The distribution of digital media in terms of computers and hard drives is rather simple. The distribution of this school newsletter in terms of the social practices associated with technology is rather complex. The issue of privacy of students’ names and images and texts they produced was encountered at this school.
The solution at CSDE was to post the newsletter on a password protected space with only members of the school community having access to this space. That way the newsletter was not in the public domain.
Within our closed community
we can do those things
The distribution of the images of children in this digital newsletter to the whole school community promoted the building of relationships through ICT not just the flow of information. Nixon, Aitkinson and Beavis (2006) suggest that ‘while information is an important element of information and communication technologies, it is their facilitation of access and exchange rather than the provision of information itself that has been most revolutionary' (p.133).
The access and exchange of information leads to building positive relationships amongst the school community.
They get to share important things like upcoming events, not only to do with the school but if there’s a rodeo going on somewhere or an important CWA meeting
The teachers at this school repeatedly discussed how the move from print based artefacts to digital mediums supported improved relationships amongst the school community. Bigum (2002) suggests that efforts should be spent on designs that promote relationships rather than simply the exchange of information.
Staff at this school appear to have a strong focus on the capacity of the digital newsletter to build relationships rather than just exchange information. While the exchange of information was an aspect, it was the opportunity to connect the school community across Far Northern Queensland that was noticeable in this newsletter.
That’s good because they put the kids work into the newsletter and we click on it and go in and see it. (Parent, Cairns school of Distance Education)
Some questions concerning the development of a digital newsletter
The following questions should be asked...
- What are the Discourses that frame the current school newsletter?
- What elements of the newsletter could we change to make it more engaging for students and parents?
- How many caregivers have the capacity to access a digital school newsletter?
- What protocols are already in place to share student work in the school newsletter?
- How would these protocols change if the school newsletter was password protected in digital environment.
- How will we decide what program to use to construct the digital newsletter?
- Who will be responsible for making the school newsletter?
- How can we improve the pedagogical content of the newsletter by unpacking student and teacher learning using multimodal texts in the newsletter?
- How will the relationships between different members of the school community be promoted in a digital school newsletter?
- How do we evaluate this change in the newsletter with reference to the social good of education in our school?