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Acceptable Use and the Classroom

Acceptable Use and the Classroom

Author: Gino Sangiuliano

This lesson will provide students with an introduction to Acceptable Use Policies

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Video Transcription

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Hello, everyone, and welcome. The topic of today's lesson is Acceptable Use Policies in the Classroom. Let's get started.

As a parent of two teenage boys, it's not easy keeping an acceptable use policy in our own home. I'm fortunate that both are extremely responsible and quite tech savvy. However, even they sometimes fall into the trap of downloading a game without permission or clicking on an ad and letting a virus in. For a long time, I restricted such sites as YouTube and Facebook. But I feel they are old enough now to use sites like that responsibly. At least I hope they are.

An acceptable use policy, or an AUP, outlines the restrictions and practices that a user must agree to in order to access the internet or a network. For instance, some districts will put restrictions on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. AUPs at schools describe what students are allowed to do while working on digital devices provided by the school. For example, in most schools, students are not able to upload or remove any programs.

In 2013, the Consortium of School Networking updated their guide to acceptable use policies. The guide is meant to help school systems update their AUPs. Their website is listed below. Their goal is to protect students and provide them with access to the internet.

Some of the threats to be aware of are access by minors to inappropriate matter. Oftentimes, students end up stumbling upon such content when innocently searching for something else. The safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communications. We've all read the reports of online predators using this anonymity of the internet to pose as someone they're not for nefarious reasons. It's really scary.

Unauthorized access, including so-called hacking and other unlawful activities by minors online. As many youngsters are more adept with technology than adults are, this can be a difficult one to address. Unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal information regarding minors. This is a topic that has been in the news a lot lately in regards to demographical data being collected by testing companies. And of course, access by minors to materials that can potentially harm them both physically and emotionally.

The following example of an acceptable use policy is posted on the National Center for Education Statistics website and was provided by the Rochester, New Hampshire, School department. Take a moment to read it over. I will highlight some key words and phrases. As you can see, these measures are put in place to keep children safe from online dangers and to ensure accessibility to all.

Before you or your district draft or update a policy, be sure to check out the same website listed below. It has resources and templates from many other technology-related communications for your students, staff, and parents, including sample email policies, sample dial-in policies, and sample password policies. Let's take a sneak peak at what it looks like.

This is the example of the acceptable use policy that I took from Rochester, New Hampshire. It also outlines responsibilities for staff, users. Here's a disclaimer. And there's some other resources as well. Here's the sample electronic email policy and the dial-up access policy. You'll also find some great advice on setting passwords. The site brings you through a whole array of things you'll need to know if you are planning technology initiatives, and what you need to do to determine your needs and so on, all the way to where we ended up on this video, in looking at samples of acceptable use policies and agreements.

So what did we cover in today's lesson? Let's summarize. We began by defining acceptable use. We looked at potential dangers. We looked closely at a sample acceptable use policy. And we looked at a website where you could access other resources.

Now food for thought. Think about what the use policy for your school looks like. How does it compare to the use policies of neighboring districts?

To dive a little deeper and learn how to apply this information, be sure to check out the Additional Resources section associated with this video. This is where you'll find links targeted toward helping you discover more ways to apply this course material. As always, thanks so much for watching. Have a great day.

Notes on "Acceptable Use and the Classroom"

(00:00-00:08) Intro

(00:09-00:34) AUP At Home

(00:35-01:21) Acceptable Use

(01:22-02:15) Potential Dangers

(02:16-02:49) Sample AUP

(02:50-03:13) Other Resources

(03:14-04:03) NCES Website

(04:04-04:25) Summary

(04:26-04:50) Food For Thought

Additional Resources

Victoria Australia State Department of Education 

This resource provides the necessary components of acceptable use policies. Even though this site is from Australia, the templates are relevant to the development of acceptable use policies by grade level.

COSN Handbook 

A fantastic resource from COSN that explains the difference between acceptable use and responsible use: Rethinking acceptable use policies to enable digital learning. This handbook demonstrates why so many districts are moving away from acceptable use policies toward responsible use policies. A responsible use policy opens up more filters, treats technology use as a privilege and places responsibility on teachers and students. This is critical in a BYOD environment where you are unable to fully control student devices or in a system that allows personal mobile devices.