Fresh baked bread and homemade lentil soup – those were the enticing smells that led me to Greg Neff’s house to work on my CoETaIL assignment after a long day of classes. The middle school staff was assembled with food as our motivator. After the initial discussion of who was the Anonymous Hippo or what type of Avatar was showing up on our Google docs, we decided to dive in. Well, after we broke out the white wine.
Now we are ready. Almost……Comments about the cozy decor, questions about the serene tea, critiquing the middle school night of Jazz and we are well on our way to being DISTRACTED. Why is it so hard for teachers to focus?
What was I saying? Oh yeah, final project.
Here is the project: Option 1: In a small group create an AUP for your division level. You may start from scratch or use a framework from some of the resource that are covering in the course or from what your school already has in place. Include a reflective blog post describing choices you made in developing the AUP i.e. choice of language level, topics covered, issues of focus, describe how it would be shared with students etc.
We did some research by stalking some of the other departments and seeing what they had done first. Armed with information, we decided to take the middle ground. We are middle school teachers after all. Middle school teachers like to be in the middle….we are not the overachievers that elementary teachers are – we don’t have the patience for it. We are not as creative and independent as high school teachers – we don’t have the maturity. And the British school? Well, we are not BRITISH – who understands their humor, anyway?
We decided that our current RUA in the middle school was pretty much in tact, it just needs some modifications: The tweaking came in the following steps:
- We wanted the agreement to be on one page and also to be more concise and user-friendly.
- Our current RUA is very lengthy. We all admitted that we hadn’t really familiarized ourselves with it and doubted any of our students did the same. It is over 4 pages long – being concise with the new version is KEY.
- We wanted to make sure that we stated that technology should ENHANCE learning in the Statement of Philosophy. That is the primary goal of technology.
- We discussed the fact that the consequences need to be consistent among grade levels. We had representatives from 6th, 7th and 8th grade at our meeting and realized that we all implemented different consequences for the abuse or misuse of technology.
- We all accepted the fact that this was a proposal and we might not see these changes take place to the SFMS RUA.
The only strand that we left off was the last one on the RUA that states: I will also follow division and classroom expectations and guidelines related to technology.
We decided as a group that administration should sit down with teachers and come up with the appropriate classroom expectations. The guidelines for their class or grade level can be placed on the back of the sheet still keeping the RUA to one page.
All in all, I am happy with the final product. We did not start from scratch to create an RUA because one already existed. We also did not just leave everything the same – technology changes so our RUA must be adapted every so often….instead, we took the middle ground and I am OK with the middle!