As I began my journey to acceptable use policy (AUP) creation, I took the obvious first step. I sought out the IT department at my current school and requested a copy. The student hand book refers to an AUP that the students are asked to sign each year, so I assumed there would be one in existence.
At YIS the high school students are required to bring laptops. The middle schoolers are requested to bring one when a teacher asks. Students have mandatory IT classes from Kindergarten through grade 9, with optional courses in grade 10, 11 and 12. Yet there appears to be no AUP. At least not one that I could locate; thus, reaffirming the school’s need for this type of document. I also had to accept that I would be starting from scratch. (Note: Two of the documents would not load due to security reasons.)
Luckily, I joined forces with Marcello and Andre to start a conversation and the gathering of ideas. We utilized Dropbox to keep track of the example AUPs we discovered to draw from. We started a written conversation on Google docs to bounce ideas off each other.
Once I began examining AUPs that we had gathered, I realized that an AUP for YIS must be simple and clear. The students are unfamiliar with such a document, plus our entire population is made up of non-native speakers. Looking at the document from Concordia, I determined that I would need a numbered list rather than paragraphs for easier presentation to the students. Examining TAISM’s policy, I noticed many regulations for the students that YIS would not be able to enforce. We don’t have the infrastructure and blocking capabilities as well as no school email addresses for students. Mount Kiara and SIS (my former school) have AUPs that are fitting for my students; short and clear. They also leave room for issues that might arise but were not explicitly stated, providing the school with more flexibility.
I choose the short list with additional explanations for both the students and the teachers who are unfamiliar with the idea of an AUP. This allows a quick glance at the basics, yet provides details. One of the most important items to include on an AUP in Myanmar is avoiding slowing down the network. Students frequently forget this message and are found downloading large quantities of information, bringing the network to a halt.
Presenting this high school/middle school document to the students should be primarily in the hands of the IT department. With the grade 6-9 students in required classes, it’s the logical space to present the material. I showed this document to my English department colleague who helped me continue to edit the information and readily agreed to present the material in his classes to grade 10-12. Each section will need to be reviewed and taught as our students are unfamiliar with this type of document. Through discussion and review with the IT coordinator, he agreed that this AUP would suit our school needs.
In the end I sought out the help of Jason Spivey (ADE) who teaches high school social studies with me. Together we discussed point by point what our students need to understand before this policy could be implemented and the necessary wording. We also discussed the difficulty in adding a section about copyright as most programs are not available in Myanmar with using a pirated version. We did set a time to review this part of the AUP and consider adding a section involving use of Creative Commons and the citation of others‘ work. For now, I feel it can be covered by teaching the students about the issues covered in this AUP and the idea of respecting others.
Before this document will be presented to our administration (the goal is implementation in the secondary next school year) I will be attaching links to each expectation. Each link will be an article that helps demonstrate the need for the statement. This link will provide additional information for administration and parents. Please check back in the near future for my links.