This was a useful project. When I first saw the final project description, I, truthfully, thought it sounded like the sort of work we have to do sometimes as educators that is neccessary, but not particularly inspiring or even that useful, like creating policy. You need it in place, you’re glad you’ve got it written out if you have to refer to it, but it can easily spend its life tucked into a policy manual in an administrator’s office without seeing much light of day.
Gwen Martin and I compared the AUP documents from the international schools in Edinburgh, Singapore, and Tunis. The first realization I had was that there were similar subheadings under which the agreements were chunked: Equipment, Security and Privacy, Internet, and Email. Being our first initiation into the bones of this document, we worked with the traditional headings, but I am now curious to notice how other schools may have thought to organize the agreements. I like the idea of framing them through general behavior attitudes that pertain throughout our community life like: Be Kind, Be Safe, Be Responsible.
Kristi Lonheim joined in with us at the revision stage and made the much needed suggestion of framing the language in positive terms and we did that. We also met with the tech director and tech integration specialist at ACST and they made some small, but useful wording suggestions, such as changing students to patrons because we need to also communicate common expectations to parents and staff. For now, we are suggesting this language for use in the elementary school.
After listening to the Big Marker session on May 2nd, and reading Kim Cofino’s blog on their Digital Citizenship Week, I got the picture of how to move these “rules” into living policy and with my move to 7th grade for next year, I hope to bring along that vision and inspiration.
ACST Elementary School
Technology Acceptable Use Policy
The school provides computers and other technology services for you to use and they are a powerful tool to help you learn and communicate your learning. They are for everyone to share so we have to take proper care of them so they are available all of the time. Also, because they are school property, we must use them in educational ways and with the same respect we give to books, equipment, and the school building. Using computers at school is a privilege, not a right. These are the school rules and also the laws, both Tunisian and international, we expect all patrons to follow.
- I will treat the equipment with respect. I will not damage, disable or otherwise harm the operation of the computers.
- I will not install any software on school computers without the permission of the technology director.
- I will be careful that any files brought in on removable media have been checked by antivirus software and are virus-free.
- I will not connect mobile equipment without permission from the IT Department.
Security and Privacy
- I will never reveal my home address, picture, phone numbers, or those of my classmates or teachers, when on the Internet. I will use school email and phone numbers, only.
- I will only use my account and password and keep my password private.
- I will not change individual files that don’t belong to me and will never change system files.
- I will respect the security settings on the computers and will not attempt to bypass or change them.
- I realize that computer storage areas (the school hard-drive) are like cubbies or lockers. Teachers or administrators may inspect them from time to time to make sure they are being used, properly.
- I will report security problems or anything that makes me feel uncomfortable to my teacher, principal, or technology director.
- I realize that computers may only be used for educational purposes during the school day.
- I will not download, view on the Internet, or save any files that are obscene, pornographic, or offensive to others.
- I will obey copyright laws and respect the work that belongs to other people, both at school and on the Internet.
- I will respect the viewpoint of others. I will not reply using language that includes swearing or other offensive language.
- I will not open attachments to email unless they come from someone I already know and trust.
- I realize that all email must be appropriate for students and may not display information or images that are violent, dangerous, racist, or in any other way, inappropriate.
- I realize that email is not private; it can be read by teachers or the technology director.
I am not sure that we will use this document as we wrote it. If it is used, I see the need for continual tweeking of the language as we become more aware of our intent and our message.
Our tech integration specialist challenged us with an observation that there isn’t a stated consequence for lack of adherence to this code. In a timely manner, Kim Cofino posted the “Three Strikes” policy her school (YIS) has come up with. I appreciate the line they found to draw between holding students accountable for their ethical use of the computers and also teaching them and trying to help them establish better habits. Giving them a snoozer of a laptop upon which they can still accomplish the rudiments of their school assignments seems like a brilliant deterrent. We are not a 1:1 school so students don’t have their own computers, per se, but perhaps our tech department could still customize one computer that is reserved for use by a particular student who is on probation.
In the end, I really do have a new way of looking at these common technology usage agreements. I see constant ways to integrate them into my 7th grade humanities classes and some other engaging ways of developing these understandings throughout the middle school and then hopefully, throughout the school.