Florence schools teach 'digital citizenship' with iPads - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Florence schools teach 'digital citizenship' with iPads

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Florence school iPads will not be restricted outside of class. Florence school iPads will not be restricted outside of class.

In September, a California school district faced an early setback on their iPad initiative after high school students were caught using their devices to access "non-educational" sites.

Officials with Florence City Schools, in the midst of their own iPad project, said they want students to have the freedom to use the tablets for what they want after school. They said one of the main focuses is to teach students about responsible digital citizenship.

"We have taken careful measures to ensure our students do not have access to anything that they shouldn't have while on campus. We do have filtering systems so they're not able to get to any sites that would be considered inappropriate," said the school system's Director of Technology, Chris Westbrook.

While in class, the district's IT staff has taken measures to ensure students can only use their devices for educational purposes. Outside of school, however, students are free to use their iPads as they wish.

"We provide the student with an open iPad and we want to teach digital citizenship," said Westbrook.

At the beginning of the school year, both students and parents signed an acceptable use policy, discussing the importance of being responsible online.

"Digital citizenship is of the utmost importance, whether you are in fifth grade or 60 and have an iPad. The digital footprint that you leave will stay with you," Westbrook said.

Officials said students know that if they tinker with the settings and try to reset their iPads, it will only hurt them when they return to school.

"If that child leaves our campus and they reset it to factory original [settings] and bring it back to campus, they bring back a brick. The iPad will not access our wi-fi, the iPad will not be able to be used for instructional purposes and the instructional software that's provided for the classroom. At that level, we know the child has used it inappropriately and we can take the necessary restrictions," Westbrook said.

The acceptable use policy and other information related to the iPad initiative, you can visit the Florence City Schools IT page.

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