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Unit 4: Introduction

Emerging Technology And The Connected Teacher

Cell phones.  iPods.  Digital cameras.  Facebook.  The world has changed in significant ways over the last decade and has presented teachers with new opportunities and means to teach and interact with students, parents and the community. With these increased opportunities come challenges to maintaining appropriate boundaries with students and an increased risk for teachers to make poor decisions that affect their professional careers.  Look at the newspapers or watch the evening news.  It is apparent that a disturbing number of teachers are making poor decisions that undermine their fiduciary responsibilities as teachers and call into question their role as moral exemplars in the community. In many of the cases that come before the PSPC, technology plays an important role as either evidence of misconduct or as the source of the misconduct itself.

In this module, we will examine different emerging technologies and how teachers can use these tools safely and ethically. We will also outline expectations for professional judgment and behavior online and discuss pertinent laws and regulations that outline professional expectations.

From the News

Recently, in North Carolina, parents were waking up to news of seven teachers who had posted inappropriate material to their Facebook accounts.  While some of the material included indecent pictures of the accused teachers, there were also posts that called one elementary school "the most ghetto school in Charlotte." Watch the video on this page.

Discussion Questions

  1. In the video, the mother says "These are my kids and I want them to be able to go to a school where all the teachers love their jobs and love their kids."  As a teacher, do you believe that these parental expectations are too high to meet or unrealistic?
  2. The superintendent states in the video that teachers have "a higher standard to reach". Is this higher standard "fair"?  In what areas  do you believe that new teachers might struggle the most?
  3. Would there have been a different outcome if the teachers in the video confined their comments to the teachers’ lunch room? Identify some appropriate methods for teachers to vent frustrations?

Unit 4