Monday, 9 November 2015

Acceptable Use Policy

I work at an international, PYP school in Singapore and we indeed have an Acceptable Use Policy. In fact, in my new role this year as EdTech Coach, I actually had to rewrite the Acceptable Use Policy in conjunction with our Director of Education Technology.

The AUP is for all students in our school. In the primary level, students use the school's technology whether that's iPads/iMacs in Kindergarten - Year 2 or the 1-to-1 laptop programme in Years 3-6 or the BYOD (MacBooks) from Middle School onwards. There is also a teacher's AUP as well as now a parent AUP as the Middle/High school parents have school emails to access ManageBac.

One of the major challenges is finding wording that is suitable for all students, especially the younger year groups. This year we rewrote it to make it more positive and student friendly. Thus, instead of saying "Don't do this", it now reads "We will...". This provides a more community approach that we all are responsible for abiding by the rules and frames it in a way of what students should be doing.

Our Acceptable Use Policy is broken down into different sections:

1. Be polite and respectful

2. Be responsible

3. Care for the devices

4. Keep your information private

5. Access appropriate information

6. Reference your work

7. Discipline

8. Social Media

Each section is expanded on with a few key bullet points. The social media section was added this year to fill a much needed gap. While we do not use social media often at our school, it is important to have the policy in place for if/when we use social media for specific needs.

The other challenge with developing an Acceptable Use Policy is that technology is always changing and the policy needs to be created in a way that will allow for new technologies to be fit in to the existing AUP. Thus, not always so specific to a certain tool but rather more the overarching ideals.

When going into each of the classrooms to talk about the AUP, I had to have very different approaches for the younger and older students. Some classes were more of a discussion while others were hands on practice of how to hold, carry, use, etc. the devices. I am interested to review the document after a year in the role and see what I would change after experiencing the role and the challenges within it.

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