Using School Technology
Computers serve as powerful tools to transform and enhance the work we do as educators. Whether working with software programs, using the Internet, or sending e-mail, technology helps you on the job and provides a valuable means to further your professional development.
Technology, however, creates a new set of hazards for educators. Keep these tips in mind when using school computers:
- Check to see if your district has an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) for computer, Internet and e-mail use. Your district might have separate policies for student use and employee use of technology. The AUP should define where, when and how long school employees may use school computers and network services.
- Do not access, receive or transmit anything that can be interpreted as obscene or pornographic. Do not use your school’s computers for anything not permitted in the AUP.
- Do not use school computers for commercial purposes, such as promoting a personal business.
- All confidential student data such as Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), grades, and all other private data must be secured, even on a computer. Just as you wouldn’t leave confidential written material in view, don’t leave your computer data unprotected. Establish a password that will limit access to computers you use for confidential material, and do not share your password with others. (Ask your school or district technology staff for assistance if you are unsure of how to do this.)
- Do not expect your e-mail to be private. Do not send anything you wouldn’t want read by your employer. The school district—your employer—owns and controls the e-mail system. Even deleted e-mails can be retrieved, and used in lawsuits. Do not send any confidential or private e-mails at work.
- You might be held responsible for inappropriate student use of the Internet or e-mail. Check to see if your district has a “reasonable supervision” standard, because it is impossible to supervise student Internet use at all times. If your district makes you responsible for all student use of the Internet, contact your OEA UniServ consultant.
Want more information? Download and read our publication Technology Issues for Educators.