Are teachers allowed to use mobile phones in class?

(99 Posts)
hulahoopsilove Wed 29-Jan-14 18:25:14

Ds just said the teacher yr4 got her mobile out and was taking pictures of his work...artwork.

I thought mobiles were banned surely to safe guard children.

mrz Sat 01-Feb-14 16:01:30

Teachers don't have work mobiles Looby we are lucky to have a work pen and paper quite often we pay for those ourselves

spanieleyes Sat 01-Feb-14 16:03:02

I'm trying to think of what possible problems could arise from photographing children's work!

ravenAK Sat 01-Feb-14 16:09:22

Not always practical or even possible to 'use equipment provided by the school', as multiple PPs have explained.

Here's another example: I've just marked 16 year 7 books. Three students have produced work that is exemplary in varying ways (NB I'm not saying the other 13 essays are crap! grin), so I've photographed them on my phone & emailed it to my work email account, so that I can show them on my whiteboard on Monday.

This will be nice for those three kids & helpful to everyone else, as they'll be able to see exactly what I was looking for.

Unfortunately, I can't use school equipment, because I'm working at my dining room table today.

& obviously I could make a note of which books & do it - with the imaginary camera with which I have not been issued - when I arrive at school on Monday, but I won't have time, so it wouldn't happen.

Looby12 Sat 01-Feb-14 16:21:44

I don't think there is an issue photographing pupils work if the phone is not in the classroom environment. It's having personal phones or cameras in the classroom that's an issue.

In terms of the work mobile it's a cheap old style phone shared between 30 staff. It's used so that we, our employers and out service users are not in any situation of risk and we are comfortable knowing our backs are covered if anything untoward happened.

If school don't provide it the I don't think it's appropriate to use your own.

mrz Sat 01-Feb-14 16:28:47

what is the difference between photographing work in the class and photographing at home? Do you honestly think that a teacher can take indecent pictures of a child in a class of 30 kids and no one notice?

mrz Sat 01-Feb-14 16:29:31

and if I were to remove everything from my class that is my personal property there would be very little left

ravenAK Sat 01-Feb-14 16:40:45

You see the point at which I draw the line is photos of students on my own phone etc; we've been very clearly told that that mustn't happen.

So I'm doing a display of 'bookworms' in my classes, with children's faces photoshopped onto the worms, & I'm going to have to track down the dept. camera on Monday because I couldn't just have snapped the kids on my phone on Friday when the idea occurred to me...

Nor am I allowed to do the photoshopping at home rather than school, & I definitely can't get dh to help me...which is a shame, given that I'm shit at photoshop & he's brilliant, but tis the rules.

Taking pictures of work on my phone though? That's fine. Only reason I can think it wouldn't be is if they've included personal information.

Looby12 Sat 01-Feb-14 16:42:02

I'm not saying there is a problem with your personal property being in the class or taking photos of childrens work, its the fact that there is a personal phone with the ability to take photos of a child in the classroom.

I'm fairly sure in the incidents that have occurred the rest of the staff were of the same mindset of yourself that it was not going to happen.

If there are no rules on having the equipment near the children then there is potential for abuse. This doesn't just put the kids at risk, it puts you at risk as the teacher from false accusations.

This is the point of having a risk assessment.

In the case of the op nobody has mentioned whether the school has completed a risk assessment. The teacher might be within their rules on using it in the classroom.

If a risk assessment has been completed, using your own camera might be identified as acceptable and there will then be clear instructions on the use of your mobile and everyone would be clear on what can be photographed and what can't.

If it hasn't even been risk assessed at all then this is ridiculous and should be brought up with the school because activities are taking place that the head teacher might not even be aware of just because the teacher has decided it is acceptable.

partystress Sat 01-Feb-14 16:43:59

As a teacher, I would love it if they just said no photography in the classroom - there is a lot of pressure to get photos of children doing activities or of different stages of their work-in-progress into their books, and printing/cutting/sticking little pictures into 30 books is mind-numbing. Even with older kids who can do the sticking themselves.

However, I don't really get the whole personal vs school camera argument. Many teachers take school laptops home (planning and resource making wouldn't get finished otherwise). Also, SD cards are so tiny, someone determined to get photos for their own use at home could just switch cards, or they could email images from school servers to their private email.

What will really make any dodgy types that there might be out there happy is if they get rid of TAs... Far more time will be spent with no other adult present.

ravenAK Sat 01-Feb-14 16:49:10

Yes, I've been on the school network all day, merrily downloading data on kids.

Tricky to mark books & write reports without it, I find.

So every photo I - or anyone else who works at my school - has ever taken of a student is readily accessible to me from this very laptop.

Personal phones in the classroom are the least of anyone's worries.

mrz Sat 01-Feb-14 16:59:01

Looby as I said before schools use pupil tracking programmes that run on iphones and rely on the good will of staff to use their own phones!!

spanieleyes Sat 01-Feb-14 17:00:17

We have school laptops and school ipads, both of which we take home to work with, otherwise the work wouldn't get done! I'm not sure why taking a photograph on a school camera or phone is any less open to abuse than taking one on a personal phone. Surely the photograph could be transmitted anywhere in either case?

TheGruffalo2 Sat 01-Feb-14 17:07:38

I understand about safeguarding (I'm e-safety coordinator and SDP) but if I wanted to do anything untoward with a photograph how is it any different if I take the photo on my school iPad and email it to myself at home (so quick and easy to do!) or take it on my own phone? The only way would be to never photograph a child and that is really sad.

Euphemia Sat 01-Feb-14 17:14:10

My classroom computer is older than the oldest pupil in the school. My P1 pupils have MUCH better computing equipment at home than we have at school. sad

We're slated to get some notebook computers soon. Ten for a school with 70 pupils. confused Before any child gets their hands on one, there needs to be one each for the class teachers (to replace the current relics), one for the staffroom, one for the office, one for the HT, one for the nursery and one for the extra classroom which accommodates school roll fluctuations.

10 - 8 = 2 sad

adoptmama Sat 01-Feb-14 17:42:51

I think that what also needs to be remembered is that you don't need a camera to abuseba child! Having a camera does not make abuse more likely. Abusers are the problem not normal teachers doing normal things.

TheGruffalo2 Sat 01-Feb-14 17:45:15

What sensible words adoptmama.

Euphemia Sat 01-Feb-14 17:56:59

I think the main issue with phones, iPads, etc. in the classroom is unrestricted access to the internet open to pupils. That is, there's a danger that pupils could get their hands on teachers' devices and access inappropriate material.

If I wanted personal access to inappropriate images of children, or to upload these online, it's a small matter to take them on the school camera, transfer them to my memory stick, take it home and upload the photos to the internet from there. I could do it in one step from my own phone, but if uploading such images was what I wanted to do, taking a couple of extra steps to do it wouldn't deter me.

adoptmama Sat 01-Feb-14 20:00:32

Never heard of a single case of a child getting hold of a teachers phone, ipad etc and gaining "unrestricted access to the internet."

Have however seen many a child bring an internet enabled phone into school, despite rules to the contrary. Query it with parents only to be told wee Jimmy needs his phone in case mummy needs to contact him.

Never seen a teacher use a phone or other device in an inappropriate manner in school. Seen many a child try to take inappropriate photos or videos. Know a parent who ended up under police investigation because wee Jimmy used his phone on a school trip to take photos of friends in showers and these were reported by repair shop (because wee Jimmy also broke said phone on school trip!)

I think the main issue with teachers having their own ipads, phones etc in the classroom is it gives people yet another thing to bash us about.

Euphemia Sat 01-Feb-14 22:07:00

Never heard of a single case of a child getting hold of a teachers phone, ipad etc and gaining "unrestricted access to the internet."

Me neither, but this is the justification I was given by the HT in a local authority I previously worked for.

mrz Sun 02-Feb-14 07:39:08

I use my iphone in the class as a music player - for example I have all the backing tracks for the nativity songs in my playlist - music for dough gym - music for dance etc should I stop?

hulahoopsilove Wed 05-Feb-14 16:22:48

mobile v school camera = photos can be sent, emailed etc... into the wrong hands

Hulababy Wed 05-Feb-14 17:01:55

school camera's CD card slipped into pocket, taken home = could get into wrong hands

school camera uploaded onto network = can then be printed, emailed or whatever = could get into wrong hands

slip own sd card into school camera, take home = could get into wrong hands

---

If someone really is that way inclined and really wanted to it would all be easy enough to do tbh.

But it is a very rare case indeed where a teacher or TA would do anything dodgy at all with a photo of a child. Hence why it isn't happening all the time already.

spanieleyes Wed 05-Feb-14 17:04:27

I hadn't realised there was an underground trade in photographs of children's artwork confused

newbieman1978 Wed 05-Feb-14 17:38:05

Couple of points.

1. A teacher is a trusted and well vetted professional
2. Much of the technology in school is available remotely ie. home.
3. If the said teacher was going to do anything untoward then I'm sure they may be more discreet.
4. Technology is an increasingly used tool with far more positives than negatives.

Of course professionals have different standards however the vast majority of teachers are doing their job to the best of their abilities.

I'd be very careful taking the word of a young child when hypothesising what is going on within a classromm. A text tone "all the time" may actaully be once in a blue moon. How do you know it's a text. It could be a timer used for good reason.

The phone my be being used well within school guidelines/policy. Remember the classroom is a teachers workplace and as such safeguards are in place to protect the "workers" rights. Your childs teacher may have a legitimate reason for using their phone at work.

If you have valid concerns about your childs safety or the standard of education they are receiving take it up with the school. However be prepared to deminish relationships if you go off half cocked.

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