Be Acceptable.

Some rights reserved by Gord McKenna

Here’s the AUP. I collaborated with my colleagues Justin and Tara for it. Go ahead and read it – it’s only two pages! No legalese, no laundry list of “don’ts,” no ridiculously intricate stipulations about how to use resources. Just positive, common sense guidelines. It’s aspirational, not contractual.

When we wrote it, we followed the following guidelines:

Language Level: Written for high schoolers by high school teachers. This is not to say that the guidelines couldn’t be used in a different school level, but phrases like “Adopting transparent and honest online identities” would have to be translated into direct, kid-friendly language.

Topics Covered: It’s streamlined compared to other AUPs that we reviewed because our school has more limited technology resources (such as print queue systems, school email for students, 1:1 laptops, etc). Therefore, it wasn’t necessary to set out guidelines for such systems. Instead, we focused on how we wanted students to interact with others and participate in communities.

Issues of Focus: We address on students behavior online and in real life (IRL) by covering three topics: surfing the web, use of personal electronic devices (it’s not uncommon for our students to come to school with two phones), and utlization of the school’s physical resources (including our limited bandwidth). Once again, it’s fairly limited in scope, but a detailed document is useless if no one bothers to read it.

Sharing with Students: We haven’t discussed this, although I recognize it’s an important component that ties in with the topics of Weeks 3 and 4. The school currently gives a handbook quiz at the beginning of the year, and it would be easy to incorporate elements from the AUP into that. However, I’ll reiterate my admiration for Kim Cofino’s Digital Citizenship Week because such an approach allows a school to highlight a topic that doesn’t fit effortlessly into many existing curricula. If such an option isn’t available, I’d make it part of a unit on digital citizenship in the technology curriculum.