Acceptable Use Policy in School Districts
Currently, my state’s education department does not have guidelines for schools to use concerning acceptable use policies (AUPs). The digital technology tab on the Oregon Department of Education’s website is currently under construction. Fortunately, districts across Oregon have already responded to the needs regarding acceptable use of technology in schools.
According to Common Sense Media, an acceptable use policy for school districts outlines, in writing, how they expect their community members to behave with technology. Often the policies are written to include appropriate and inappropriate technology use and related consequences. Finally, parents and children are expected to sign off that they agree to the terms and conditions in order to use technology for school work.
I liked this summary of recommendations about what should be included in any school district’s acceptable use policy. (Virginia.gov)
An AUP must address (1) access to and transmission of data and information within the K-12 environment and (2) any technology-based device in the school or personal device brought into the school. It must include the following components:
Description of the instructional philosophies and strategies to be supported by Internet access in schools
Statement on the educational uses and advantages of the Internet in a school or division
Statement that the AUP complies with state and federal telecommunication codes, laws, and regulations
Statement regarding the need to comply with fair-use laws and other copyright regulations while accessing and utilizing the Internet and other network materials and resources
Disclaimer absolving the school division, under specific circumstances, from responsibility
List of the roles and responsibilities of division personnel, community stakeholders, parents, and students for using the Internet and other electronic-based resources
Description of the safety measures currently in place and those measures planned for emerging technologies not currently deployed in the system
Description of the methods by which the division ensures data and network security
Description of prohibited forms of technology-based applications and hardware use by employees and students in addition to details of associated penalties (including clear definitions of acceptable online behavior and access privileges—reflecting any circumstances unique to a specific school or division)
Description of the procedures to address breaches of Internet and intranet security and safety, including legal actions to be taken
Description of the ongoing professional development opportunities for each stakeholder group and associated needs assessments and evaluations
Description of the community outreach activities and associated needs assessments and evaluations
Description of the procedures for evaluating and revising the AUP
Signature form for teachers, parents, and students indicating their intentions to abide by the AUP
Acceptable use policies are important because they protect students. As well, they provide students, teachers and parents with a base level understanding about expectations for responsible use of technology within and outside of school.
Out of personal interest, I decided to compare four examples of AUPs from designated locations around the world.
Four examples of Student Focused AUPs
HSD Elementary Handbook, USA see pages 14-18
Summary: This AUP outlines the basic responsibilities and guidelines related to the appropriate use of technology within and outside of schools. It is written in legal language and would require interpretation for most K-12 students in order to truly understand. The opening statement includes:
Summary: This AUP is written in positive language rather than punitive language. The site also states that it is not intended to be a legal document. Instead, it is a compact to be understood by the child, parents, and teacher. It also includes a child-friendly page to demonstrate in pictures and/or in writing that the student understands important elements of responsible technology use. A page is designated to show that the entire team (parent, child, and teacher) agree to the conditions set forth.
Summary: This AUP is written for students in the form of “I will…” statements. It is standard and includes broad expectations at first. It ends with examples of appropriate and inappropriate use of technology as a guideline. Parents and students are expected to sign the document and it appears to be a legal document based on the opening statement included here:
Summary: This AUP is written in positive language and is intended to be easily understood by students. The AUP favors the benefits of technology over the disadvantages of use for school related work. Instead of “I statements” this AUP uses “We statements”. I like how the use of “We statements” emphasizes the importance of holding each other accountable since many technology related school work is completed in a collaborative way.
In conclusion, I believe these acceptable use policies reflect the litiginous nature of the particular area of the country these AUPs are from. I am attracted to the AUPs that are written positively and in a non-punitive way. However, I do realize why guidelines are written in a legalistic way so that school districts can avoid lawsuits in order to focus on using financial and human resources to support learning.
Retrieved from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/1to1/aups
The course of study in this class has been instrumental at this stage of my career in education. Even though learning theory is rarely discussed in my setting, I now have a greater understanding of the history of learning theory, the similarities and differences among learning theories, socio-political influences related to education and technology and finally a chance to examine emerging theories that incorporate technology. This solid foundation will give me more credibility as a new instructional coach. I can now speak easily about the evolution of technology in the classroom, its potential, and the reasons why administrators need to free up time for educators to continue learning about technology use in the classroom.
My early academic training focused on liberal studies. This interdisciplinary foundation caused me to have a preference for learning things in layered context. For example, it is so helpful to have the historical, political, and psychological context to frame a field of study or connect to a theory. I found that the flow of assignments and related readings in this course made it easier to assimilate the large amount of information we were consuming in order to make sense of it. At times it felt overwhelming to narrow in on a topic in depth such as the learning theories paper when you had just barely touched the surface of learning theories. Then the annotated bibliography assignment zoomed my lens back out. I remember thinking that I should know the topic of my final paper before I completed the bibliography. Then I relaxed and let my interests guide me and I discovered that I needed to understand the history of learning theory before I could embrace an emerging theory. By the completion of my annotated bibliography, I had an idea about the topic of my synthesis paper. It turned out that the resources in my annotated bibliography were essential to finding new peer-reviewed research for my final study of connectivism.
I will definitely refer to various learning theories as they come up in conversation with teachers or my administrator about classroom practices or within the context of discussion during professional development. Practical solutions to the challenges of effectively implementing technology in the classroom will be especially useful. Teachers are already strapped for time and often on information overload so I look forward to suggesting a basic framework for technology integration, depending on each teacher’s current level of understanding, using my knowledge about connectivism and related pedagogy mentioned in my final paper.
The three assignments I referenced above relate to AECT’s 5th Standard (Research): Candidates explore, evaluate, synthesize, and apply methods of inquiry to enhance learning and improve performance. I identified application of these three specific indicators: Ethics – Candidates conduct research and practice using accepted professional and institutional guidelines and procedures. All assignments mentioned required use of the APA format and proper credit given to the source. Assessing/Evaluating – Candidates apply formal inquiry strategies in assessing and evaluating processes and resources for learning and performance. All assignments required us to evaluate our resources in order to identify a topic for research, specifically, the annotated bibliography. Theoretical Foundations – Candidates demonstrate foundational knowledge of the contribution of research to the past and current theory of educational communications and technology. The entire flow of readings and assignments achieved this in total.
As much as I enjoy the practical aspects of educational technology, this course made me realize how much our profession is in need of more research based practices. Not only do teachers deserve greater respect and might gain it from this knowledge, our students deserve the best that we have to offer.
Check out this link from teachthought.com. It has a great visual showcasing the various learning theories.