May 12

Acceptable Use Policy: a COETAIL Course 2 Final Project

The final project of creating, or improving upon, an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) for COETAIL course 2 initially seemed like a daunting task. Firstly, I wasn’t convinced that one actually existed at my school, so I anticipated that I would be starting from scratch. Secondly, with 2012 – 2013 shepherding in a 1:1 iPad era on my campus, it seemed like an updated and current AUP that would reflect this new environment would definitely have a place.

I discovered that an AUP existed and was listed as point #21 in both the middle and high school student handbooks. Here’s what it looked like:

It was essentially a series of “Thou shalt not” statements. Personally, I have always had better luck in my career as an educator when I tell students what is expected of them, i.e., what they should do. In addition, the focus of digital citizenship during this second COETAIL course has emphasized the importance of teaching students how to be responsible in their use of the technology that is available to them. As educators we should be helping students to learn how to use technology for good rather than evil. The Acceptable Use Policy seems like a logical point of departure for a school community to document what it values as good digital citizenship.

Too many documents that we create in the world of education find themselves filed away in dark metal filing cabinets or three-hole punched, organized into binders, and placed upon a shelf to collect dust. A well-written AUP could should easily become a living document that supports and guides all constituents of a school community in how to proceed with 21st century technology. Teachers should be able to find the support they need when enforcing appropriate classroom use (ISTE NETS-T 4.a). Students should be able to find guidelines about how to deal with a racist meme being circulated on a social networking site (ISTE NETS-S 5.a-d). Administration should be able to reference the AUP in an extreme disciplinary situation involving the misuse of technology (ISTE NETS-A 5.c). Even a parent should be able to confirm that their child is not allowed to download Temple Run onto his/her school issued iPad.

I am lucky to have two colleagues who are also part of the COETAIL online cohort. Janette and Karen are both elementary educators, so they worked on that section of our AUP project. I handled the secondary section for both middle and high school students. We came together at a couple of important points in the project to determine how all of the parts would fit together to make the whole. Joe was also a great pair of outside eyes who offered some great insights and a lot of cheerleading during this project. Below is the resulting document.

Now, we shall see if there is anything in this document that becomes part of school policy or is used to guide the school community into this exciting new stage.

1 comment

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  1. Avatar of Matt Kelsey
    Matt Kelsey

    I hope you’ll keep us updated on how your 1:1 implementation goes!

  1. Course 2 Final Project – Acceptable Use Policy | Mind the Gap

    [...] For the final project for Course 2 I chose to work with a group to create an acceptable use policy for our school.  Fellow COETAIL members Janette Haggith, Christina Botbyl and I met several times to discuss the needs of our school, the current state of any policies our school had, and the progress of our efforts.  We divided the policy into divisions and each member of our group contributed in the division in which we teach.  As I teach grade 3, I worked mainly on the pre-kindergarten to grade 2 and grades 3-5 sections which I have posted below.  The policy can be viewed in its entirety in Christina’s blog post. [...]

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