In a world where generations of people have only experienced easy access to the information highway and where others struggle to remember a time that they couldn’t digitally find any information they needed, it is clear that society and the world will not be reverting to an era without these resources. And yet with all this access comes a responsibility to be accountable users and communicators. And because of this trajectory, schools increasing exposure and usage of technology with students must also teach students digital citizenship skills (Roblyer, 2016, p. 117).
Schools must embrace this new role of the digital citizenship teacher so that students learn the appropriate ways to interact and behave online. To outline the possible risks involved with online access and interaction as well as to teach proper use of the tool, many schools have developed and utilize an Acceptable Use Policy with their staff and student body. Some schools, such as Campbell Hall in Studio City California, have even introduced the policy as a set of values. Because really AUPs are asking students to have integrity while engaging in technology use.
DCPS schools have an Acceptable Use Policy that they established in 2009 to highlight ways in which the school’s technological property can be used and cannot be used. It speaks to the filters in place due to the Children’s Internet Protection Act of 2000. It also details acceptable uses for devices and email. Interestingly enough DCPS does not have email for students even internally but speaks to students private email use.
My site based Acceptable Use Policy includes similar topics and also speaks to filters not being the absolute solution to blocking all inappropriate text, sites, and images. It tries to make students and parents aware that it is still the responsibility of the child to seek only appropriate materials. And from here use them in legal ways while interacting with resources as an ambassador for Powell Elementary School.
School-based Acceptable Use Policies help to start the conversation between students, their families and schools as they lead the way to better digital citizens in safety, legal and responsibly ethic usage. In 2007, another urban district grappled with the purpose and current state of their AUPs. Boston Public Schools worked very hard to revamp their AUPs to make them student friendly. They were careful to craft no more than ten main points starting with the student-centered phrase, “I am responsible for…”. They even included podcasts to discuss the AUPs by grade bands. Because in reality AUPs are only as effective as the students who understand them.
Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.