Monthly Archives: May 2011



International Schools Riau AUP 2011-2012 proposal

International Schools Riau had just recently adopted the current version of the acceptable use policy with our move towards a 1-on-1 laptop program. The policy was already on par with what we were finding embedded into other international school AUP’s. We felt that our own policy only needed minor tweaking. Editing for any items that either needed to be clarified or seemed unnecessary. Additional items based upon current trends were also to be added or removed.

Originally this AUP was created as a grades 3-8 policy. However many of the topics seemed only to pertinent to the middle school students involved in the new 1-on-1 laptop program. The current K-2 AUP could easily encompassed the grades 3 and 4 as well.  The first change would be to make it only a 5-8 policy.

The four guidelines that served as the backbone for the schools AUP were kept in tack.

  • Respect and protect the privacy of self and others.
  • Respect, and protect all electronic resources like they were your own.
  • Respect and protect the intellectual property of others.
  • Respect and practice the principles of community.

These were showing up in other major international schools AUP’s and even on the United States Department of Justice’s website: .

Each indicator listed below the four guidelines were then compared with each other as well as with the other indicators found in the AUP’s we had already located. We noticed many similarities, but felt that the wording of some of our indicators could be made more middle school friendly. Additionally we noticed that in our AUP some items had found there way into more than one spot. Item 2d stated that students will “Not waste resources” and later again in 4f students will “Print with permission and not waste resources.” 2d was removed. This being the first year of our 1-on-1 laptop program also created new and unforeseen problems. Students were no longer using breaks for face to face socialization and physical exercise, instead choosing to game, watch videos, download music or chat online with friends from afar. As a result we felt it necessary to add both line items 4f and j. Students will “Not download or stream music, movies, or games for personal use during school hours.” and “Recognize recess and lunch are designated device free times.”

The hope would be that the update version worked on by my partner and myself could be presented to our administrator and the new tech coordinator when we return in August and prior to the student’s first day back. Any additional items that need to be addressed or come up could be done so then. Pending approval we could then introduce the new AUP to students during orientation and again to parents at back to school night. The policy seems sound and works for a school of our small size. However, technology is always changing and as a result these kinds of policies will need continuous updating.


A habit, a pet and a peacemaker…

Some rights reserved by nataliej

Over the past 10 years or so my dependency…no my habit for being connected has increased exponentially. As more and more information continues to be put up, along with faster connection speed, I find myself spending more and more time “logged in”. It’s has so quickly become an integral part of my life. The internet has created a constant craving of information in one format or another and because it is all out there on the web my interest even for the most mundane topics is peaked and you know what? I absolutely love it and I need it! The internet replaces one of my other favorite habits. Record store shopping on Telegraph in Berkeley or downtown San Francisco. I loved to flip through rows and rows of LP’s, Ep’s and 45’s. Picking each album up. Pulling them out of the sleeve to see the color of the vinyl. Reading intently the back cover and inserts with lyrics and band information and lists of “Thank yous”. I do miss that, but now I have it all and more thanks to these glorious little hyperlinks that lead from the bands website on to their MySpace page. It’s off to their twitter account next or maybe their “record” labels site, which will ultimately take me to another bands site altogether.

In the evening when I finally have a few minutes of downtime, I plop down on the recliner, turn on the lamp next to me and scoop up my laptop. We sit together and I talk to it. Saying things like “What has happened in the world today?” as I type in or into the URL window. As I scroll over headlines, hyperlinks light up, expand or make a clicking noise and send me off to another page of useful and sometimes not so useful information. From there I might continue to push deeper into a topic I had no intentions of looking at moments ago all because a bold typed word or name in the middle of the article lets me know that if I want it, there is more information to be had with a simple click. “Click”! After a while I look down at my laptop warming my lap like our cat back in California use to do. And as I close the lid I pat the back of the screen and smile. What a good pet MacBook!

I have memories of some heated discussion with friends, family and even my spouse about some ridiculous things. It often revolves around movies, television and music. Sure, sometimes it’s deeper than that. Politics, religion and philosophy topics come up. History, mythology and the constellations…but mostly it’s just about pop culture. I would leave a friends house in a huff. Fuming at how arrogant he or she seemed when you knew you were right! You just knew it! A sleepless night would be had, but all would be forgiven and forgotten by morning time. Today when questions arise and answers are disputes we huddle anxiously around the iPhones and eagerly await the verdict. It’s an anxious few seconds, but we know that whatever comes up on the screen is going to clear things up immediately. Not only does it smooth things over it also enlightens us with other valuable pieces of the puzzle via a hyperlink here and another there. It facilitates a whole new discussion. More disputes erupt, but just as quickly as they arise they are put to rest with the internet.


Curse the World Map!!!

I lost my widget that I set up early in the program. I was in a rush and erased it. I had just received my first hit from Europe. A sad day. Now it’s just my yellow dot on the map…


Da’ Bullies

Some rights reserved by shesthereasonfortheworld

This has turned out to be the most difficult pieces for me to blog about throughout this entire course. Upon originally reading the topic description, I thought to myself “cakewalk…done in an hour”. I have now been beating myself up for the last few weeks on this. I typed, erased, typed some more and erased again over and over. I have decided that the big problem has been that I was more trying to answer why cyber bullying happens as opposed to who is responsible for teaching about it. So with a deep breath and yet another perspective, I will take one last desperate stab at this topic.

Cyber bullying is not unlike traditional bullying in the sense that it is an attack on an individual or individuals with attempts to emotionally or physically harm them. The difference obviously lies in the manner in which the abuse is delivered. The internet has taken away the need for face-to-face interaction thus giving students the power to feel as though they can attack an individual from afar with ferocity and enormity. Bullying no longer has boundaries either. It doesn’t just happen in the schools halls or on the playground it now crops up anywhere and at anytime as long as there is a computer and internet access.

The issue of cyber bullying should be major concern to many of us mostly international educators who are finding that our schools are pushing hard to initiate more 1-on-1 laptop programs. Where our more affluent parents purchase expensive digital and portable toys with internet access in essence arming students with the weapons needed to initiate cyber bullying and perhaps due to the generational cross roads we stand in the middle of, these kids are left alone at home to use them to their liking. Many parents may very well be completely uninformed about this growing issue or even the very existence of cyber bullying and what it actually entitles.

As far as the issue of who should teach our students about cyber bullying for now falls on two groups of people. Both the teachers in the schools who expect these students to use the technology and the parents of these children. Teachers need to open dialog within the school with not only the student, but initially and perhaps more important is the parents. If parents our to be our partners in the teaching of this subject then they must fully understand what it is that they are expected to be discussing with their own children. Understanding the effects that something like cyber bullying may have on another child or even their own is essential.

Many international school policies that I have recently viewed seem to are taking the issue of cyber bullying very seriously doing what they can to curb it outside of school and eliminate it inside. Initiatives are being established in the acceptable use policies on many international campuses. A zero tolerance for cyber bullying that not only that occurs within the school, but also outside should it carry over and directly affect the well being of the victim on campus as well. It is also a topic that is being embedded into the technology curriculums of some schools. There are discussions are being had at school and these need to continue with both student and parents if we are to make are students and our children feel safe on the internet inside and outside of school.

Course 2




Some rights reserved by Meredith_Farmer


Okay so figuring out how copyright laws work is a bit like a trip to the dentist…unpleasant and at times painful. This is a tricky thing and it seems to me unless you ever got in trouble and had a lawyer explain it to you, you would have little idea as to how these laws worked or even made sense! Making the situation more difficult and pertinent to many of us hear in Asia is that the copyright laws are completely different or in some cases non-existent.

When the legalities of copyright cannot be completely explained or are not clearly understood by our selves how do we teach what is the “correct” way of doing things with our students? Does it then becomes a lesson in what is morally the right thing to do and how to best cover our backsides?

As an art teacher it is one of my primary goals to instill a passion for the arts. I pride myself in introducing my kids to as many contemporary, presently working artists as I possibly can and in doing so I pull A LOT of images from the internet. That being said it has never crossed my mind to cite where I obtained these images. It was however always made clear to my students as to who created the artwork. Which leads me to this question. Is it better to cite the site where I got the image from or the artist who created the piece? When I have students create their own artist digital presentations I ask them to include the artist name, title of work and year created next to all images. I’m not sure I feel it’s necessary for my students to link it back to where it was pulled from. More often than not it comes from a site that isn’t even the artists own. I do believe it’s important to model and teach our kids the right thing to do. I have no problems linking images back to their source especially if the source is the creator of the image or artwork itself. Perhaps asking students to include a link to the artist homepage would be more beneficial in this case.

Course 2

Personal Privacy For Everyone to See

Privacy rights have been a topic at the forefront of internet use for some time now with, from what I understand, seemingly very little being done about it. It’s never been well regulated and what is regulated is done so in a vague manner. The difficulty of protecting an individual’s privacy comes with the shear global proportions and continuously rapid growth of the internet itself.  No one body can possibly be in charge of monitoring something so vast. Any attempts to do so would most likely be ineffective. Often attempts to protect ones privacy actually results in the opposite where it too becomes invasive and faces the same backlash it was set up to quell.

It seems to me that the onus of privacy rights falls on the users themselves. Had it not been for an observant reader of the Facebook terms a few years back the more than 500 million users would have lost all rights to anything ever uploaded or published. Can you imagine not owning the rights to your family photos? Facebook, however continues to abuse users private information for their own gains, “giving out” personal data to eager outsiders. Facebook isn’t the only site that does it. It’s just the largest abuser. There are a number of sites I have been on where I have suddenly been interrupted by a small thumbnail of a friend off to the side. All this in attempts to convince me that if “this” product was good enough for my friend then it’s good enough for me. Who has given out my private information to these people? How do we stop it or at least slow it down? It is very concerning to me that so much about you can be shared with complete strangers, yet it seems to be a catch 22. The interenet is such an interwoven part of our lives today. We have come to rely on it. We want it all the time and any time. It’s addictive. To be very concerned and conscientious of where we surf and what we sign up for could be the only way to really protect ourselves. None of this may be ideal, but until things change users should go enter the water aware that very little is actually private anymore.

Course 2

Keep your prints clean!

It seems inevitable in this day and age not to have a digital footprint. When you blog, use facebook or partake in any other social network there is a good chance that information will end up somewhere unintended. Since starting the CoETAIL program my digital footprint has grown exponentially in comparison to the days prior. In social networking you are knowingly putting your name out there so it becomes pertinent that you also become a responsible internet user.

As an international educator today it really becomes essential that you learn more about what kind of digital footprint you’re leaving behind prior to seeking new employment. Keeping yourself in a good light can certainly be advantageous. A digital footprint can serve as a portfolio of sorts for professional and academic achievements, one that should be highlighted in lieu of the hiring process. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the “dark little secrets” that a digital footprint might surface while job hunting. Based upon my brief experience with digital footprints, it seems to be the items you give little thought to that seem the most important to monitor as well as the most daunting to control. Partial discussion with friends and colleagues on Google buzz and even email conversations with online support from various internet services resurfaced in my own basic Google name search.

Regardless of our age, anyone connected has already begun to leave a digital footprint today and not monitoring this footprint could be detrimental tomorrow. Students are spending much of their waking hours online. We continue to push technology especially in international schools with one-on-one laptop programs and mass integration into the curriculum. At home, technology is the social weapon of choice where teens and even pre-teens feel the most comfortable opening up to friends and even strangers. It is not only our responsibility as educators, but also the parent’s to teach the students about the hazards of being online and with that the negative aspects that can accompany a digital footprint created through this daily interaction. No matter how hard we try it’s not uncommon to make regrettable mistakes when growing up. The great thing about it is that we learn from it and move on…until it comes up again and again an again…Whether or not you agree with it, digital footprinting is here to stay. Let’s make sure our students know how to handle them.


Oh Blogger!

Blogging declines among teens, young adults

Here we are trying to trying incorporate technology into our classrooms and students are already bored with some of it! Better stay on top of what’s new.