Parental strategies for technology use at home
We are committed to integrating technology into the classroom curriculum using research-based instructional methods and ongoing professional development. To do so, we have initiated the One-to-One Program which has equipped 7,000 of our students and staff with an iPad device. However, District 211 understands that students are leveraging personal and household devices to enhance their learning. We believe leveraging this technology is essential so that when our students graduate, they will walk out our doors with the skills needed to be as competitive as anyone in the world.
While we do not install controls on the student iPads for school use, we have heard from parents that they would like to know what their options are for reinforcing positive behaviors using the built-in restrictions. In an effort to help parents, District 211 has developed the following list of strategies.
Easing the transition to a digital learning environment at home:
- Have a family discussion about digital devices and come up with ground rules for timely and appropriate use. Suggestions might include: “technology free” mealtimes; device used only for learning activities during the week; video games only allowed on weekends; limited social media use during “family time.”
- Set guidelines for appropriate social media use. Social Media and the internet can have long-term unintended consequences. Encourage your students to provide access to their social media accounts and help guide the posting of appropriate information.
- For younger family members, the iPad allows for enabling an option called Guided Access. This “locks” the device into a single application of the parents choice keeping younger children focused on a single task as well as preventing the ability to get into any other app until the Guided Access is removed or modified. For more information on Guided Access go to this link: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5509
- Additional limitations can be placed on an iPad through the use of Restrictions (parental controls). This feature is built into iOS and can be accessed through the iPad Settings app. The Restrictions feature can limit the ability to install apps and make in-app purchases, as well as enabling rating controls on websites and media content. For more on this feature go to: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht4213
- Disable/restrict wifi access through the family internet router. Many wifi routers have the ability to set-up automated access “timeframes” for when wireless access to the internet can be used. The wifi router then turns on and off internet access according to that schedule. Other options would be to simply change the wifi password and only provide the new one when deemed appropriate and necessary. Consult the wireless manufacturer’s or internet providers support site for information on whether the wifi router owned is capable of setting up automatic internet access timeframes or for instruction on changing the wifi password/key.
- Parental control solutions are available for parents to manage internet access on the home network. Such solutions can give parents the ability to filter internet contents to all devices that connect to the home network. There are free versions and paid services that will provide more robust control.
We look forward to partnering with families as we strive to prepare our students for their future.