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Chinook's Edge schools work to ensure safe social media use

With the 2022-23 school year now underway, Chinook’s Edge School Division’s social media education processes are already up and running
MVT stock Chinook's Edge building front
File photo/MVP Staff

INNISFAIL - Students in Chinook’s Edge School Division (CESD) are receiving advice this month on how to ensure they are using social media in a safe and secure way, says Jason Drent, associate superintendent of learning services.

With the 2022-23 school year now underway, the division’s social media education processes are already up and running, he said.

“We want to be responsive, particularly to the age of the children and in classrooms and in particular schools,” Drent told the Albertan. “We have created a scope and sequence (system) that starts in September and October and can go all the way to April. It provides our teachers with talking points.

“For example one that we have vetted and one that we really, really like is media common sense education. We want to make sure there are resources available where a teacher can have extra support.”

Social media is a term used to describe interactive technologies such as websites that focus on communication and information-sharing. 

Over the past several years, CESD has created a technology advisory group to oversee the social media safety efforts, he said.

“The group consisted of key teachers, key administrators and division office staff that really provide that advisory to the division in terms of anything and everything related to technology usage in our classrooms,” he said.

The advisory group “allows for some really close scrutiny and discussion with any initiative we put forward,” he said.

“In particular we definitely felt a need from both teachers and administrators that we really need to get our eyes together on what is the best thing out there to help support, not only our classroom teachers, administrators and schools, but also our parents in making recommendations to support and really help support digital citizenship.”

He explained that digital citizenship is the way the division frames social media safety education.

“Things develop so quickly,” he said. “There is always something new that is out there, so what we really try to drill it down into with the students is when it is appropriate for a particular grade level, we really want to talk about everything related to that.

“For example, we talk to them about security and privacy and what that means. There has been a lot of challenges about that in our society, so that is important for us to bring resources to our teachers to support what is appropriate for the grade level.”

The division also works constantly to address any concerns with social bullying, he said.

Asked if students take the lessons learned about social media to their lives outside the school community, he said, “I know school from time to time will bring in guest speakers to help support the students. Of course teachers will with newsletters communicate when necessary with parents certain things.

“When it comes to all of this parents play such an important role, that they are supporting their children at home and we do it together. I know our administrators really try to communicate back to parents.”

Social media use can and does play a positive role in the learning process, he said.

“It can support relationships and communication,” he said.

CESD’s technology responsible use terms and conditions policy states, in part: 

• The division does provide content filtering controls for student access to the internet using the division’s network as well as reasonable adult supervision, but at times inappropriate, objectionable and/or offensive material may circumvent the filter as well as the supervision and be viewed by students. Students are to report the occurrence to their teacher or the nearest supervisor. Students will be held accountable for any deliberate attempt to circumvent division technology security and supervision.

• Students using mobile and cellular devices on networks other than the division’s network are subject to the rights and responsibilities outlined in this document and are accountable for their use.

“It is one of the technology goals of Chinook’s Edge School Division to ensure that student’s interactions with the use of technology contribute positively to the learning environment both at school and in the community,” the policy states.

“Negative use of technology that degrades or defames members of our communities, or the division, is unacceptable.”

 



Dan Singleton

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