As we approached this final project it got me thinking about what do we really mean by acceptable use and why must it be a “Policy”. I know that legally the school must have a policy in place to cover its liabilities, but what about the students. We all know that unless we require them to, they don’t read it and may not follow it. If we do require them to read it and sign a document that says they have read it and agree to follow the policy – does that really mean they understand, that the get it.
Our school has a lengthy policy that covers many aspects a tradtional AUP needs to cover. My colleagues and I met and worked through the policy updating it where it no longer met the needs of our school or students. We added in a form for students and parents to sign showing that they have read and understand the policy. All of this is necessary and I think it is better than when we started.
One of my tasks was to make a flyer that would hang in the classroom for students to see – highlighting areas of the AUP that students need to think of frequently. This is where I tried to help the students understand why the school has an AUP and what it means to them – what do we expect from their behavior. At first I wrote the points in the language of the AUP – but it was too formal and stuffy, so I put it in language a student will get. I like it. It may not be how an administrator or even a lawyer would say it, but it is written in a way that students will understand that the school and their teachers have expectations and standards of what is acceptable behavior, when you are on the computer at school. Hopefully some of the lessons will go beyond the boundaries of the school and into their everyday computer use.
Below is our entire document for the AUP – the last page is the poster. I will be looking at this for next year. The next step for me is to design a unit or units around some of the policies that have broader implications like bullying and their digital footprint. But that’s next year!