I wrote my AUP with two of my colleagues also in this COETAIL Cohort, Matt and Justin. As we are all in the high school, we decided to try to upgrade and refine our current acceptable use policy, which has not been revised in some years. We have presented our result to our current Director of Technology for feedback, in the hopes that we can adopt this, or a revised version, for the following school year.
In meeting about the AUP, we discussed a series of options. Most of the samples we researched were wordy, sounded like legal documents, and contained a series of rules and regulations. We figured, if they are unreadable to us, surely, they are unreadable, and therefore off-putting, to students.
I had just been looking at some sample school handbooks, and I like the way Taipei American School has laid out their Student and Parent Handbook. Therefore, we looked at their AUP and really liked how it was centered on their school values.
At the same time, we are completing our self-study year for reaccreditation, and so we decided to focus our AUP on our Mission goals as well. We wrote this document to reflect our school Mission and Beliefs and to represent the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law. Hence, to the extent possible, we phrased things in the positive, focusing on what students should do rather than what they should not do.
In addition, we decided to define Digital Citizenship and incorporate the parameters this way. In essence, this is a document meant to teach students how to be responsible Digital Citizens. We also feel it is important to teach students that digital citizens create as well as consume. Hence, our AUP is really a guideline for how to live with and use technology in this technology-laden world. Hopefully, this is the first step in creating greater awareness of what digital citizenship is and how we can more fully support each other as digital learners.