Germantown school district working to promote digital citizenship

Aug. 18, 2014

Germantown — Just as the use of technology continues to evolve in society, the Germantown School District is working to improve how teachers and students use technology in and outside the classroom.

In an Aug. 11 presentation to the school board, Technology and Assessment Specialist Scott Oftedahl walked through a preliminary draft of a districtwide technology plan that outlines the district's initiatives relating to technology use over the course of the next several years. The integration of usage of Google apps has already occurred, but Oftedahl said there are a lot more developments to come through the 2016-17 school year.

"One key piece of this is more collaboration to plan integration of digital citizenship activities (and) guidance to students on how to be using them appropriately in the classroom," Oftedahl explained.

The plan proposes the integration of more options for students to learn, create and share their work, and encourages teachers to use mobile devices to provide immediate feedback on assignments and assessments. It references a movement toward "anytime, anywhere" learning such as online course content and discussion forums.

"(There will be) more learning options for students, more learning resources that will be available 24/7," Oftedahl said. "We are encouraging teachers to convert from print format to digital format so students can use devices any time of day to access (the information)."

The issue of where the devices will come from is still being discussed, as Oftedahl said there are challenges involved with encouraging students to bring their own devices to school.

"The bring your own device program brings up more problems than we could ever solve," said board member Brian Medved. " I don't know that we could ever implement a perfect policy to have a bring your own device."

While he said he understands the expense of the idea, Medved said he would much rather see the district move toward a one-to-one policy in which the district provides devices to students.

While a decision has yet to be made about the devices themselves, Oftedahl said changes to occur during the 2014-15 school year include the overlay of technology into the curriculum as a tool for learning and additional instruction for teachers on how to effectively use technology in and outside the classroom to encourage what Oftedahl referred to as digital citizenship.

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