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PTG Open Forum Explores Technology in School

November 23, 2015

What is the place of technology in the classroom? How should parents and teachers monitor students’ use of mobile devices and social media? What exactly are students doing online, anyway?

  • Parent-Teacher Group Open Forum British International School of Boston

These were just a few of the questions raised Wednesday night at the first Parent-Teacher Group Open Forum of the school year, which brought parents, teachers and students together to discuss the school’s use of technology in the classroom.

The school is currently reviewing its acceptable use policy, which outlines how technology can be used by students during class time and during free time. The school is working to update this policy and is seeking input from all stakeholders in the school community to create a cohesive digital citizenship policy. The PTG Open Forum on Wednesday was the first step in this process.

“Last night’s Forum was an excellent opportunity to hear from our teachers, parents and students. It was clear that there are many differing points of view regarding how technology should be used both inside and outside our classrooms,” said Headmaster Paul Wiseman. “It is our duty to ensure our students are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the future. However, more importantly, we must insist that the values and principles we teach our children remain central and unwavering.”

The forum featured a presentation from Head of ICT Peter Napthine, with input from four members of our Student Council. The Middle and High School students then joined parents and school staff in small group discussions about how students can stay safe online and how to help students use technology responsibly and intelligently.

Parents in attendance shared a variety of views with the school, and were given the opportunity to ask questions of school staff and students. Many of the parents said they left the forum feeling more confident about students’ commitment to staying safe online.

“Parents, students and teachers each came to the conversation with a great deal of enthusiasm, interest, and concerns,” said PTG member Marni Centor. “Having the students involved in the brainstorming discussions provided fresh, enlightening perspectives that many parents might not have considered previously.”

PTG member Leada Sarram said the forum made it clear that student involvement in the process of updating the acceptable use policy will be key.

“I was very impressed with their insight into the issues around technology and the Internet and the delivery of their thoughts to the group of parents,” she said.

Following the forum, the Parent-Teacher Group plans to survey the school community- parents, students and staff- to gather a wider range of opinions and ideas on the topics discussed, and to solicit volunteers to participate in a working group that will provide input for a new digital citizenship policy for the school.

Mr. Wiseman said he’s looking forward to involving the entire school community in the discussion of digital citizenship.                                                                     

“With parents, teachers and students working together, we will create an authentic BISB policy and practice that our children will both understand, own and commit to day-to-day at home and at school,” he said. “It must be a policy that makes our children responsible and keeps them safe, while enabling them to take full advantage of all the wonderful learning opportunities and benefits that technology brings into our personal and professional lives.”

Click here to view the full presentation from the PTG Open Forum.

Click here to view the full video from the PTG Open Forum.