Information and updates from the office of the Chief Technology Officer
For Students at Home:
- “Disconnect” at least one hour before bedtime. This includes all forms of media and requires online-based homework to be done well in advance of bedtime;
- Keep electronic devices out of bedrooms for a sounder sleep.
- Encourage students, when appropriate, to customize their device screens using tools such as ScreenShader designed to reduce potential eye strain and fatigue
- Consider providing students with options for good behavior that include physical activity and social interaction rather than “device time”;
- When requested, provide paper alternatives for take-home class work.
Schools are spending billions on digital tools. Students have little to show for it.
A Subcommittee of the Health & Safety Committee
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Review Essay from MCCPTA Safe Technology Subcommittee
NOT OFFICIALLY ADOPTED BY MCCPTA
Digital Safety at School and at Home
Lisa Cline, chair
The MCCPTA Safe Technology Subcommittee would like to share the following recommendations for using technology at school and at home.
For Students at School:
- Consider placing Chromebooks/laptops on desks and tables rather than in laps;
- Don’t forget to shut down and log off of Chromebooks/laptops when moving from classroom to classroom;
- Consider turning off cell phones and keeping them in backpacks or lockers off when not in use;
- If necessary, take eye breaks, 1-to 2 minutes in length, approximately every 15 minutes;
- Attend to task! Avoid distractions such as reading email, playing games, or browsing the Internet;
- Engage in face-to-face socialization, especially at free time, lunch, and recess;
- Always use the Internet and devices for educational purposes in accordance with MCPS’s responsible use policies;
- Use resources that do not infringe on another’s copyright or trademark rights.
MCPS students and families who use apps to access MyMCPS, the official school system's portal, should know that there is only one official school-approved app myMCPS. It is available on iTunes store and Google Play.
All other apps offering MCPS students help with grades are not affiliated with MCPS and are created by third-parties even though they have "MCPS" in the name. They are also available on iTunes App Store, Google Play and other app stores. They allow users to view new and old grades, GPA, class schedule, teachers, new assignments, and can build "what-if" reports for pathways and impacts on GPA. ("View your classes and manage your grades for MyMCPS," "This app lets you see all of your grades.") In the process, they access and collect protected student data, including IDs and passwords. They likely also download and store this data. Some of them have interfaces similar to the official MCPS portal. Their advertising materials even show names of MCPS teachers.
Most of these apps have no age restriction (4+ in iTunes) and their Privacy Policies and Terms of Service are not readily available.
Please use caution with these apps. Weigh utility and privacy. If you are concerned about the privacy of a student using these apps, you may report them to iTunes, GooglePlay, and other app stores, as they are collecting student information without FERPA and COPPA authorization or protections.