Taking Teaching Online

Taking Teaching Online

On Wednesday 6th May, a number of our teachers joined 900 other educators across New Zealand to participate in a Webinar with John Parsons. John is a very well known Online Safety Educator.

His website allows parents to purchase his book “Keeping your Children Safe Online”.

John describes the internet as a “target-rich, offender-friendly environment”, he noted that criminals are much more motivated at present to groom young people because of their online availability. Parents should be aware of the risks associated with internet use. In the attached picture, you’ll see some startling statistics regarding young people across New Zealand.

In the webinar, John reminded the professionals present that schools have no legal jurisdiction over home internet use. He stated that “parents and guardians need to step up and contribute to their child’s wellbeing with increased vigilance”.

He made the following points for parents:

  • Teach children how to talk to strangers safely - the ‘stranger danger’ message is no longer valid

  • Being a nosy parent with online platforms is your right and shows you are involved in parenting your child

  • Social Media is not necessary for pre-teens and young teenagers. At best it is a platform for targetted advertising, at worst a criminal playground

  • Ensure your child understands basic concepts for online learning such as dressing appropriately, having an appropriate place to work in the house which is visible to adults, no bedroom computers or closed environments, no recording teachers or other students without their consent, how they can report any concerns etc

He made the following points for teachers:

  • Child protection and online learning policies are still in place. Concerns should be logged and reported

  • Protect your professional boundaries

  • Ensure you take adequate breaks and you are only dealing with school matters during the normal working day

  • Ensure your video conferencing background protects your family and your privacy

  • Know how to turn a conference or a participant off quickly if required

  • Encourage parental use of safety software (this is our preferred programme link)

The Catlins Area School Online Learning Policy is currently being updated by the Board in response to our current situation. This is a copy of our proposed Policy which will soon be adopted:

Delivering Online Learning

Staff should treat the online learning space as an extension of the school and classroom, and all the relevant school policies apply.

Parents are responsible for monitoring attendance and appropriate engagement with online learning programmes, supported by school timetables and the staff or leadership at school. There is an expectation that students will remain in contact with teachers and be engaging with the learning programme at their level. 

Staff delivering online teaching and learning outside of the school premises (at either end of the conference) are expected to maintain professional standards and must:

  • notify parents about the use of online learning/video conferencing (this may be a whole school communication or link to a timetable etc)

  • set clear expectations around staff availability and response time 

  • maintain clear boundaries by communicating with students at appropriate times of the day (school hours) and through the school-approved education platforms such as Zoom, Hangouts, Google Classroom, Study Ladder, Seesaw, Education Perfect etc.

  • keep student information secure and confidential

  • endeavour to understand the technology and know how to control the actions students can perform (e.g. muting microphones, blocking video content, and sharing screens where appropriate)

  • consider location when connecting via video, e.g. avoid using personal spaces such as bedrooms when conferencing with students or recording lessons

  • dress appropriately

  • minimise one-on-one online tutoring. If essential, endeavour to have another adult presence at either the staff or student end of the conference or to record the meeting or details of the meeting for safety purposes

  • keep records/recordings of any video/online conference for safety purposes.

If you would like to provide feedback to the Board on this proposed policy, please email the feedback to [email protected]