Acceptable Use Policy

An acceptable use policy (from here on out referred to as an AUP) is a policy that explicitly states how the school and/or district expects its students, staff, and any other members of the school and/or district to behave with respect to technology (Common Sense Media).  This policy is typically given to members of the school and/or district in written form.  The AUP can be downloaded by any member of the community as it outlines the expectations of acceptable behavior for users within the community.  The AUP is an incredibly important document that does not typically receive the respect that it deserves.

Unfortunately, for many in education, an AUP has become as meaningless as the terms of agreement when signing up for iTunes.  No one reads the AUP because he or she fails to understand the importance of the document. Unfortunately, lack of understanding the AUP can lead to negative consequences down the road.  Many students in my school district have had consequences for violating the AUP when, they claim, they had no idea they were breaking any rules.  The school shows the student and the parent the AUP that they signed at the beginning of the school year.  Most parents and students say they did not actually read the AUP.

In order to alleviate this, the AUP has to be thorough without being overly wordy.  This can be difficult to achieve as the AUP needs to predict most situations that will arise from the community using the technology; however, if the AUP is too wordy, many individuals will not sign it.  A great way to combat that would be to have the AUP in list format.  Additionally, as my school district does, it is helpful to have a list of terms defined so all stakeholders have common definitions for the terms.  It is very difficult to disseminate all of the necessary information without being too wordy and redundant.

An AUP should address all aspects of Internet usage.  This includes, but is not limited to:searching, downloading, publishing a school website, browsing websites, all electronic communication (including social media), etc. (National Centre for Technology in Education 2012).  The Webwise AUP guidelines give a very detailed account of how to draft an AUP.  It is important for drafters of an AUP to research guidelines to make sure every aspect is covered.  Following these guidelines will assist in composing an effective AUP.

Following are four examples of AUPs used in school districts.  The final AUP is the one given to families in the school district where I work.

http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2005/tech_suite/app_a.asp#H1

http://lrs.ed.uiuc.edu/students/rtrieger/charterschoolpolicydraft.htm

http://jburroughs.org/acceptable-use-policy

https://sites.google.com/a/d428.org/1to1/acceptable-use-policy

These four examples all give very different examples of AUP.  Some of the examples are more thorough, and some give fewer details.  The problem with being too vague is that it leaves too much room for interpretation.  While I am against making it too wordy, it appears that a more thorough AUP is necessary in order to keep all members of the community informed of what is and is not allowed while using technology.


 

References

National Centre for Technology in Education. (2012). Webwise AUP Guidelines: Developing internet policy in your school.

No author given. (2016). 1-to-1 essentials-acceptable use policies. Retrieved from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/1to1/aups.

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Vlog Entry

For this entry, I interviewed five teachers that I teach with at the high school.  The teachers graciously agreed to be interviewed for this project.  Here are their views on integrating technology in the curriculum.

The Basic Suite

The Basic Suite refers to the three of the most used software support tools in education: word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation programs.  Many teachers and students around the world use these applications.  There are many advantages to incorporating word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation programs in my work environment.  I teach ninth grade Humanities English.  I work with students reading at grade level, and I teach a class for students reading significantly below grade level.  My school is currently a 1-1 school with the students having Chromebooks.  There are many advantages to using these applications.

Word Processing

Word processing applications are incredibly popular at the high school level.  Teachers can use Google Docs or Microsoft Word to name two different programs.  These word processing programs allow teachers to easily create, share, and edit lesson plans.  Additionally, it allows teachers to give students feedback on written assignments.  Also, using word processing applications make it easier for teachers to “push out” assignments on platforms like Google Classroom or Schoology.  This tool help create a paperless classroom.  In addition to word processing applications being beneficial for teachers, they are also beneficial for students.  Students can learn important life skills that will help them later in life.  My brother works for a fairly large company, and he says it is shocking how so many new employees lack the skills required for The Basic Suite.  This is something that teachers need to encourage.  Of course students can type essays, but it is more than that.  By using Google Docs, for example, students can learn important collaboration skills while working on a product.  Recently, my students had to create a product for mythology.  It was great that they all had Chromebooks and could collaborate using Google Docs.

Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets have more capabilities than most teachers truly need.  Spreadsheets can be used for something as simple as a class roster or seating chart.  The information can be important from the Online Gradebook and arranged any way the teacher would like.  Also, the Spreadsheet can be used as a gradebook or backup gradebook.  At my school, everything has to be entered in an online gradebook.  Teachers do not keep paper gradebooks anymore.  I do make sure to export my online gradebook to Excel every few weeks.  This allows me to have a back up gradebook on my computer in case there is a glitch with the online gradebook.  Spreadsheets can also be used to sort and analyze data from Google Forms.  Roblyer (2016) explains how incorporating this tool in the classroom can help students organize and store different types of data and information.  Students can also use spreadsheets.  Students can use spreadsheets to organize their tasks or to create a to do list.  I encourage students to keep track of their grades in a spreadsheet.  This helps in case a grade is entered in error.  A student can reference his or her spreadsheet in order to check the accuracy of entered grades.

Presentation Tools

Teachers use presentation tools all of the time.  Between Google Slides and PowerPoints alone, teachers are quite familiar with presentation tools.  I use presentation tools nearly every day.  While it may not be for the entire class period, I do use them to keep my classroom organized.  I can project the bell ringer, lead the class in notes, and more.  I do adhere to the rules of PowerPoints by having more visuals and fewer words.  I find that having the PowerPoint helps keep my classroom structured and organized.  Finally, PowerPoint can be used to create an interactive quiz.  Students use presentation tools all the time across content areas; however, it is important for the students to be taught how to properly create a PowerPoint.  Often times students put too many words on each slide and simply read off of the slides.  Another advantage is collaboration.  Students can collaborate on projects to present information for an assignment.  Students can create graphic organizers that fit their learning styles and preferences.  The opportunities for students to use presentation tools are endless.  The most important thing the students must learn is how to use them effectively.

Reference

Roblyer, M.D.  Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching.  7th Edition.  Pearson, 2016. VitalSource Bookshelf Online.