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Responsible Use Policies and the Classroom

Responsible Use Policies and the Classroom


This lesson will provide students with an Introduction to Responsible Use Policies

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Source: Gavel, Clker,; Globe, Clker,; Stick Figure, Clker,

Video Transcription

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Hello everyone. In this lesson, you're going to be introduced to responsible use policies, otherwise known as RUPs, and what they mean to you in the classroom. Let's get started.

The Consortium for School Networking believes that under responsible use that access is a privilege, not a right. According to the COSN, quote, "it presents the students use policy in the form of what students should do, rather than what they should not do." End quote. Its main objective is to protect students, and provide them with the access to internet. A responsible use policy is a set of rules that outlines the ways in which the network or website is used. For example, many districts have disclaimers at the bottom of their emails, notifying users that their district assigned email account should be used for school purposes only.

Responsible use policies at schools describe what students are allowed to do while working on the digital devices that the school provides, but places the onus on the student to act responsibly, rather than blocking sites like Facebook and other social media sites. Although harmful content is filtered, students have access to the majority of functions on the sites. Responsible use policies also place an emphasis on digital rights, security, and safety, and students are given wider access unless and until they demonstrate that they are not following the rules.

This is a great example of a responsible use policy, taken from the Shipley School in Pennsylvania. It is very thorough. I won't read the whole thing to you, but I will highlight some key points. You may want to pause so you could take a closer look. The entire document can be found at the website listed at the bottom of the page. Throughout the document, you'll see words like appropriate, polite, responsible, safety, maintenance-- all words that again please the onus on the student to act a certain way when interacting with technology. I particularly like the section of the document, as well, because it's very clear as far as telling students what's expected of them.

Next, I'd like to look at a government website that can help you better understand what goes into a responsible use policy, and how to communicate that important information with your stakeholders. The website is listed at the bottom of this slide. Let's go ahead and take a look at it.

So this is the government website. It's pretty comprehensive. If you look at the table of contents here on the side, this section is all about technology. And it starts with planning your technology initiatives, determining your needs, selecting your solutions, implementing your technology, safeguarding your technology, maintaining and supporting your technology, training for your technology, and integrating your technology.

In addition to these different sections, there's also an appendix that have things such as sample user agreements, information about protecting your devices with passwords, sample dial in access policies, and on and on. Within each section, you'll find subcategories that go into even greater depth. It's a great website to mess around with when you have some extra time, just to see what's there, and what you can bring back to your district to use.

Another great resource for you to review to help you build an even deeper understanding is the Massachusetts Guidelines for a Responsible Technology Use Framework. Let's take a look at that, as well.

This document may be a few years old, but it speaks right to the heart of what a responsible use policy is all about. In it they talk a great deal about learning in the 21st century, and a lot about protecting students from the dangers of the internet. This right here is a terrific quote. It's a wonderful analogy. It reads, "swimming pools can be dangerous for children. To protect them, one can install locks, put up fences, and deploy pool alarms. All these measures are helpful, but by far the most important thing one can do for their children is to teach them how to swim." And there is also a very long, impressive list of resources, to go even further with this topic.

Please keep in mind, whether your school subscribes to an acceptable or responsible use policy, they need to be in compliance with the requirements set forth by the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, and the Children's Internet Protection Act.

Let's quickly summarize what we covered in this lesson. We opened by talking about what a responsible use policy is. We looked at an example of a responsible use policy from the Shipley School in Pennsylvania. We looked at a responsible use policy template, and different information about frameworks. And finally, we talked about how important it is to continue to follow the regulations that are set forth.

Now it's time for food for thought. Does your school have a responsible use policy? If so, is your faculty aware of it?

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 the course material. Thanks so much for participating. Have a great day.

Notes on "Responsible Use Policies and the Classroom"

(00:00-00:11) Intro

(00:12-01:27) Responsible Use

(01:28-02:18) Sample RUP

(02:19-03:56) RUP Templates

(03:57-04:40) Frameworks

(04:41-04:57) Regulations

(04:58-05:52) Summary/Food For Thought

Additional Resources

Montgomery Schools Responsible Use Policies

This site provides links to the responsible use policies in use by the Montgomery County Public Schools. This school districted has opted to employ three responsible use policies (Pk2, 3-5, and 6-8). All policies are available for your review.

COSN Website

This is an excellent resource for establishing a responsible use policy or an acceptable use policy.

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.