Use of School Technology During Distance Learning
As schools continue to roll out more hardware, software and platforms to support students and enable distance learning while school facilities remain closed, it is important for schools to set expectations and provide a roadmap for students and their parents/guardians so that there is clarity around appropriate and acceptable use of school technology.
Schools may have existing policies in their student/family handbook that govern use of school-provided technology, and a specific contract signed by students and their parents/guardians may help to refocus attention on such policies and otherwise expand them now that online, distance learning is the primary platform on which students attend school during this pandemic.Â Here are a few recommendations that may be helpful while navigating this temporary new normal:
- Existing Policies. Take a look at what the school has already adopted. Depending on the schools use of technology before the pandemic, your existing policies may already contemplate the schools distribution of hardware, access to software and expectations and responsibilities related to their use. If you do not have policies, this is a good time to work with your lawyers to draft them.
- Creating a Contract. If the school is rolling out technology for the first time, significantly expanding technology or wants to refocus student and parent/guardian attention on the relevant issues, a contract can be useful. Any such contract should cover who owns the school technology, students obligations and responsibilities, parent obligations and responsibilities, privacy considerations, reporting violations and consequences for violations and a place for both students and parents/guardians to sign (electronic signatures, especially in this environment, will work well).Â
While not a substitute for classroom instruction, school technology is enabling schools and students to continue education remotely and with a few policies, procedures and perhaps a contract in place, the rules of the road should be clear and provide for a safe and complaint learning environment.
If you have any questions please contact us at any time.