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Professional Practice

A graphic showing six people at a table playing cards

Any teacher will tell you it's hard to take students away from their cellphones. Social media gives teens the freedom to connect and share content, but issues of privacy, cyberbullying, internet addiction and pornography pose serious challenges.

Three years ago, I created a card game called Don't Hate the Player. Students create a story about an online experience based on a hand drawn from 92 situation and character cards. Their hand might find them dealing with online bullies, for example, or a friend who shares images without permission. Students then problem solve about their situation and learn from each other's experiences, too.

Two years ago, I presented the game at the Ontario Art Education Association's conference. And last year, I began using the game as a teaching tool at Central Technical School. So far, it's been a great success!

Elizabeth Basskin, OCT, is an occasional teacher with the Toronto District School Board.

New Video Conferencing Guidelines

With so many teachers turning to video conferencing to communicate with students, the Ontario College of Teachers released guidelines (oct-oeeo.ca/videoguidelines) last spring to help you use the technology safely and effectively.

Video is a valuable way to engage with students when they're not in the classroom with you. It can help them feel connected, even when they're isolated from their peers and school. But with new tools come new responsibilities and challenges. "There are considerations with respect to technology, security, privacy, confidentiality, and consent," the guidelines say, with these main recommendations.

The guidelines also point to the College's professional advisories to help you deal with bullying and student mental health, which can be complicating factors when it comes to online communication.

Along with these recommendations comes advice for working with any new technology: Almost everyone involved is learning. "Be patient with yourself, your students, with parents and guardians."

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