Monthly Archives: May 2012

Course 2 Final Project – Acceptable Use Policy

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.

Our group began by searching the internet and the COETAIL website for other Acceptable Use Policies (AUPs) and gathering information from the technology departments at our school.  We drafted our plan then consulted, reworked and wordsmithed awhile.

Here are some of the points that we took into consideration while working on our AUP:

1.  We chose to phrase our statements in as positive a way as possible.  We believe that by creating positive “I will…” statements the document takes on a personal tone that encourages student ‘buy-in’.  We wanted our statements to reflect a sense of cooperative inclusion rather that a list of rules by which to abide.

2.  We tried to keep our policy concise and use language that was appropriate to the age of the students in the division.  This document is intended to be the starting point for discussion between students and parents as well as students and teachers so we felt that it should be written in simple, grade level appropriate language.

3. It took us awhile to come up with a general term to refer to all of the possible electronic devices to which the students may have access.  We settled on ‘electronics’ to include, but not be limited to, iPads, computers, the internet, printers, scanners, digital cameras and video cameras.  Who knows what amazing tools the future will bring!

4. We wanted to include statements that reflected our consideration of the importance of current issues in technology such as personal privacy, cyber-bullying, copyright and the access to potentially inappropriate material without making these issues appear threatening.  It is our intention that our policy promotes and models responsible digital citizenship.

I think that our AUP is comprehensive and complete.  It is my hope that the document that we have drafted will be used as a starting point for the team that will be created to roll out our 1:1 iPad initiative for the 2012-2013 school year.  Such a document needs to be dynamic and the individuals who work with the AUP need to be flexible and open to the constant changes and fast pace that is the world of technology for 21st century learners.

The internet in Nana’s basement

Some rights reserved by no

My grandfather worked for the same printing press company for 50 years fixing, maintaining and later managing large printing presses as could be found at the Toronto Star newspaper or the Royal Canadian Mint.  He loved to tinker and subscribed to Popular Mechanics long before it was popular.  Many years after he retired, upon the urging of family members, he became interested in learning more about computers and technology.  My uncle set him up with a computer in his basement “man-cave” (also long before they became popular).  Awhile later when my brother went to visit them after a long absence my grandmother remarked to him, “Lovey, I’m so glad to see you! Grandad will be so excited to show you his world wide web.  He keeps it in the basement.”  Needless to say, in our family, the internet will always reside in Nana’s basement.

The internet has become such a powerful tool for so many of us.  Like many modern conveniences, we routinely take it for granted and when, invariably, access is denied we are amazed at how we ever managed without it.  I think that one of the most appealing things about the internet is that it offers something for everyone, young or old.

One-size-fits-all and custom-made at the same time.

I use the internet more and more every day.  I am constantly aware of how I am becoming more dependent upon it, especially since living overseas.  When we were packing to move I left behind many things I thought I could replace via the internet like recipe books, photo albums, and favourite novels.  Even leaving family behind was made easier with the knowledge that we could Skype regularly.

I use my iPad and laptop as inquiry tools when writing (dictionary and thesaurus); reading books (to look up references to things I am unclear about or to search authors’ webpages); watching movies (“Wasn’t that the guy from…?”); and I have even been known to google queries about the video games my kids are playing (“Are you sure this is appropriate for your younger brother?).  The internet provides me instant access to answers to many of my “I wonder…” thoughts.

Hyperlinks are the multi-tasker’s best friend.

I always have multiple tabs open in my browser because I have right clicked on hyperlinks and selected ‘Open Link in New Tab’.  I look at the multiple tabs as a sort of “to do” list.  When I have finished travelling down a particular path I don’t need to follow any breadcrumbs to get back on track.  I close the tabs just like crossing tasks off a list. Hyperlinks allow my thought process to be more dynamic instead of linear.  They allow me to dig deeper into a subject because I can click  on the ones that I am interested in and skip those I am not.

I think it is important to teach children how to research subjects for school use and for personal use by modelling how hyperlinks can be used constructively  as inquiry tools.  We can’t just assume that because they are proficient internet users they know how to do so efficiently.  We all know how that time passes more quickly when we are online, right?

And just remember, in case you’ve lost any files in the cloud, you might want to look for them my Nana’s basement.