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Legal Context and Digital Identities in a Primary School

As is the case in many schools, the expectation to have policies and guidelines, which aligns with the ethos of the school has come about with the introduction of eLearning in schools. Digital citizenship was implemented in our school as part of our ICT cluster contract which begun in 2009. In a vastly growing environment, we were unable to directly advance upon these without the help of eLearning facilitators from across the country. There we created a policy around the use of the technology and the importance of programmes and safety in its application.

However, it was towards the end of our contract in 2011, when Netsafe was able to introduce The Netsafe Kit for Schools, “helps schools to address student cybersafety and support digital citizenship. (Netsafe, 2015)

In order for there to be protection, we currently have Internet Filtering which is currently done through the N4L portal. Ultimately the internet filtering would give protection for our students and staff from inappropriate material which are in some form or another blocked.

There is some degree of filtering which needs to be on a consensus for the use of Social Media within the school. Eg. The use of Youtube at present is allowed as it pertains to learning and can be useful; however there is a high degree of trust expected by the users.

Social Networking is allowed through the ‘Messages’ portal on Ultranet, which allows our students to have Literacy sessions with their teachers to impart knowledge around Internet etiquette. However, social networking through Facebook, snapchat or Instagram is not allowed, due to high risk of causing harm whilst in the care of the school, also to instill the age limitations of these social networks and to prevent distractions and inappropriate use of Technological Devices.

Unfortunately due to a low socio economic community, we are unable to have BYOD established within the school community therefore the school provides 100% of the equipment used by students and staff whether it be through leasing or purchase.

Malicious damage to equipment is investigated and should it be found that the cause is through negligence of the student or the staff member, the party will incur recovery costs of the equipment. All staff members’ sign loan agreements for the equipment left in their care for use in the classrooms.

Students who are allocated individual devices for any reason are also required to sign loan agreements with the same clauses as above.

To protect student privacy, parents sign an agreement that their child’s image and work will only be published on official school media for educational purposes.

A lot of our expectations upon our students enables them to be trusted with their use of digital technology. There work is primarily showcased on a closed circuit on our Ultranet portal which is accessible through log ins which families receive at the beginning of a new year or if they are newly enrolled. The log in and password follows their whole family until the last one leaves our school community.

Secondly, the school uses Google Documents, which are progressing with to allow for the integration of Google Classroom and Google Apps for Education.

Consistency with teaching Digital Citizenship is often varied according to the understanding or the use of technology in individual classrooms. We will often only teach this if some cause should arise.

The Responsible Use Agreement (Netsafe, 2011) is used with adaptations add upon review of the policies and procedures. Primarily, we have an eLearning team who are responsible for this policy and its application within the school, therefore the agreement is:

  • Currently signed annually by students (parents) and staff
  • Outlines the school expectations
  • Explained and talked through at the start of the year, term and for new staff and students as an induction process

Staff Agreement of Responsible Use is much more explicit with reference to the professional guidelines and Codes of Ethics Principles as a guide. I strongly believe that where there is technology, there will be expectations and consequences if those expectations are not met. Therefore, cybersafety breaches are taken seriously no matter whether they are 5 or 12. The application of consistency is imperative and if our families sign the cybersafety form,and primarily agree to the situation, they too agree with the consequences of such behaviour. 

If however, a parent does not consent to the whole Code of Behaviour or the Responsible Use Agreement, the student is not able to use a device unless the teacher is in control of the device. The student should not be punished for something the parent doesn’t agree on. At no time, will the device be left in the care of the student.

Cyberbullying is not tolerated at any level. It will be treated with as much vigour and time as is appropriate at the time using the policies under Bullying Prevention and Response guidelines. It will also be covered under the behaviour management plan.

With every part of Digital Citizenship as possible. It is important that the process is transparent.

Joosten, T.( 2013. October 22). Pearson: Social Media for Teaching and Learning. Retrieved from

Mangere Central School. (2014). eLearning procedures. [Unpublished paper].

Mangere Central School. (2015). Behaviour Management Plan.  [Unpublished paper].

Mangere Central School. (2015). Responsible Use Agreement. [Unpublished paper].

New Zealand Teachers Council. (2015). Teachers & Social Media. Retrieved from

New Zealand Teachers Council.(2012). Establishing safeguards.[video file]. Retrieved from

Tvoparents. (2013, May 21). Using Social Media in the Classroom.[video file]. Retrieved from

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