HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal

Ethics in Technology: A Challenge for Jewish Day Schools

by Jane Neubauer Issue: Ethics

It has never been more important to use the word “like” with caution. Clicking a button bearing this word on a social media page can often lead to perceived indiscretions, whether intentional or not. Ethically, it’s mandatory to think twice before every click of the mouse is executed. This applies to students, teachers, administrators, parents, and the community-at-large.

A positive, ethical, virally broadcast news clip can generate thousands of “hits” to a website, and that is a priceless commodity.

The challenges for schools are enormous, for educational tools in the 21st century are truly fluid. As students in classrooms throughout the country, and the world, settle into their learning environments in 2011, they may be situated at desks or portable iPad carts. They may be navigating their laptops while a teacher using Google Docs on a SMART Board explains that upcoming notes for a classroom project will be shared and edited by classmates, not on paper or even on the school’s Intranet, but rather by way of “the Cloud”—where everyone’s comments will be visible to one another. Students may stay informed about upcoming school Booster Club or PTO activities via an officially sanctioned Facebook page, “tweet” or e-newsletter. They then may share their experiences with global classmates signed on to Skype.

Added to the challenges of understanding this often “foreign” world is the fact that Jewish day school educators are charged with infusing values, morals, and menschlichkeit.

Ethics Through Accountability

At Donna Klein Jewish Academy, we have instituted a Technology and Internet Use Policy to explain and regulate the institutional use of technology equipment, software, and systems (e-mail, Internet, networks, etc.), and other communication systems. Additionally, staff and faculty handbooks contain specific information on policies and procedures that are updated annually and must be adhered to on a daily basis.

Ethics guidelines are imperative for many reasons. Specifying what may appear to be understood or “common sense” often is an enigma in the digital generation. What happens if a well meaning teacher, intending to facilitate information sharing, becomes Facebook friends with her students so that posts to this personal blog of sorts can be shared in one quick click? Yes, the information is disseminated easily. But what if the teacher’s privacy settings are not “private enough,” and activities deemed inappropriate for students to know about are suddenly common knowledge within the school community? Once viral, the damage may be done. Was it unethical for the teacher to execute the post? Did he or she violate an ethics policy?

DKJA’s Technology and Internet Acceptable Use Policy must be electronically signed by both parents and students, since the school provides students with opportunities to use technology and to access the Internet for educational purposes. The conditions for agreeing to utilize technology responsibly are nonnegotiable. The document specifically outlines “Acceptable Use” relating to technology both at DKJA and out of school. This is where ethics in technology directly go hand-in-hand. Technology is not contained within the classroom. “Cloud computing,” sharing information collaboratively on Google Docs, and simply logging on to Facebook are ways of life today.

DKJA’s Parent/Student Acceptable Use Policy also specifically outlines that, “in some cases, use of personal electronic devices at home or away from campus are covered by this policy where such communications impact the school, are to/from employees and students, parents, or third parties, such as communications on the Internet or on social networking sites. Violations of the following guidelines may result in the revocation of access privileges and possible disciplinary action, including expulsion for serious offenses… This policy also applies to the use of any personal electronic devices (computers, cameras, phones, video cameras, PDAs, etc.) on school property or at a school-related event. Failure to abide by these rules will result in appropriate disciplinary action determined by the school administration. All technology should be used in a responsible, ethical, and legal manner.”

In their haste to quickly race through the registration or re-enrollment process, parents and students may tend to take this lightly and not reflect upon the relevance and importance of these ethical requirements. The ramifications, however, are quite serious.

The following situations presented unintentional violations—but violations nonetheless—of the Acceptable Use Policy at DKJA. During one incident involving students participating in a video project, the intended goal was to encourage creativity and competence by conducting interviews. Student reporters, wearing school uniforms, carried out the educational interviews with fellow classmates as well as teachers. The project was then “shared” on the popular and easily accessed site YouTube, where the entire world could easily view the project. This not only violated the Acceptable Use policy’s specific directive that “No one is permitted to post the DKJA name or the names of any person identified as a DKJA student or employee on any Internet site without the school’s prior consent (including Facebook, MySpace, etc.),” it also was not cleared through the Communication Department. One of the roles of the Communications Department is to ensure that the wishes of parents/guardians who request to opt out of all media/publicity materials involving their respective students are respected. Like the Acceptable Use Policy, this individual preference is made electronically during the enrollment process.

What if the teacher’s privacy settings are not “private enough,” and activities deemed inappropriate for students to know about are suddenly common knowledge within the school community?

In this particular incident, the administrator in charge of the video project was educated about the “unacceptable” scope of the video project, and the YouTube post was removed. No student reprimands were necessary. A teachable moment was provided when the explanation for the removal was presented, and the need to ensure respect for other students’ privacy was reinforced.

In a separate incident involving parents, concerning respect for others’ privacy and reputations, Facebook came into play. Although a personal Facebook page—not school-sanctioned—was the forum through which an inappropriate post about a school administrator appeared, it too necessitated removal. The negative post did not specifically name the administrator, but traits of the person were alluded to in such a way as to be offensive. The parent was contacted and instructed to remove the post because it violated the “acceptable use” outlined in DKJA’s policy.

These examples illustrate the dangers and possibilities that need to be considered, the consequences that must be addressed, and the education that is imperative in the multi-faceted scope of ethics and technology in the school setting, on and off campus.

In contrast to the negative aspects of multimedia information sharing, positive stories can also be the end-product and can shine brightly on behalf of the school community. Information sharing is marketing that can be invaluable, especially in today’s lightning-speed communications environment. Families researching educational institutions utilize the Internet as a “first step” in the information gathering process. A positive, ethical, virally broadcast news clip can generate thousands of “hits” to a website, and that is a priceless commodity. Sharing a positive story did just that in the following example, which garnered international media attention because it focused on an act of lovingkindness, gemilut chasadim.

During a recent nationally broadcast professional baseball game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Milwaukee Brewers, an agile young boy watching from the stands became the proud owner of a ball that was thrown toward a small child who missed the catch. The older child walked away, holding the ball. The younger child was visibly upset and heartbroken. The older child walked over to the younger boy and handed him the prized possession. The compassionate act went viral. Website upon website spread the story, including video. The Arizona Diamondbacks’ official Facebook page received hundreds of “likes” and comments, e.g.:

“He’s what the youth of today should be looking up to, not the athletes themselves. His folks obviously taught him respect and responsibility. Great job to his parents…”

This is an example of a positive role model whose deeds were seen as a learning tool for others—virally. Every action has potential to be seen by and impact others throughout the global, digital world today.

But just as this positive story went viral, so have many less stellar acts. Therefore, it is the role and responsibility of educators at each and every level of teaching students to know and adhere to ethics policies in the broad spectrum of modern technology. It is imperative for ALL technology users to realize that the ways in which they conduct themselves can easily become the subject of viral communications, and to therefore act responsibly and exercise ethical judgment.

Many technology seminars today emphasize the fact that there really is no true “delete” button—information that is disseminated and deleted really is “never deleted.” Information that is shared often cannot be “unshared.” Once it is out there, it easily can become viral. What are the consequences? Who is responsible? Who is charged with teaching students about such issues? What policies are in place to help facilitate these processes? Who is accountable? How often should policies be updated?

These are just a few of the questions that perhaps need to be posed annually when planning for the upcoming school year. Technology is no longer an option. Therefore, it must be added to every planning agenda in some shape or form.

In closing, the following text should be considered when formulating an Ethics in Technology policy. It comes from Pirkei Avot 3:19, but can easily be adapted to modern-day governance:

All is foreseen, and freedom of choice is granted. The world is judged with goodness, but in accordance with the amount of man’s positive deeds.—Rabbi Akiva

Each of us has a purpose and goals to assist us in our endeavor to communicate effectively, broadly, and positively. The goal could be education or simply sharing information. Freedom of choice to utilize communications and technology tools unimaginable just a few years ago is literally at everyone’s fingertips today. In the school environment, it is hoped that students, parents, administrators, and educators have good intentions in their quest to share anecdotes and information with others. The tools through which this can be accomplished make it easy to repeatedly engage in positive communication. Respect for others must always come into play. Countless opportunities abound for all to spread good will in a responsible manner.

Ethics and technology require us to take a step back and consider damage that can be done whether intentionally or not. With technology at our fingertips, unless guidelines are adhered to and consequences recognized, great potential for indiscretion can flourish. It continues to pose a challenge for Jewish day school educators. When navigated effectively, technology can be a force for tremendous growth and learning.♦

Jane Neubauer is Director of Communications at Donna Klein Jewish Academy in Boca Raton, Florida. She can be reached at neubauerj@dkja.org.

Go To the Next Article

The Derekh Eretz Committee

"Everybody put your heads down with your eyes closed. Raise your hand now if you have ever copied a homework......


Guys play run 2 and run 3 online,these are not high concept game,is very simple yet game,like that super mario run game friends tou can also original sound track game,this is simple addative game,like that street fighter,mortal kombat,taken and king of fighter.

0 users have voted.

At redskins jerseys Pixar, the versace outlet online Braintrust under armour shoes is cc beanies the jerseys from china meeting free running of prada shoes the minds where a lunette ray ban draft of nike air force a nike air max film air max 2015 is knockoff handbags screened, problems browns jerseys are identified, bengals jerseys and lacoste shoes numerous air max schoenen solutions burberry sale are brainstormed. sacramento kings jersey The Braintrust nike shoes is patriots jerseys no long champ ordinary polo outlet store meeting plein shoes of nike air jordan colleagues. colts jerseys It is hogan outlet a mechanism veneta for www.tommyhilfiger.nl taking an idea, givenchy outlet a plan, a work in coach black friday progress and making new balance canada it texans jerseys better. rolex watches Instead armani outlet of timberland femme scrutinizing pandora bracelet the polo ralph lauren creator, cheap nba jerseys candid comments nba jerseys are directed air jordan at coach outlet store online the dsquared2 sale project north face under review. Conversation is governed beats headphones by an operating levis jeans assumption that azcardinals jerseys the smart people hollister kids in the juicy couture outlet room minnesota timberwolves jersey have a shared investment in enhancing nike free run the tommy hilfiger outlet quality longchamp outlet of the project. No fivefingers directives are given; ralph lauren polo the ralph lauren ideas coach purses outlet online on ralph lauren the table thomas sabo are polo ralph meant roshe run to stimulate jerseys from china the cheap oakley thinking replica watches of burberry sale the director nike store so portland trail blazers jersey that nike free 5.0 she can steer thomas sabo uk forward.


If I am the director montre homme of ralph lauren polos a barbour factory movie, or giuseppe zanotti sneakers a teacher asics gel who has reloj created polo ralph lauren outlet online a new ray bans outlet curriculum, or 49ers jerseys a bcbg max azria teacher leader who michael kors has introduced a giants jerseys new program tracksuits store into mcm backpack my jimmy choo outlet school, adidas.se it nike free 5.0 is timberland boots likely coach outlet that I nike roshe am christian louboutin shoes deeply omega watches invested nike air max shoes in my chicago bulls jersey project. My professional identity michael kors is wrapped up in coach factory the work. lakers jerseys Often, we tommy hilfiger dwell nike free 5.0 so far ralph lauren outlet online inside louboutin shoes our versace outlet online own adidas canada projects that we cannot ralph lauren outlet online see new balance outlet what needs to oakley vault change. To find the inspiration celine bags and direction bcbg max to pivot, we the north face need burberry outlet online our eagles jerseys brain trust san antonio spurs jerseys to omega watches participate dolphins jerseys with charlotte hornets jerseys candor and in buccaneers jerseys good faith. michael kors outlet We true religion jeans women need coach outlet online to birkenstock shoes be vans shoes able dre beats to trust that they tommy hilfiger online are chi hair smart and michael kors purses that they know cheap michael kors what longchamp handbags it feels reebok like nike air max thea to be in hollister kids the michael kors hot michael kors taschen seat. purses and handbags Feedback rayban must spring from empathy in order ray ban sunglasses outlet to timberland outlet be ralph lauren outlet constructive; otherwise it just deconstructs and air max leaves us toronto raptors jersey right back where pandora we chiefs jerseys started: cheap ray ban stuck. ralph lauren outlet A pandora canada good brain trust will longchamp produce alternative rams jerseys ideas that inspire action rather adidas than paralyze juicy couture handbags progress. nfl jerseys If the michael kors outlet online feedback jordan retro can stimulate air yeezy shoes new michael kors outlet online sale thinking ferragamo shoes and advance jordans my project, michael kors outlet online I can flourish.At golden state warriors jersey Pixar, the coach outlet online Braintrust adidas superstar is the converse shoes meeting michael kors bags of mont blanc the minds where a draft calvin klein underwear of a film is raiders jerseys screened, nike shoes problems are nike air max identified, nike roshe and numerous solutions soccer shoes are brainstormed. The Braintrust is ferragamo shoes no oakley sunglasses ordinary meeting panthers jerseys of replica watches colleagues. true religion outlet It is a michael kors v?skor mechanism michael kors canada for taking an houston rockets jerseys idea, denver nuggets jerseys a plan, a work in nike outlet progress and jaguars jerseys making it better. hogan Instead ray ban wayfarer of scrutinizing the creator, candid comments red bottoms are lions jerseys directed titans jerseys at reebok shoes outlet the polo ralph lauren outlet project woolrich outlet under swarovski jewelry review. baseball jerseys Conversation coach outlet canada is oakley sunglasses governed oakley by an operating supra footwear assumption indoor soccer shoes that kate spade outlet online the smart oklahoma city thunder jersey people oakley vault in the room michael kors canada have the north face a shared investment in burberry outlet online enhancing the baseball jerseys quality michael kors uk of dallas mavericks jerseys the project. prada No ray bans directives are mbt shoes outlet given; bottega veneta the ideas mizuno wave on michael kors outlet online sale the table are meant rayban to stimulate nike mercurial vapor the thinking ralph lauren outlet of the director so that she hollister online can steer forward.


If I am the polo ralph director new york knicks of jordan release dates 2015 a movie, steelers jerseys or a swarovski teacher mcm backpack outlet who has ray ban wayfarer created a wholesale clothing new cheap oakley sunglasses curriculum, or mcm backpack a teacher nike air max leader chi flat iron who stephen curry shoes has nike huarache introduced philipp plein outlet a oakley sunglasses outlet new north face outlet program ferragamo into ralph lauren my cheap basketball shoes school, it is burberry online shop likely that air max I am hollister clothing deeply invested in my nike schoenen project. My nike air max professional identity swarovski crystal is wrapped up in the north face outlet the valentino outlet work. louboutin shoes Often, we dwell michael kors bags so orlando magic jersey far atlanta hawks jerseys inside dsquared2 our christian louboutin shoes own projects converse sneakers that we cannot nike shoes see what ralph lauren factory store needs to change. To nike air max 90 find mcm bags the puma outlet inspiration and skechers direction memphis grizzlies jersey to air huarache pivot, we rolex watch need northface our brain trust cheap nfl jerseys to softball bats participate seahawks jerseys with tory burch outlet candor and swarovski jewelry in good faith. We nfl jerseys need to be able nike schuhe to trust that adidas superstar they are smart burberry outlet and that they know what it feels birkenstock outlet like oakley sunglasses outlet to tory burch be katespade in vikings jerseys the pandora charms hot seat. Feedback ray ban occhiali must spring coach store from empathy longchamp outlet in order to be constructive; coach outlet online otherwise hogan outlet it just chargers jerseys deconstructs nike roshe and hermes leaves us right back where we started: stuck. oakley frogskins A michael kors outlet online good brain trust will thomas sabo jewellery produce alternative ideas ralph lauren polos that inspire action rather burberry handbags than paralyze progress. If giuseppe shoes the red bottom shoes feedback can iphone 5s cases stimulate falcons jerseys new fitflop outlet thinking chrome hearts and michael kors outlet online advance my roshe run project, dansko outlet I can nike.dk flourish.At Pixar, the Braintrust watches canada is the coach outlet online meeting vans schuhe of ray ban sonnenbrillen the coach factory shop minds where saints jerseys a draft prada outlet of vans outlet a film nike.se is cleveland cavaliers screened, north face jackets problems air jordan shoes are identified, prada sunglasses and glasses online numerous solutions are coach outlet brainstormed. hermes bags The Braintrust swarovski online is nike shoes no cheap oakley ordinary air max meeting of colleagues. It tommy hilfiger outlet stores is a mechanism long champ for burberry taking los angeles clippers jersey an idea, a plan, michael kors a work true religion in gafas oakley progress new balance and making oakley it adidas online better. ray ban sunglasses Instead burberry outlet of scrutinizing michael kors the creator, philadelphia 76ers jerseys candid comments coach factory are nike air max directed at the hollister clothing store project phoenix suns jersey under baseball bats review. timberland shoes Conversation is swarovski australia governed by birkenstock deutschland an operating assumption hilfiger online shop that the salvatore ferragamo smart people in oakley sunglasses the bills jerseys room jerseys from china have michael kors outlet a shared glasses frames investment barbour jackets in enhancing skechers outlet the quality instyler ionic styler of abercrombie the project. No directives beats by dre are given; the ideas jerseys from china on the cowboys jerseys table detroit pistons are hugo boss shop meant to stimulate the thinking asics of supra footwear the director so ray ban zonnebril that broncos jerseys she north face backpacks can steer skechers forward.


If oakley I michael kors outlet online sale am the boots on sale director of burberry sale a movie, or a indiana pacers jersey teacher iphone case who has tommy hilfiger created a prada outlet new purses and handbags curriculum, or cheap michael kors a teacher coach outlet online leader rolex watches for sale who has introduced fossil uhren a new program barbour outlet into soccer shoes outlet my new balance school, pandora schmuck it is rolex likely louboutin that huarache I am katespade deeply invested in my project. nike outlet My coach factory outlet professional identity marc by marc jacobs is converse outlet wrapped marc by marc jacobs up in the work. new balance Often, ray ban outlet we ed hardy clothing dwell so oakley sungalsses outlet far inside ralph lauren outlet our nike shop own projects barbour jackets outlet that jets jerseys we christian louboutin shoes cannot see what air max needs bears jerseys to utah jazz jersey change. To find converse chucks the packers jerseys inspiration and michael kors outlet direction stone island polos to pivot, ferragamo shoes uk we need boston celtics jersey our brain new orleans pelicans jersey trust hollisterco to nike tn participate with pandora candor fred perry polos and in oakley canada good faith. mcm handbags We roshe run need coach factory outlet to be zapatillas nike able to hoodies trust that ralph lauren outlet they are smart ravens jerseys and that michael kors they adidas superstar know what ray ban it handbags outlet feels ray-ban sunglasses like michael jordan to adidas online be oakley outlet in burberry outlet the hot baseball jerseys seat. Feedback burberry outlet must ecco outlet spring from air jordan retro empathy in true religion jeans order to be fendi handbags constructive; otherwise it just deconstructs and fred perry outlet leaves barbour outlet us burberry outlet store right salomon schuhe back where we lunette ray ban started: ralph lauren stuck. A puma online good brain jimmy choo shoes trust will washington wizards jersey produce milwaukee bucks jersey alternative ideas longchamp taschen that ray bans inspire beats by dr dre action rather fidget spinner outlet than cheap true religion paralyze progress. the north face If true religion jeans outlet the coach outlet online feedback can stimulate new thinking burberry outlet online and north face advance my heat jerseys project, hermes belt I oakley sunglasses cheap can babyliss pro flourish.

brooklyn nets jerseys

0 users have voted.


Jewish law and practice mandate a society based on strict ethical standards and principles, tempered with great sensitivity to the complexity of real-life situations. This creation of the mentsch that emerges from these ethical practices resonates with many day school families. Jewish ethics offers day school leaders and students tools and approaches to confront daily challenges and dilemmas and guide decision making. 

Click here to download the PDF and printer friendly version of this issue of HaYidion