Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master.-- Christian Lous Lange
We live in an age of instant access to information, socialization, and entertainment through a host of devices. The benefits are many, and our classrooms work to employ technology where it will have the greatest benefit. Thanks to the Livermore Valley Education Foundation and their generous grant of more than $15,000, we have added more Chromebooks and iPads to increase students’ access to educational tools. The modernization of our classrooms has begun, through the support of the community in passing Measure J. By mid-February every classroom will have state-of-the-art projectors and teacher amplification systems. Teachers are already noting improvements in presentation quality and increased focus and attention from students. Learning websites allow students individualized practice on key learning skills. These are exciting benefits for our students.
Technology also brings its share of challenges, including the impact of social media on self-esteem and emotional well-being and access to unwanted images and material through websites. The protective filters in our schools are very secure. Additionally, reports are run daily to monitor if searches for inappropriate material occur on a district device. During Library time, students have lessons on safe use of technology and recognizing and reporting cyberbullying. Still, things can happen. The best protection is to be vigilant and have regular conversations with your children about what they are viewing, downloading, or playing on their devices. The District sent out a very informative letter in January. You can find the Online Safety Reminders letter here.
In our ongoing efforts to help students focus on learning, foster positive social relationships, and engage in imaginative and physical activity, our Board has created policies around cell phone and electronic device use at school. Elementary aged students are allowed to have cell phones or other electronic devices for communication. As stated in the Handbook, all electronic devices (cell phones, smart watches, tablets, etc.) need to be off and in a backpack or secured location throughout the school day. The school day begins when your student arrives on campus. We have had concerns with students taking images of friends during the minutes before and after school and posting them. Students have also shared websites, apps, and other materials that are not conducive to a positive environment. All devices need to be turned off and put away upon arriving at school. This includes rainy day recess. Should your child need to reach you once at school, they may come to the office and call. Should a device be in use, it will be taken away from the student and parent contact made. Thank you for your support in keeping students focused on learning, and helping them further develop socially, athletically, and in using good judgement.
For more food for thought regarding personal technology, I recommend this short video from philosopher and researcher, Simon Sinek. Also, in March, Vine Cinema in Livermore will be screening a film, “Screen Angels”. More details to follow regarding that opportunity.
With children in mind,
Kendra L. Helsley, Principal