AASL releases white paper on technology use in schools

For Immediate Release
Tue, 10/02/2012

Contact:

Jennifer Habley
Manager, Web Communications
American Association of School Librarians (AASL)
800-545-2433 ext.4383
jhabley@ala.org

CHICAGO — The American Association of School Librarians (AASL), in conjunction with its second annual Banned Websites Awareness Day, has released a white paper covering the appropriate use of educational technology in schools.  The paper covers the topics of filtering practices, acceptable use policies (AUPs), apps, social media, bring your own device (BYOD) and other related subjects and can be read via the AASL website at www.ala.org/aasl/educational-technology.

The paper states that when used appropriately, educational technology is a tool to assist with implementation of the Common Core State Standards, help raise graduation rates and prepare students for life beyond K-12 education. It further clarifies that technology employed in isolation, without direct instruction, or highly qualified guidance, fails to address those concerns.

The paper looks at the mandates of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and its relationship to school and/or district filtering of websites and the implementation of acceptable use policies. While filtering practices and compliance with CIPA requires students and their parents sign AUPs, the paper stresses the need to educate students about how to be ethical, productive digital citizens. It also encourages school staff to be proactive and aware of the filtering practices used in their schools to understand what is being filtered and how it is being filtered.

Looking at the social aspects of educational technology, the paper reviews policies and procedures relating to the expanding use of apps (applications - software or programs for computers and mobile devices), the collaborative nature of learning through social networking websites and the growing trend of bring your own device (BYOD) and/or bring your own technology (BYOT). In this area, also, the paper emphasizes the need for educators to be proactive and engaged not only to keep the tools within acceptable use, but to effectively integrate their use within the learning environment.

"The ever-evolving nature of digital learning environments requires flexible, yet thoughtful development of Internet and Web-related policies and practices that ensure that students and teachers are connected with tools and resources that are essential to their daily needs," said Susan Ballard, AASL president.  "AASL’s white paper, Educational Technology in Schools, is essential reading for all school communities as they review, refresh and revise their approach to access."

The paper can be read in its entirety on the AASL website at www.ala.org/aasl/educational-technology

The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library field.