Sharon Peters recently blogged her thoughts on the recent report by the Quebec English School Boards Association on Internet Use. I was curious to find out if the report looked at how school boards and their associated schools used Internet tools to communicate with parents and communities so I read the full report (Towards Empowerment, Respect and Accountability PDF here).
While the research did not address my questions it did make some very interesting recommendations about involving parents in the development of a technology-rich school environment. The report clearly encourages us to move from seeing the Internet as a “threat” to embracing it as an “opportunity”.
The QESBA Task Force set out a framework of prinicples to guide policy and practice which includes the following:
…parents can and must be active partners in better understanding the dynamics and impact of new technologies on their children, and in engaging and guiding them in the responsible and accountable use of those technologies.
There are many good recommendations in the report, but the following are pertinent to parental involvement.
- Educate and involve community partners in responsible and informed Internet use
- Involve students, teachers and parents directly in developing and delivering (as well as receiving) information, skills and approaches on rules of Internet use, conduct and respect for privacy.
- Enhance on-going and open communications between school and home on these issues. Seek to involve the co-operation, collaboration and participation of parents who are a key source behind the possibility for action and change.
- Provide accessible materials, interactive training for interested parents on Internet use and abuse, appropriate supervision techniques and modeling behavior for their own consideration.
The authors of the report also recognized the importance of involving students in this process. I particularly like the following statement:
The task force has learned of a pressing need for educational and transformative approaches and preventative practices to more fully engage students in dialogue, provide them with responsibility, leadership and learning opportunities within ethical frameworks that guide both young people and adult stakeholders to appreciate the impact of their words and expressions on others.
And this recommendation:
Encourage young technology users to work with adults to teach them more about the technologies, and show confidence in their expertise.
The QESBA report encourages a reasoned, balanced and collaborative approach to embracing 21C tools. Hopefully it will be read by school boards and governance bodies across Canada.
Thank you Sharon for bringing it to my attention.