Monday, May 28, 2007

School Board Policy 2.0

I received an email recently from a school board member wondering if I knew of any school districts that had policies related to Web 2.0 tools. Now I know that most districts have policies relating to acceptable use of the Internet and regarding the use of an Internet filter, but that’s not what she was asking about. She wasn’t asking about policies restricting or regulating the use of Web 2.0 tools, she was asking about policies that encouraged their use.
Our board of education would like to move faster and generate more systemic growth and are exploring the possibility of writing a policy that would reflect our commitment to 21st century skills/tech tools . . . [We are] focused on working with our administrators and teachers to design/implement programs that are not "add ons". . . What we really want is to bring more people along more quickly - therefore we are exploring the possibility of writing a policy that will empower and support teachers, but at the same time, clearly state that the board is looking for implementation.
She indicated that they have small groups of teachers that are using tools such as Moodle, podcasts and wikis, and they are slowly spreading the word, but the board is wondering how to foster a more systemic application of 21st century tools.

I replied that I didn’t know of any districts that had such a policy, but I’d throw it out to the rest of the blogosphere to see if anyone else did. If you know of any, or have any suggestions, please leave a comment and I’ll send it along.


  1. Our district is in the process of rewriting our policies but that effort is driven by a state mandate to teach internet safety. Administrators acknowledge the existence of Web 2.0 tools (or at least they use that language) but it's clear from the meetings I attend that few people in the room understand them.

    Some of us are pushing for a positive approach, including specific training for students on how to responsibly create for the web. Unfortunately, the result will probably be more filtering and close systems.

    I'll be interested to read what your other visitors have to say about policies in their districts.

  2. Frankly, I don't understand the reluctance of education systems to embrace new technologies. By becoming proactive and developing policies to encourage web 2.0 participation, many issues could be avoided.

    I don't know of any policy of this nature. I teach in Canada.

  3. My district in Michigan has a "Tech Council" and a goal for next year is to review and create new policies to keep up with the times. I have also been looking for luck. We need to pave the trail, I guess!

  4. I'm on the Littleton school board (where Karl is) and rather than have a BOE policy about moving forward with technology, we have it as part of our district's Strategic Plan within both our Core Beliefs and as a Focus Area for the district. This approach allows the Board and our Community to shine a light on the importance of technology for our students, but gives the business of making it happen to the administration, staff and teachers.

    Here's what we have written.

    Core Beliefs: Effective use of technology creates powerful instructional systems and enables students to successfully communicate and compete in a global environment.

    Focus Area: Expand access to instructional technology with appropriate use for student achievement while provding the infrastructure for organizational efficiency and effectiveness.

    And of course, these areas tie back to a belief and focus on the importance of professional development for teachers.

  5. PS to above post: Our Board also chartered an Educational Technology Advisory Committee (ETAC) composed of staff, teachers, high school students, parents and community members. Our CIO facilitates the committee and we have a Board liason for the committee (me) as well. We meet monthly, meeting at a different school each month. Each school does a 30 minute "Celebrate Our Successes" presentation of their own choosing for the ETAC. I'd highly recommend adding this to any district as they move forward with technology.

  6. Last PS to above posts. The Chair for ETAC is selected and elected from members of the committee. The end - I promise.

  7. East Lothian Education Department in Scotland is probably a good place to contact. You need to speak to East Lothian's Head of Education Service Don Ledinghem (, David Gilmour, or Ewan McIntosh (yes, THAT Ewan McIntosh).

    East Lothian have been grappling with this issue for a while now and have one of the most enlightened approaches you are likely to find... they're also very approachable people with a desire for moving education forward.