Friday, February 11, 2011

Highway 46: Thinking Pink and Technology

Elementary Students, Trustees and Senior Management attended a Highway 46 Student Focused Talkback session. They are wearing Pink Anti-Bullying T-Shirts.  Pink T-Shirt Day is WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 23rd and everyone is encouraged to wear something pink to symbolize that we, as a society, will not tolerate bullying anywhere.

Today we held our latest student feedback session that we have dubbed Highway 46.  The theme of today's session with students from our elementary schools (grades six and seven) was technology implications in our schools and cyber bullying.  We picked up on some themes generated in the latest edition of Educational Leadership as prompts for the conversation. Here's one of the prompts we used:

Does getting a cell phone at a really young age influence kids' 
writing because they are texting before their writing is fully developed?

As always happens when we invite students to the conversation and take an active listening role, many great comments were generated.  The kids also had no difficulty sharing out their thoughts and the ninety minutes passed by quickly. Some of the feedback from today that struck a chord with the adults included these thoughts:

"If you want to have secure sites in the school and limit internet access,
you should change the passwords regularly.  Everyone here knows the
password at their school and can get on the internet easily."

"Our teachers should give assignments through e-mail.  When I'm sick
I want to be able to get to my work.  Maybe a webcam connected to the
classroom might allow me to take in the lesson and still stay on track."

It was interesting to gauge the level of expectation these students had on keeping schools secure from some sites they deemed to be troublesome (Facebook, most e-mail access) as we prepare to hold a similar meeting with high school students next Wednesday.  We have heard from our secondary schools that students want open access to the internet and feel they can be responsible users.

I am interested to hear what's working in other jurisdictions and what restrictions are in place.


  1. Great post Tom. I love the idea of feedback sessions with students...GREAT idea! There is always the struggle between too much and too little access...that's the double-edged sword of technology. I think kids will always say they'll be responsible and most will...finding the right balance is not easy. We want them to embrace technology in all the right ways. I am looking forward to hearing what your HS students say! Thanks!

  2. Thanks Tom. It has been an eye opener. We also request that schools send new kids each time so we tap in to as many different voices as possible. The high schoolers will be primed as rumblings of closing off access are permeating their hallways. I'm looking forward to the Wednesday session.