Acceptable Use Policies
An Acceptable Use policy needs to be provided for all school Internet users, not just students, and needs to cover computer equipment as well as Internet access.
In addition, a well written Acceptable Use policy can be used as a teaching tool.
While last revised in 2004, this Guide To Network Ethics And Computer Technology Use from the Grossmont Union High School District is a great example document.
Starting with a quick explanation of how the Internet is organized sets the expectations for the policies that follow.
This document shows how you can make your Acceptable Use policy statement serve a second purpose in making students and parents aware of Internet safety, privacy (or the lack thereof) and their responsibilities.
BYOD For Students
This video from the Whitehall-Coplay School District in Whitehall, PA covers their Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) rules in an entertaining manner.
Issues covered include connecting only to the school network while on campus, where you cannot use your device, teachers have the final say on how and if BYOD devices can be used in their classrooms, not charging your device at school, and you are responsible for any damage to your device.
- YouTube URL
Kent City Community Schools is an example of a well written Acceptable Use Policy.
It includes topics such as use of personally-owned devices ("turned off and put away during school hours"), netiquette, plagiarism, examples of acceptable & unacceptable use, and violation consequences.
This post from the Association of School Administrators encourages regular reviews of your district's policies regarding technology and should become an ongoing topic of discussion. Policies should cover Internet and technology usage, security and websites. Involving your technology staff in district discussions will help you identify potential problems before they becomes a significant issues.
While there are different expectations for public library Internet access, this Acceptable Use statement from the West Des Moines Public Library looks at topics like...
- who is responsible for offensive material on the Internet ("contact the original producer or distributor of that work directly"),
- no guarantee confidentiality over the Internet,
- compliance with United States Copyright Law, and
- not responsible for work lost due to malfunctions.
Rice University's acceptable use policy covers areas such as...
- use of resources,
- interference or impairment to the activities of others,
- unauthorized access,
- commercial activities,
- violation of city, state or federal laws,
- when inappropriate use of computer resources occurs, and
- where to go with questions.
Use policy statements like this as a checklist to ensure your school's policy is clear and comprehensive.
Whether it is called digital citizenship, digital wellness or digital ethics the issues are the same; how should we act when we are online, and what should be taught to students. With the growth of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and 1:1 initiatives in schools there is a need to talk about responsible use of technology.
This site helps teachers, technology leaders and parents to understand what students/children/technology users should know to use technology appropriately. The Nine Elements section identifies nine areas or topics that need to be addressed.
The topics brought up here can be included in an Acceptable Use policy or, better yet, taught alongside the introduction of the policy.
The recommendation is that a clear expectations and guidelines should be conveyed to parents and students, whatever the position adopted by your school.
Many educators suggest that this issue be discussed directly with students, beginning in, say, about grades 3 or 4, as one would discuss other sensitive issues.
Related Topics ...
Other Areas To Check Out...
• Assistance for Achieving Connectivity
• Developing Research Skills
• Evaluating the Quality of Information on the Internet
• Evaluation Resources
• Getting Started And Happy Endings
• Government Resources Sampler
• Research Resources for Teachers and Librarians
• Technology Policies and Planning
• U.S. Department of Education Resources
• Virtual Microscopes