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.