Where to start?
It’s pretty much impossible to put into words how much I agonized over this project. Should it be whole school, primary, upper or lower primary or maybe by mileposts? Should it be short & sweet or have the 6 different sections that NEA recommends? Really, it was endless. Then I snapped out of it, more or less, and got to work. However, I ended up with a pretty major last minute change.
Here’s some background on where my school is now. Shockingly (or maybe not), there isn’t an AUP in place and, from what I understand, there’s not a huge press for one. My Deputy Head said we “sort of had something like an AUP” in our student diaries but no one really paid attention to it and it wasn’t enforced. (House point for honesty!). What I found was an Internet Pledge that was 1/2 AUP in spirit and 1/2 a mess. It was pretty long and all over the place. One thing about it that I did like was that it was created by the Student Councils of the 2 primary campuses and I thought that level of student involvement was great.
I talked with the ICT teacher about what she would want to see and I was happy that we agreed on most everything that it should cover. We also agreed that the AUP should be explicitly taught and discussed in the early weeks of the school year – both by class teachers and specialists that it pertains to – as well as covered in the first Parent’s Night meeting. Then continued to be referenced throughout the year. It really needs to be more than a quick read-through and sign.
The creation process
When thinking about creating “my” AUP, I knew that whole school would not work for my school or this project. My school has very specific and clear divisions across the years and I also felt that the range of development was too great for one document to cover it all. Not to mention that I work at the primary level – so problem solved. I felt that I would create two: one for EYFS – Y2 and another for MP2 & 3. I know I wanted it to be in kid-friendly positive language – or as close as I could get. I also wanted it to be short – 1 page was the goal – and to mirror the school wide rules that were already in place as well as the school’s mission statement.
I also really wanted to stress the technology and network side; that the agreements are NOT just for time spent working in school on school computers. We’re getting wireless soon so people would not be limited to responsible behavior in school only. I wanted to make it clear that they are responsible for their behavior when not at school but working with school resources such as StudyWiz, our eLearning environment. But I really could not think of a good way to word it all. I became absolutely crazed – reviewed many MANY different AUPs, articles on AUPs, “talking” with my 2 COETAIL “partners”. It went on and on. That all definitely helped but I also think I overloaded myself. I took a step back and began to gather my thoughts, pulling from AUPs I thought mirrored what I felt the school would want and jotting down bits from various articles. There are SO many AUPs out there that it just wasn’t necessary to reinvent the wheel. During this process I began to realize that one AUP for all of primary wasn’t going to work and I changed my focus to an AUP for MP2 &3. Issues like cyber bullying and not sharing passwords aren’t really going to be an issue with kids who can’t even spell their names and need help going to the toilet. So my major last minute change was from an AUP for whole school to one for Y3-6. I’ll save lower primary for another day.
The product & credit
I’m fairly happy with what I’ve created but it certainly isn’t a completely original piece of work. The following must be credited:
Josee’s COETAIL AUP (in particular, the preamble and consequences sections)
Sheldon Bradshaw’s Framing Your Acceptable Use Policy Through The Learner Profile