I am now at my second school in the role of an Educational Technology Coach so I have worked with helping many students understand the schools Responsible/Acceptable Use Policy (RUP) for technology. However, the policies were created by our Technology Directosr and I had little input into what it contained or the language that was used. The final project for course 2 provided an interesting opportunity to look in-depth at what a policy should contain, why the chosen elements were important and who the audience is that will be using the policy.
I was very fortunate to work with Ken in Nepal and Pitt in China when breaking down what is needed in a use policy. The group collaboration provided an interesting opportunity to look what other schools are doing and why. To begin with, we all shared the policies that our schools are currently using in a Google folder.
In addition to looking at each others policies, we created a Google Doc where we could all share our ideas.
It was clear from the beginning that we were all on the same page with what a policy should include and it was also interesting to see the ideas of others on what external resources to pull. I thought we should include the ISTE Standards for Students as a framework for areas that need to be covered including: Empowering Learners, Digital Citizenship, Global Collaborator, Creative Communicator, Innovative Designer and Computation Thinker. I also wanted to pay close attention to the level and tone of language. I have found in the past that younger children do not understand what the RUP is asking them to agree to so there needs to be a great deal of discuss developing their knowledge. Discussing the information is important but I think the language also needs to be more lower primary friendly. Pitt suggested using the Digital Citizenship material from Common Sense Media. Excellent material can be found on their site and there is no use in reinventing the wheel. One of the suggestions that Ken had was to use the Learner Profiles used with the IB programs. Compiling all the information into one area is not always easy but when you look at the information in ISTE Standards, Common Sense Media and the Learner profiles, you can see how well they compliment each other.
For creating the policy, Ken suggested creating a form where our school information could be added which the student would sign. I think that is good idea because it helps to keep the students accountable. In the past, when I have had student who strayed away from appropriate use, bringing their signed copy of the policy to the meeting with them was very powerful. I was able to remind them that they had agreed to follow the policy and that it was in writing. Pitt, created an infographic which is another great idea ,especially with young children. The more visual the information the more easily they care able to relate to it. ISTE has recently developed a poster covering the essential points in a Responsible Use Policy which I would also use with my students. Not only is it a great visual tool but also using positive language and instead of telling students what not to do suggest what they could do.
I had created a google slide which I could use to work with the students on each element in the policy.
I think as a group we were able to cover all the essential elements required in an Responsible Use Policy. We were able to gather a variety of resources readily available in the Educational Technology digital world. Also, a combination of media such as visual aide signed documents to help with understand and holds students accountable. The final project provided an excellent opportunity to took into a tool (the policy) and think about what was import to me when working with students instead of using one that someone else created. It was also great working with other educators around the globe. Thanks Ken and Pitt.