friends.

When I read about protecting oneself online and privacy issues, I understand people’s concerns about “big brother”, but I also have nothing to hide.  I’m not a criminal.  If I had something to hide, I surely wouldn’t do it online.

I do realize the negative aspects of companies knowing information from my profile, from having GPS on my iPhone, to the records of my purchases from different companies and more – I’m sure there is a lot more that I don’t know, because I don’t always read through all the privacy policies.

By writing this, I’m sure I’m cursing myself with some crazy hack or privacy issue, but to me the benefits of what is out there far outweigh being too protective.  

This is my perspective as an adult.  My children are not teenagers, yet, and I do need to educate and start more conversations with my students regarding privacy.  This is a perfect conversation to begin in my middle school advisory or better yet, maybe it can be something bigger… a provocative essential question for a unit regarding privacy.  Hmmm, let me begin to plan.  

Also, Common Sense Media is a good site for digital citizenship resources for teachers – both to educate parents and students.  The lessons are good starting points to develop.

Creative Commons Resources

CC button: some rights reserved by Kalexanderson

As I learn more through my COETAIL course and as I try to practice what I preach and teach my students the importance of Creative Commons, sharing and attribution, I have had some interesting, sometimes challenging conversations with my students.

I keep emphasizing the importance of sharing and attribution both as the creator and the user.  I feel like the kids are understanding the concept and are using it in school (and I hope it is trickling into their personal sharing), but what has been the most difficult, is finding high quality media.  I have run into some problems with finding reliable Creative Commons media.

This week I was introduced to Compfight – it has a lot of high quality, interesting photos.  And they make it really easy to give attribution to the creator.  We’ve just installed the plug-in on our self-hosted WordPress blogs.

While I find Creative Commons images fairly easy to find.  It is not easy to find good quality, appropriate music or video clips for students to use for their work and products.

Some specific issues I have run into:

1. YouTube Creative Commons forces you to use their video editor, which is a good basic editing tool, but a bit limiting for upper grade projects.  (I’m also not sure on how it documents the attribution).

2. SoundCloud seems to have a lot of “not appropriate” music in their Creative Commons sections, much of which doesn’t really seem like it should be identified as Creative Commons.  Only a portion of the music files even had a download button.

Some good sources for Creative Commons Media:

Creative Commons – a great resource explaining Creative Commons with a page to search CC media.

Jamendo – a good resource for CC music and audio clips

I’ve come across Videezy.  It has good downloadable high quality (short) video clips.


Do any of you have other good sources for Creative Commons media (especially video) that you use with your students?  I really want to find more creative commons video and music resources to use with my students, especially if they are easy to use (no sign-in, downloads straight from site).

Please share in the comments.  Thanks!

Stomp, stomp, stomp: Digital Footprints

Photo Credit: Rob Boudon via Compfight cc

Our assignment tonight has dragged me through probably at least a hundred web pages in the past hour.  I have read the assigned reading, clicked on a few links, which brought me to other pages, which then inspired me to write a blog post to my students.  I googled myself, I googled my husband, I googled friends, I googled colleagues, I even googled a new hire who will be joining our school next year, I googled our headmaster, then emailed him to ask him if he googles potential hires.  I have done much of this googling before and I always find my results very interesting and sometimes surprising.

Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks via Compfight cc

Should we be aware of our digital footprints as teachers?  Yes!  I sometimes wonder why teachers don’t check their footprint and also am surprised that some teachers I know have almost no digital footprint.  I work with many good teachers, but I can name only less than 5 that pop up fairly quickly on searches or who are active as professionals in social media.  But, saying this, I’ve only become active “professionally” on social media in the past two years and I feel like I’ve entered late in the game.  I have a decent digital footprint, but there is more out there from our family blog and less professionally.  I realized that my school blog (one I write as a means of communicating with my students and my most active blog) isn’t really connected with my social media profile or my name, and I need to do something about that.

I will be going out on the job hunt in the fall for the 2014-2015 school year.  I don’t know what kind of impact our digital footprints will have on our job search.  I hope that it does have an impact.  A school that checks digital footprints to learn more about the candidates is the kind of place I want to work.  But do many school administrators do that?  I have okay “stuff” out on the web, but nothing revolutionary.  Although I may not post original mind-blowing new content, I do think that I connect with amazing people, share my work and that I am resourceful.  I have found amazing content, I have gotten fantastic ideas for my classroom and have been able to connect and collaborate with top- notch teachers all over the world, some of who I’ve never (and may never) work on the same campus with.

I think that knowing your digital footprint and fixing mishaps is extremely important for both teachers and students.  I think that my youngest students, who have only dipped their toes in social media (with email, Google chat and use a school blog) need to thoughtfully consider every post they make, every profile they create, everything they share and the connections they make as they start to create a digital footprint with many social media applications that they will use over the next few decades.

I’m glad social media didn’t exist when I was growing up.  I don’t know how responsibly I would have used it as a teenager and as a sometimes wild college student.  Kids haven’t changed.  They will make mistakes, they will post something they regret about themselves or others.  I need to give them the knowledge to help them make the best choices they can.  I want my students to use their social media for good.  It is our job to talk to them about it.  So many of our schools don’t talk about it, because we don’t allow social media use in our schools or our students aren’t 13 yet.  But, so many of them are on it and need guidance!

This year, with the help of the middle school counselor, we planned a few digital citizenship activities for the students for each grade level.  Unfortunately, I have not done a great job of really articulating digital citizenship well throughout the whole year or with the faculty.  I want to will work on this.  Next week, Robyn Trevaud is coming to our school to present to students, teachers and parents about Growing up Digital.  I have already requested a substitute, so I can sit in on all her workshops and then develop our digital citizenship curriculum better throughout the middle school and high school.