The AUP at my school was just updated for the start of this school year with our move to 1:1 laptops. It was a good document to start out with. The changes my partner and I made focused on editing for redundancy and clarity, and a bit on formatting. Keeping in mind that we would like our revisions to be considered, even though it will not be in the school’s plan to look at revisions yet, we did not omit anything, except in the case of redundancy, though there were a couple of areas we thought may not be totally necessary, such as the breakdown of email responsibilities.
The original AUP was for grades 3-8. As we looked through the document, it was clear that the topics covered really pertained to the 1:1 laptop program, which the 3rd and 4th grade students are not part of. So our first suggestion is to move to a K-4 and a 5-8 AUP to better fit the student’s computer/technology use.
As we reviewed our document, we made notes about what we thought was missing, needed to be made more clear, or should be taken out based on the work we have done over the last couple of months in the COETAIL courses, as well as the experiences we have had with the program in our school this year. Next we reviewed other school’s examples of AUP, (International School of Bangkok, the American School of Dubai, and Jakarta International School), this helped us get ideas for what, additionally, we may have missed.
Thinking back to presenting this document to the Middle School students at the beginning of the year, I remember the tortured look in their eyes. Some of that can’t be avoided, but we did make a decision to take all of the “I will” statements out of each line item and consolidate them into one at the beginning of each section. Also some of the line items were rather long, so wherever we could we broke them into two items. This makes the document longer over all, but I think this will help put the focus on the information.
Wherever we could we changed the wording to try to be friendlier to the students age group and to add clarity. For example our original document stated:
3. Respect and protect the intellectual property of others
- I will respect and obey international copyright laws and not participate in the making of illegal copies of music, games, movies, or written work belonging to others.
- I will cite the sources I use.
The revised document states:
3. Respect and protect the intellectual property of others
- Use only legally obtained software.
- Not participate in the making of illegal copies of music, games, movies, software, or written work.
- Cite sources used including: information, music, videos and images.
Our plan for sharing this document is to present it to our administrator and tech coordinator at the beginning of next school year (We get out of school this Wednesday, so no one will have time now). Hopefully we will be able to then take it to the staff for possible adoption.
Whether or not any of our ideas get considered, I have already realized we need a better way to present this information to the students next year. We will have a new Tech teacher, so hopefully when we return, we will be given some time to work together to plan some more interesting, relevant ways to share this document with the students.
My experiences with middle school resonate with what Danah Boyd writes about in, “Bullying” Has Little Resonance with Teenagers. I have found that my student’s understanding of bullying is connected to physical acts. Therefore they have trouble articulating what is happening, when it involves shunning, ostracizing, name-calling, and non-verbal communication. It’s not bullying; it’s something else, they say.
It is also interesting that there is a degree to what is acceptable to them in the area of name calling. Calling someone a wombat is perfectly fine, but if the recipient then responds with curse-word name slinging, that has crossed the line. From an adult perspective name calling is name calling no matter what name you use. I tried to explain this to a student without much success.
My students recently reflected on the implementation of the 1:1 laptop program at our school. One area they commented on was the benefit of having more access to socialize online. This allows them to be more comfortable interacting with their peers because they don’t have their bodies giving away emotions. One example was, “if you are embarrassed and blush, no one knows.”
The appeal is understandable. Being an awkward Middle school student is not something I would want to relive, so the fact that they can avoid some of that awkwardness, is surely a welcome relief to them. So far, in our very small school, we haven’t yet had an issue with inappropriate chatting or messages (that we know of), and I hope it continues to be so.
At my school we begin teaching the children about appropriate online behavior as soon as they begin to interact online with other students. This year that was in our 1/2 combo class with a Flat Stanley exchange. Last year it was 3rd and 4th grade. Our tech teacher is always finding new ways for the kids to interact with children somewhere else in the world. Next year it is possible we will be introducing this topic to our Kindergarten students.
Children spend so much of their time at school, therefore it is important for us, as educators, to address the issues of bullying whether they happen in person or online. We need to work together with parents to make sure they are educated and working together with the school, so there is a continuity of expectations.
Yikes! After reading the different articles on understanding copyright, I am more lost than ever. I thought I was doing a decent job of getting my students to cite their sources. We have been using EasyBib, and basically the students would go through and enter as much of the information as they could find. We used this for all media types. When the students used images from the Internet, we would check to see if they were copyrighted before they included it in their presentations. Admittedly, there were times were we really weren’t sure.
Reading about Creative Commons has been a revelation. I didn’t realize that such a thing existed. The next time we search for images my students will be able to find and use images that they can be confident they are following the proper usage guidelines.
I did find the wording on the actual Creative Commons website to be very confusing, but the information on the attribution license is thankfully very easy to understand. Hmm…I don’t know though if I should have cited this screen shot that I have taken, and how does one cite a screen shot? This led me to another question. When I am using my personal images, do I cite them? Should I be getting a Creative Commons license for them? Is this typically only done for images on Flickr? See I am more confused than ever.
I plan to keep exploring this topic because it is particularly important for my students to be aware of copyright compliance. Next year will be the second year with our 1:1 program, and as we become more confident in the use of the laptops, we are creating more and more work, which we intend to share either in blogs, podcasts, or Vimeo. I want to start next year with some workshops on copyright, Creative Commons, and attribution with my students. I have bookmarked Wesley Fryer’s weblog Moving at the speed of Creativity. He has scads of links on copyright and fair usage that I hope to read through over the summer.
I have been thinking about online privacy, and how I feel about it more these last few weeks than I ever have. In fact, I never really thought about it at all. I’ve come to realize that my life is not as private as I once thought. Anyone can search for you. Anyone can write something about you or post a picture of you and really there is no control for that. I do consider myself a private person. I do not like to be the center of attention, preferring to stay in the background. But as far as my feelings on online privacy go, I am not yet sure how I feel. Part of me is concerned and part of me is too busy to make a fuss.
This is why the whole idea of blogging has been so strange to me. Why would anyone care what I have to say? Why do I need to put it out there? I am beginning to get it though. When I share something happening in my classroom it may give someone else an idea. I have certainly gotten a lot of ideas this way recently. I guess I just have to not question whether or not someone will gain value from what I am doing, but just put it out there because I’ve gained something by reflecting.
After reading thorough the articles: Your Online Reputation Can Hurt Your Job Search, Calculate Your “Digital Footprint” With New Tool From EMC and Most Companies Use Social Media For Recruiting, as well as searching for myself, I think the question is not “Should you have a digital footprint as an international educator?” but “How are you going to manage your digital footprint as an educator?”
A Google search of my name resulted in 163,000 results. On the first page they we ALL me, except for one which belonged to an Italian Facebook user in Milan. I have to admit I was quite surprised by all that I found, particularly a conversation my husband and I had using Google Buzz. When I click on the link I can’t see the whole thing, but still why is this snippet even there? What other conversations are out there that I assumed were private?
I then followed the advice of Kim Komando from her article, Your Online Reputation Can Hurt Your Job Search, and I went to the site PeekYou. Fifteen results showed up, many were repeats of the same person, but I was three of the results. When I clicked on one, it took me to a service called US search and for about $1 I could have access to addresses current and past, who my relatives are, and my maiden name.
So the footprint is there for anyone to access. What am I going to do about it? Mostly I saw that there wasn’t anything I could do nor was there a need to. I am a bit annoyed that the suggested advice is to post and post often to bring all the good things you do to the top of the list. I really don’t want to be bothered to do this, but I do realize that it is the reality of today. If a future employer has to choose between someone with no presence and someone they can see first hand through a blog the type of work they do, it makes sense to make sure I get myself out there.
On Facebook, I came across a high school student with a variant spelling of my name. She had a lot of information included on the profile that anyone can see without being her friend. What struck me was the use of profanity; it wasn’t particularly offensive, just unnecessary. So yes, I do think students should be taught the implications of what they share on the Internet and how that may impact them in their future. That they should carefully consider what they post in open forums as opposed to closed ones is a skill that can be used by everyone.