Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Legal and ethical contexts in my digital practice - Activity 5

After watching the video "The commitment to Parents/Guardians and Family" I could really relate to the scenario of how is it appropriate to share media with the community. At Redcliffs School we use Blogger to share children’s learning. In the early days of Blogging we had issues of teachers taking photos of children holding certificates displaying their names even though It was explained clearly several times why not to do it. Other issues arose when children shared news and it was posted on Blogger with their name. We have successfully learnt from these scenarios through educating teachers at staff meetings.

When children enrol at our school they sign a media consent form and an ICT agreement. On Year 5 camp they sign a new agreement as to whether the camp is allowed to take photos of the children to use on their website.  Henderson, Johnson, & Auld (2013) highlighted when students do give consent for their images, texts and identities to be used in the classroom, teachers should be aware that this consent might need to be renegotiated at regular intervals.

At one stage we had some children who hadn’t allowed media consent and we had to make sure they were not in images we were posting on social media. Fortunately through education of our parents and an explanation of how we were using the images we are currently able to get 100% agreement. Having 100% is not the aim as parents have the right to decide whether they wish to give consent. Also although we have this consent there are times we do not post images to respect the children’s privacy as mentioned in the Code Of Ethics for Certified Teachers.
An example of this when we had been through a successful campaign to save our school from a proposal of closure. When the announcement was being made it was really important to keep the media out of our school grounds and protect the privacy of our students. Although we knew it would make a positive news story seeing the children’s smiling faces on National Television. We always try to ask parents/caregivers for permission before any outside media agency interviews or photographs the children. The Board of trustees strategized with the staff and media how they could best manage sharing the news story so the children’s privacy could be respected.
In School Docs the guidelines for our school are very clearly laid out. We can refer to them for our own personal understanding but we are often reminded to let the Board of trustees be the spokesperson for the school when fronting the media.
Hall (2001) highlighted that as teachers are responsible for the use of social media in the classroom they need to consider the relationships with students and the community outside of school.

Developing an awareness of how to make ethical decisions is essential and having an understanding of the school’s policy on sharing images and social media interactions is critical.

Education Council. (n.d). The Education Council Code of Ethics for Certficated Teachers. Retrieved from https://educationcouncil.org.nz/content/code-of-ethics-certificated-teachers-0
Hall, A. (2001). What ought I to do, all things considered? An approach to the exploration of ethical problems by teachers. Paper presented at the IIPE Conference, Brisbane. Retrieved from http://www.educationalleaders.govt.nz/Culture/Developing-leaders/What-Ought-I-to-Do-All-Things-Considered-An-Approach-to-the-Exploration-of-Ethical-Problems-by-Teachers
Henderson, M., Auld, G., & Johnson, N. F. (2014). Ethics of Teaching with Social Media. Paper presented at the Australian Computers in Education Conference 2014, Adelaide, SA. Retrieved from http://acec2014.acce.edu.au/sites/2014/files/attachments/HendersonAuldJohnson_EthicalDilemmas_ACEC_2014_0.pdf
Ministry of Education. (2015). Digital technology - Safe and responsible use in schools. Retrieved from http://www.education.govt.nz/assets/Documents/School/Managing-and-supporting-students/DigitalTechnologySafeAndResponsibleUseInSchs.pdf


  1. Hi Dion
    I like your observation that the consent for using images in media needs to regularly negotiated. I would suspect this is something that is forgotten about in many schools. With my class I write a weekly update on my class web page on what they have done during the week. In my previous school we used Ultranet although the class pages were open to the public so only first names were used, if any names were used at all. In my current school we also use Ultranet although I have the page set so only parents from the class can log into the page as well as the children themselves.

    It is an ethical dilemma, in our media savvy age, about how much information to give out. I suppose the question we ultimately need to keep asking ourselves is what could be the possible outcomes in future years of what we choose to post now? As adults we are better equipped to identify possible areas online that maybe potentially damaging, or are we? On a daily basis the internet opens up a whole new can of worms and traps in which even the wary can fall into. We always need to be aware of our digital footprint.

    1. Thanks for your comment Brigid. We are using Ultranet as well but our parents are reading our class pages less frequently. As teachers move to other social media I can see we are going to experience a few issues as teachers navigate security settings in the initial setting up. Talking with parents and staff about who has access will be another conversation we will need to have before we make any changes.

  2. I can relate to this Post Dion. Our school has technology heavily implemented through all school-wide activities, teaching programmes and events that take place. Images are popping up left right and centre and it is so easily forgotten about parental consent! With technology on developing even more and becoming more and more integral in schools these sort of issues are bound to become more prominent. We have consent forms which are signed when a child first enrols in school but is hardly even looked back on unless reminded by someone.

    1. Thanks for your comment Amanda. We are very lucky that the Y5 camp leaders are proactive about asking for consent. Recently I had to throw three news reporters out of our school grounds for photographing our students without permission. They were trying to get a National news story for the 6pm News and although they knew they were not allowed on site they were willing to take images and interview the kids without parental consent.

  3. Interesting Dion with the News cameras etc. We have similar issues around the use of facebook to share exciting information. I find the senior leaders are very casual about sharing photos of students one the site, even sometime adding pictures with names. Even lately sharing picture of a child who wasn't with the school attending the school fair. I find that when mentioned to our school leader the issues fall on deaf ears.

  4. Hi Dion, I am coming into this discussion a bit late, but can really relate to this dilemma. We have blogs for each of our classrooms and we are very careful about putting the children's names onto posts. If they are put on, it is first name only but what if their first name is quite unique. There are situations where estranged family members want to find their relations and putting in a search with this unique name is bound to come up with something. Have you had any situations like this? If so, have you any ideas around this as it does seem a shame to not include this child on the blog posts.
    Another situation that I have faced is parents on trips taking photos, unaware of any breech in policy, and then posting on their facebook page. I suppose it is as simple as having a conversations beforehand to make sure all parents are aware of the protocols - a little like the police vetting system or the RAMs of social media on school trips. It is up to us to develop that awareness of our school policy around the sharing of images especially on social media.