How does the appropriate use policy in your educational setting compare to these perspectives?
In the beginning of the school year, we go over expected and appropriate use of technology in all of our classrooms with our students, and expect the utmost compliance and maturity when it comes to these issues. However, I think what gets overlooked much more often, is the same appropriate use policy (AUP) lesson we give to our students, we should give to ourselves. It is very easy as a teacher during a prep period to check personal email quickly, look up a story on Vox or Politico, or browse a standard website like Yahoo or ESPN. However, this could be in direct violation of the school rules in regards to what a teacher/staff member should be doing while using a piece of school technology.
Quick! Log-off if You’re At Work, written by Dave Arnold for the National Education Association, begins with, “If you are a school employee reading this while on the school’s Internet, you might be violating the school district’s Acceptable User Policy (AUP).” This is a strong claim to open an article, but one that is probably true for many of the teachers reading the article. Throughout the rest of his writing, Arnold states several ways for a teacher to ensure that they are properly following the school rules, and not putting themselves, or the school in danger. Two interesting points Arnold makes are directly for job-safety as an educator.
“Read the AUP, then re-read it during the year. Ask for training in areas you don’t understand.”
“Assume you have no privacy regarding e-mail you send and receive on your employer-sponsored system. Only send e-mails that you would feel comfortable reading on the front page of your local newspaper….”
These rules, among others, and extremely important to keep in mind when you have the time to ‘surf the web’ during a prep period, or feel the need to respond to a personal e-mail because it will only take a second. Being overly cautious in these areas is vital to protect yourself from possible reprimand or worse.
The Connecticut State Office of Policy and Management outlines the state’s acceptable use policy and on of the more interesting aspects is the, “Examples of Unacceptable Use of State Systems,” headline. Under this header, the first misuse of state systems refers to private e-mail use. “Email: creating or forwarding jokes, chain messages; checking and/or responding to persona e-mail via another (second party) e-mail system such as Yahoo! Or Hotmail…” As a personal connection, I spent a year working for the US Coast Guard Academy as a Pitching Coach for the baseball team, but part of my initial training was acceptable use of government technology. One of the ‘lessons’ was actually focused on e-mail use and one of the slides outlined the fact that no personal email, chain messages, or inspirational messages/ images (among other things), where to be sent or continued on government technology. By clearly outlining this aspect of no personal e-mail on school (or state) sponsored technology, it should be much easier for teachers to remember, though it may only take a quick second, it is not appropriate to do personal work on school time.
Lastly, a large aspect of gaining buy-in with an acceptable use policy is to have it created at least in part, by the people it will govern. This strategy was employed by the Boston Public Schools in 2007 to help update and bring a more meaningful AUP throughout their district. Two important factors they noted when creating an updated AUP, is using student-centered wording, and employing students in the creation, and revision process. This way, the way the document reads, and the document itself, is seen as accessible, and something that the kids have had a hand in creating. This idea is certainly transferable to schools and AUP’s for the teacher’s and staff. Allowing a forum for teachers to outline what they believe is acceptable use and compromising with the district will create a higher awareness of the rules, and an overall more reliable and appropriate use of the school technology. In reviewing the Bethel Public Schools technology use expectations, I believe that the document does lend itself to being understood by students, parents, and staff alike, but even a simple 10 bullet point list of do’s/don’t’s to place in every classroom would be a great inclusion to the school remind everyone what is expected of them.
Arnold, Dave (2015). Quick! Log-Off if You’re At Work. National Education Association. http://www.nea.org/home/14591.htm
Connecticut- Office of Policy and Management (2015). Acceptable Use of State Systems Policy. http://www.ct.gov/opm/cwp/view.asp?q=561676
Parent-Student Handbook 2016-2017 Bethel Public Schools. http://www.bethel.k12.ct.us/UserFiles/Servers/Server_20328807/File/Superintendent-District%20Files/2016-2017%20District%20Documents/Parent-Student%20Handbook%20Policies%20&%20Procedures%2016-17%20-%20Finalv2.pdf
United States Department of Education (n.d.). Student-Centered Acceptable Use Policy. http://tech.ed.gov/stories/student-centered-acceptable-use-policy/
United States Department of Homeland Security- United States Coast Guard (2013). COMMANDANT INSTRUCTION 5371.1D- Subj: LIMITED PERSONAL USE OF GOVERNMENT OFFICE EQUIPMENT AND SERVICES. https://www.uscg.mil/directives/ci/5000-5999/CI_5375_1D.PDF