When things go wrong…

Tonight, as I was casually showing some of the teachers what the class had been doing on Purple Mash, I logged in as one of the children. The child I logged in as was chosen pretty much at random – he had to have his password reset and it stuck in my mind.

‘What’s that?’ asked one of my colleagues, eyebrows slightly raised.

We opened it. The child showed they had excellent knowledge of the inner workings of one of the Purple Mash features and had clearly spent some time working on their file at home. Trouble is, it was called ‘Sexy Maze’. You can probably imagine the quality of the content.

This has got me worrying. I know the old adage about it ‘not being a technology problem, but a behaviour problem’, which I agree with, but it has got me worrying nonetheless.

As a school, we are going through a transitional period in ICT. Things are changing quickly. The children are effectively trialling new ways of learning, and are finding that, all of a sudden, they have login details for all kinds of things. Most of these can be accessed, monitored and checked up on. But what about the things that are hidden away? Things like Purple Mash folders that children can add to as and when? It would be unmanageable to check on each folder individually, and while I know that, in this instance, nobody else has seen it (as far as I know), it has still been made with a tool that the school has given the child.

Obviously, the child in question will be spoken to, but what about the future? I wonder whether it’d be a good idea to talk to the whole class about it, and it certainly reinforces my belief that we need to talk to parents about what is going on in school, particularly with all of these changes, and give them ideas on how they can help. We do not have an acceptable use policy in place yet – perhaps this highlights what should be our next step.

Has anyone else experienced this kind of thing in school? How have you dealt with it? What advice would you give?


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