The Internet and its associated resources do have great educational potential. But there are also many issues that you, as a teacher, need to consider as well. As the news says, there are very inappropriate sites on the Internet as well as inappropriate people. These are a few precautions you can take for your students and yourself:
. Read and understand your school's or your school district's Internet and Appropriate Use Policy (AUP)
1. These documents describe the school's and district's policies on use of the Internet.
. Make sure your students read and understand the school's or school district's Internet and Appropriate Use Policy. These documents are no different from the student handbook or behavior code. Students need to understand and abide by them.
Bruce Droste, director of the Virtual High School of the Concord Consortium in Concord, MA, discusses the relationship between technology and teachers.
. Be aware of what your students can get on the Internet. Many schools and school districts now use filtering software
2, but some don't. Be aware that your students can find inappropriate material whether or not your school or district is using filtering software. Have a plan and tell your students what to do if they find material that is obscene or otherwise inappropriate. Make sure your students understand there are consequences if they deliberately access inappropriate sites. This can be difficult, but discipline is not always punishment, and sometimes students learn by crossing a line.
. When in doubt, ask questions. To protect your students and yourself, never be afraid to ask questions. You do not need to be alarmist about the issues on the Internet, but you need to be aware of potential problems and have ways of dealing with them.