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Whole school approach and ‘using tech for good’ – advice from EPIK Deliberate Digital

07/24/2017

EPIK’s mission is to facilitate collaboration around adults and youth using tech for good. In this guest blog, EPIK offers advice to help schools and districts adopt a whole school approach to technology and online safety.

“It takes a village to raise a child.” This old African proverb is more true than ever in our complex, digital world.

Helping children be safe and healthy with the myriad of technologies and risks that surround them is a never-ending challenge – not only because technology is changing so quickly, but also because the issues surrounding children and technology are multifaceted and often beyond any individual’s realm of expertise. And yet, all too often, caregivers and mentors of children try to tackle these issues in isolation in their individual roles, rather than working together in a more collaborative way. This isolation can often lead to overwhelm and inaction, which, of course, can put children at greater risk.

As schools work toward a whole school approach, EPIK recommends the following collaboration tips:

tips for establishing a collaborative model

  • Be deliberate and proactive about creating your multi-stakeholder leadership council.
  • Involve students and parents from the start, so that they can contribute their perspectives to keyword needs as well as discussions about what should happen when potential problems are identified.
  • Be aware that a risk with filtering and monitoring software is that when problems arise, it can be hard not to react in fear or respond hastily with a desire to control or punish.
  • Remember that calm, consistent, compassionate mentoring and support is needed. Whatever patterns you may find through monitoring software will almost always be a symptom, not the whole problem.
  • Remember that a key part of any good prevention program includes fostering positive behaviors. Encourage your leadership council to discuss how to create opportunities for students to have mentored experiences using technology in deliberate, positive ways.

 

benefits of a whole school approach

Fortunately, having a team can make a difference here. When you are committed to helping each other respond and teach in ways that are informed by expert knowledge and decided upon before problems arise, you help create a safe, supportive culture for your students. You also create institutional memory so that if and as new people join your team, you don’t have to start from square one. With a dedicated, multi-stakeholder team, you are more likely to take a long view, “whole child” view approach to addressing problems. You can also help each other not feel overwhelmed as you take on this critical role of helping children, not only to avoid dangers online but to be deliberate digital citizens. As you work alongside the students in your school, they and you together can learn to use technology for good.

To read more tips and advice from some of our other online safety partners, check out our blogs or download our Online Safety Handbook.

 

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