Feature

Electronic Technology in Schools: Responsible and Ethical Use and Access

bear personal, criminal and/or professional liability. ETFO suggests that you do not engage in personal use of board property, including board technology, at any time. You should never assume that your use of such technology is private or inaccessible to the school board.

Whether you are using board technology or personal electronic devices, your ability to use such technology at school with students is restricted. For example, you can record students only if you have complied with board rules, have the necessary parental consents in place and use the recordings for pedagogical purposes. ETFO recommends against taking any classroom or student photos or audio/video recordings off school property or using them for any purpose outside of the classroom unless you have explicit authorization from your administrators.

You are expected to maintain professional standards of practice when working with technology just as you would with any other medium. If something would be inappropriate said aloud in the classroom or posted on a chalkboard, then it is inappropriate in an electronic communication too. If a photo or audio/video recording is not something you would immediately share with a parent or administrator, then you should neither make it nor keep it. It is wise to be aware of the College of Teachers’ professional advisory  Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media  as well.

You should also consider the use of technology with colleagues. For example, electronically recorded conversations between colleagues at school could lead to criminal charges, allegations of harassment, job consequences or a complaint to the College of Teachers. Under Canada’s  Criminal Code,  it is an offence to intercept a private communication by means of electronic devices without consent of one of the parties to the communication.

ETFO expects school boards to ensure safe and secure working environments for employees and to implement clear and comprehensive written internet and email user policies and procedures for employees, students and parents/guardians. Working within these policies and procedures promotes a safer working and educational environment for all.

Access to Technology 

In the course of introducing and modelling responsible use of technology, it is also important not to assume a common understanding on the part of students in your class. Although student ownership and access to electronic technology has grown exponentially in recent years, there are still large numbers of students who do not have access to such technology at home or in other environments, and who do not have the same level of understanding around its use.

ETFO maintains that the use of electronic technology should be embedded in the curriculum and that there must be adequate funding for up-to-date technology for school boards to ensure equitable access for students. For many students, access to

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