Using technology

For teachers and professionals, technology is a vital part of your professional and personal lives. The following checklist has been designed to ensure that you are ready to face these challenges whether in your workplace or at home.

Visit our school pack for online safety awareness for more information…

At home

  • How can I manage my online reputation? Open or Close

    Searching your name online will allow you review online content which relates to you. This will give you the opportunity to take steps to secure or remove any private or unwanted content. Choose your profile picture wisely, even with a private account the profile picture is usually visible. Think carefully about the type of image you choose, considering how pupils, parents and employers may view you and your online content.

    Be aware also, that schools have policies about anything which causes harm or distress to others or brings the name of the school into disrepute, including content posted out of school or out of school hours. For further guidance, see the Social Networking Guide for Trainee Teachers and NQTs.

  • How can I keep my content secure? Open or Close

    It is good practice to make use of your privacy settings allowing you to control who can see the content you share. They can usually be found within the settings of the account. Although remember that content can easily be screenshotted and shared more publically.

    Ensure your devises are protected with a pin or passcode lock to safeguard your personal data and images.

    Make sure you have strong passwords, use a mixture of lower and upper case letters, symbols and numbers within password as this will make it stronger, change them regularly and keep them to yourself.

    Take care to log out of online accounts, including SNS and your school laptop/computer. This ensures your content is secure even if the device falls into the wrong hands.

  • What should I do if I am the target of cyberbullying or negative online behaviour? Open or Close

    Don’t retaliate as this will often aggravate the situation further. Keep the evidence by taking a screen shot and print out the content, keep a record of any incidences you are unable to capture content of. Report the content directly to the site as well as to your senior leadership team who should support you in handling cases of cyberbullying.

    You could also contact "The Professionals Online Support Helpline." (POSH) who can support professional with any safety concerns, including cyberbullying on 03443814772 or [email protected]

At school

There are a range of policies and responsibilities which relate to the use and misuse of technology in school and out of school. Some of these will be referenced in the conditions of employment that you have with the school as well as in wider standards and expectations for the teaching profession. Other relevant policies will include the school's Acceptable Use Policy (AUP), e-safety policy, and the behavioural and anti-bullying policies.

  • How can I promote best practice when using technology and the internet in school? Open or Close

    Review and update your schools policy and Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) regularly, make sure it has been shared/communicated with all members of the school community. Consider how your school will put your policy into practice, for example, outline how staff should react in certain situations e.g. where a pupil has misused technology and the internet on purpose or by accident.

    As online issues evolve review your school procedures and ensure teaching and responding procedures are effective. You may wish to use the free 360 safe online self-review tool.

  • Are there any restrictions about using images of children and young people? Open or Close

    Before videoing or photographing pupils ensure you are clear about the school’s policy and that parents and carers have completed relevant consent forms giving consent for their child’s photo to be taken and what it might be used for.

     It is advisable to only use school devices when capturing images or videos of students as it is then stored on that device.  Consider where it will be stored and how long for, when saving a file ensure this is on a secure school network or encrypted USB and deleted when no longer required.

    It is best practice not to share the image with the child’s full name in order to safeguard their welfare. Consider appropriateness of the image before sharing - not all images which may be taken are appropriate to be shared online. Caution may be needed in taking photos at sporting events, for example during swimming lessons or events. It is also best practice to ask the child before sharing an image in a public space as it may embarrass or upset them.

  • Can I access SNS, games and videos at school for educational or personal use whilst in school? Open or Close

    In many schools, social networking sites, games and videos may be blocked due to the filters in place on the school network. If you want to use these for educational purposes, seek advice and written authorisation from a relevant staff member before proceeding to ensure that best practice guidelines are followed.

    The schools Acceptable Use Policy should contain information with regards to using technology for personal use. Your job description and conditions of employment might also refer to this, as well as detailing the content that staff are prohibited from accessing in school or school technology even out of school. (See the Social Networking Guide for Trainee Teachers and NQTs)

  • How can I use technology and social media safely offsite? Open or Close

    In order to secure images and contact details it is best to use school devices where possible for communication and image use. Most schools specify that staff should not give out personal mobile numbers or email addresses to pupils or parents as these details could easily be shared with others.

    Familiarise yourself and the pupils with your schools policies on the use of technology and social media, this should include offsite usage as well. This may include appropriate communication with others, taking/sharing images and sharing location details online.  

    Where necessary remember to include possible online risks when completing risk assessment forms.

    Pupils may bring personal devices on trips so it is important to communicate whether this is allowed and the appropriate rules for use of a personal device during the school trip.

  • Are there guidelines for using school devices at home? Open or Close

    Some schools provide staff with laptops and even mobile phones. These are school property and are intended for professional use. Some schools may allow staff to take laptops home. If this is the case be aware of acceptable use when connecting to the internet at home. If you have information about students on your laptop, you should ensure no one unauthorised to do so uses your computer.

In the classroom

  • What do I need to be aware of if I am using the internet with pupils in the classroom? Open or Close

    Whenever possible, always check online content that you are intending to use with pupils in the classroom beforehand by fully exploring any webpages you may show in class or by watching videos in their entirety.

    If you are going to search for content with the class, perform a ‘dry run’ first to ensure the content is appropriate. Sometimes the most innocent of searches can return unexpected content. You may wish to save content or take screen shots to ensure adverts/comments haven’t changed since you last checked.

    Where available use the settings of the site/app to filter the content they search for. Google offer a ‘safe search’ setting which can be found in the top right hand corner and YouTube offer a ‘safety mode’ which can be found at the bottom of the screen or within the settings of the app.

    Be clear on your school’s policy for viewing inappropriate content in class and share this with the pupils. Ensure they are aware of different policies, e.g. if it is viewed on purpose or by accident.  

  • How can I use technology and the internet safely in the classroom? Open or Close

    Where possible try to use school devices which should already have appropriate filters applied at device level or across the school internet.

    If using personal devices is appropriate then set clear rules for the class. This could include what apps to use or whether or not image taking would be appropriate.

    You may consider selecting sites for younger pupils or discussing with older ones what content they may be looking for when carrying out an online search.

    Model best practice by considering the pupil’s privacy when sharing their images online. Ask the pupils permission before using their photo, even if you have maintained media consent.

    School will have Acceptable Use Policies (AUP) for all members of the school community. Familiarise yourself and your pupils with these rules frequently.

  • How can I incorporate online safety into the curriculum? Open or Close

    Start with a whole school approach, online safety messages should be embedded into all areas of the curriculum as many subjects now frequently use technology or ask pupils to conduct online searches. Ensure pupils are reminded of online safety messages whenever using technology and the internet.

    There are a wealth of online resources to support you in delivering online safety messages in a range of ways. You may wish to use our ‘Online safety in the computing curriculum’ guide to resources for suggestions.

  • What about setting homework or independent research? Open or Close

    If a virtual or Managed Learning Environment (VLE or MLE) is available at your school, you could use this to guide your pupils to useful websites and set homework. However, where possible, it is good practice prior to giving the homework to check the search engine results for any tasks which require internet use. It is important to be aware that pupils may not have filtering at home when using the internet, and therefore recommend that they utilise the search provider’s “Safe Search” setting. You can inform the parents/carers of the children of this option.

  • Which online safety issues should my pupils and I be aware of? Where can I find this information? Open or Close

    The potential risks facing children and young people online are classified as the 3 Cs of Contact, Content and Conduct, and learning to manage these risks is a key part of the skills children and young people need to become and be a responsible digital citizen. Some of these issues include grooming, cyberbullying, social networking, privacy, personal information, inaccurate information and sexting. For further information on online safety issues as well as resources that can be used with children and parents, see our resource bank which provides suggested useful resources for use with different key stages.

  • How can I best support my pupils with online safety issues? Open or Close

    Technology and online content can change rapidly year on year. Ensure you are teaching about the current risks and trends by researching or speaking to pupils. You could also sign up to our weekly newsletter by visiting our website.

    Ensure pupils know what to do if something goes wrong online. This could include speaking to an adult, saving evidence, reporting content or contacting a helpline for support.