District Policies

Teaching at a small Catholic school in a small town on an island has afforded me many benefits when it comes to teaching. One of these benefits is our access to education, especially with our current principal, who has previously taught technology at a college level. Our principal supports and encourages the use of technology in our classroom. Though devices are in need of upgrades/revisions, we have 1-to-1 devices for many of our classrooms. Our school is not held to the same rigorous standards as our public schools; there is more freedom to explore and try new techniques, particularly in regard to technology. However as I was completing my research for this week (and past week’s research for that matter), I wondered if our school had an AUP (known as an acceptable use policy). When thumbing through our enrollment packet, I discovered no policy for students to sign as they register. As I teacher, I realized, I had never once had my students sign one. Further, when researching our ‘district’ the Archdiocese of Anchorage, they did not have a policy on their site either. This, I thought, is an oversight for our school, and it is a policy our school needs.

An acceptable use policy or responsible use policy is a policy that outlines what a school or district expects of its members in behaving with technology (Common Sense Education., 2015). Our school technology vision is for all students to become technology literate. In order to achieve this vision, we must have a policy for guidelines and expectations. Acceptable use policies need to have clear guidelines and should be discussed with teachers, students, and parents (Winske, C., 2014). In moving forward with developing a policy for our school, several resources had tips on how to write your own acceptable use policy and samples of other schools. Scholastic (2015) encourages you to include the philosophy, statement of educational uses/advantages, responsibilities of educators, code of conduct, acceptable vs unacceptable uses and more in your policy. SETDA (2015) encourages schools to refine and revise policies and practices for high-quality digital learning. Finally, Common Sense Education (2015) outlines questions to ask as your policy develops. For example, how often will the policy be reviewed and revised, do you need school board approval, will your school have a separate acceptable use policy for teachers, will your acceptable use policy focus on behaviors or devices, etc.

Our school starts off the year with two inservice days and has another two inservice days in October. I believe writing an acceptable use policy could be an activity for teachers to work on together during those inservice days. When both my principals (as we have co-principals for this coming school year) return from their vacations, I plan to bring up this idea. I can help lead the way by finding samples and drafting a policy for my colleagues to discuss and edit. As the policy further develops, a bring your own device policy can be written as well. This could also help with professional learning in regards to technology as teachers develop and apply their knowledge to creating a policy that is beneficial for students (Alberta Government., 2013).

Bibliography:

Alberta Government. (2013). Learning and technology policy framework Retrieved July 25, 2015, from https://education.alberta.ca/media/7792655/learning-and-technology-policy-framework-web.pdf

Archdiocese of Anchorage. (2015). Catholic education. Retrieved July 28, 2015, from http://www.archdioceseofanchorage.org/catholic-education/

Common Sense Education. (2015). 1-to-1 essentials – Acceptable use policies. Retrieved July 28, 2015, from https://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/1to1/aups

Scholastic. (2015). Using technology: Why have a technology policy in your school or library? Retrieved July 28, 2015, from http://www.scholastic.com/librarians/tech/techpolicy.htm

SETDA. (2015). Ensuring the quality of digital content for learning. Retrieved July 25, 2015, from http://www.setda.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Digital_brief_3.10.15c.pdf

Winske, C. (2014, February 17). Tips for creating technology policies for K-12 [K-12 tech decisions]. Retrieved July 25, 2015, from http://www.k-12techdecisions.com/article/creating_an_acceptable_use_policy_for_mobile_learning_initiatives