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Reflection

I believe the two biggest issues in the broader sense of schools and technology are cyber
bullying and the digital divide.
The digital divide the gap that exists between those who have access to digital devices
and the Internet on a regular basis and those who do not is an educational issue and a social
issue. The divide is directly linked to poverty, geography and education levels (Butrymowicz,
2012). The fact that 20% of Americans dont have access to the internet at home is astonishing
considering how most of us take this access for granted, its at our fingertips with the use of
smart phones. Students who do not have access to devices and the internet can really be at a
disadvantage, especially if schools have expectations of students that really need technology to
meet. While technology doesnt necessarily lead to better student performance, it can expand
students horizons beyond just preparing them for college or the workforce (Butrymowicz,
2012). This is an equity issue when it comes to students in this country. On a more global level,
it puts the United States at a disadvantage in the global workforce when there are much higher
levels of technological ability and access in other countries. I think one of the large scale
solutions to this issue is to focus on poverty and disparity in the United States. It amazes me
what some schools have to work with and how little other schools have. If there were equity in
the technology/digital divide, our students would have more of a chance to succeed, regardless of
their income level.
I looked at the Portland Public Schools technology plan and found that the district has a
robust anti-harassment policy and plenty of information for students, teachers and parents online.
Cyber Bullying is included in these policies. Since cyber bullying usually occurs off school

grounds, there can be issues with free speech and students first amendment rights; it can be a
challenging situation for teachers and administration to intervene. School administrators must
proceed with caution when disciplining students for activity that occurs outside of the classroom,
examining whether first amendment rights are protected. The Portland Public School Districts
states, It is primarily the responsibility of the student, family and community to report and
address problems with online harassment. The school is not responsible for preventing and
responding to all instances of bullying 24 hours a day. There are restrictions that limit the
schools ability and authority to investigate who is being threatening and who will respond to
intimidation or threats. Portland Public Schools has an anti-harassment policy that pertains to
bullying at school. Parents can report harassment that occurs during the school day to school
administration. If the harassment occurs at school, it will be investigated and if applicable,
school administration will take appropriate action (Portland Public Schools, p.1). That being
said, if the bullying is happening off school property, it is still a school issue. What can schools
do? Schools should incorporate lessons on cyber bullying into life skills and bullying prevention
classes, as well as implement effective social skills and conflict resolution education. Also,
teachers should know what the definition of cyber bullying is so they can know when its
happening. According to an article from the Universal Journal of Educational Research, The
strategies for prevention of cyber bullying start with a definition of bullying. Only then can a
school develop school intervention and prevention share a district's policies and consequences
for bullying with staff, develop a map of locations where bullying is most likely to occur, advise
staff to remain vigilant for evidence of cyber bullying, distribute a list of indicators that may
suggest victimization, provide support groups for students new to the school setting, remind staff
that bullying may be in the form of gay bashing, advise victims to respond appropriately,

encourage bystanders to be friends to the victim, and post a code of conduct in all classrooms
(Notar et al.,2013, p.138). The PPS system has policy and education curriculum in place to
prevent cyber bullying, this is important. I think equally important is having a safe environment
for students to talk about what is happening and feel supported in getting help from teachers if
they are being bullied. One group of students from a high school in the Portland school district
made a PSA of sorts about cyber bullying. Students (and adults) forget that real people are on the
other side of the screen and that what they put out there never goes away. This photo series PSA
focuses on the hurtful words that have been said and cyber space and attach them to real people,
to peers, in hopes to deter students from using the internet to bully each other.

References
Butrymowicz, S. (2012, June 20). Bridging the digital divide in Americas rural schools.

Notar, C., Padgett, S., Roden, J. (2013). Cyberbullying: Resources for Intervention and
Prevention. Universal Journal of Educational Research, v1 n3 p133-145.

Portland Public Schools News. (November 03, 2015). Be Kind Online aims to end cyber
bullying. Retrieved from http://www.pps.k12.or.us/news/11045.htm

Portland Public Schools. (n.d.). Bullying/Harassment. Retrieved from:


http://www.pps.k12.or.us/departments/student-services/9392.htm

The Hechinger Report. Retrieved from http://hechingerreport.org/content/bridging-the-digitaldivide-in-americas-rural-schools_8826/