Here’s Part II of my recent conversation with Professor Scott McLeod from the University of Minnesota. I had quite a bit of feedback on Part I of our conversation on data-drive decision making so I hope you will enjoy this talk about legal and ethical issues facing educational technology leaders. I won’t repeat all of the background information about Scott in this post, but it’s important to emphasize that he is a lawyer in addition to a professor of educational policy. So while you shouldn’t take anything you hear as official legal advice, you can be sure that Scott knows what he’s talking about.
Of all the interesting things that Scott shares, the most useful for me is the notion that we don’t need to put ourselves in the endless cycle of inventing new policies, rules, and regulations to deal with every new piece of technology that our students bring to school. If fact, it’s just the opposite. I think schools are in a much stronger position when they apply the old, tried and true policies. Kids already know that they shouldn’t bully, disrupt class, interfere with their colleagues’ learning, etc. Camera phones, MP3 players, Web sites, and all of the other technologies that can cause trouble occasionally are just the latest verse to a really old tune.
The more we set technology apart from the rest of school life by making all sorts of special rules about it, the more marginalized technology becomes with respect to the curriculum and the more likely it is that students will view the rules as yet another reason that school is irrelevant. Does your high school ban iPods or other MP3 players from the hallways during passing time? I know of some that do. Have you walked down the sidewalk of a major metropolitan area lately? Those aren’t cotton balls in everyone’s ears.
Download: STP-ScottMcLeod-2 (20.5 MB, 44:48)