EDTECH 541: Acceptable Use Policies

Acceptable Use Policies are used to communicate expectations for student behaviors when they are on a school computer or device. Like most “rules” that are written for students, they involve acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. Whereas in the classroom, we have safety rules that are obvious like “don’t throw things”, where computers are used, the safety rules may not be as obvious. How do you know what is dangerous with communicating on the computer when the point of the communication is not for the student to ultimately meet the other person.

Safety rules may seem like common sense, but they still need to be stated because as teachers, we only want to see the good in people. We work with kids who are full of potential and is our joy to see them learn how to do something. Likewise, they like to impress their peers or adults in their lives by showing what they can do. It is in our protective nature to want to shield the students from ones who could do harm to them, but a firewall can only do so much. Just like they need to learn as children to not run out in the street before looking, they need to be taught how to be aware of potentially dangerous situations.

My professor found some really good links for us to use to research Acceptable Use Policies. I encourage you to check these out if my interpretation of them sparks your curiosity to learn more.

Edudemic: http://www.edudemic.com/school-social-media-policy/

Times must be changing because I swear that four years ago when I started to submerge myself in this online learning world, having to come up with rules on how to behave in social media was not even close to something I thought I’d have to contemplate. Yes, I had a colleague who used Facebook with his students (2009), but since our IT person had told us not to do that, I just figured he was a renegade teacher who could not be held back. Now I know not only how to use Facebook as a teacher, but I know how to use it safely.

The idea of a school having a social media policy should be commonplace now. I do not know if the school where I taught has one now, but I expect they have added onto their computer use contracts something about safety, netiquette, and other behavioral expectations. In 2009 it was acceptable to just tell teachers to avoid certain websites and therefore not connect school liability with online dangers. Now, in 2015, the school can still choose to not have a designated way for teachers, students, and parents to communicate in an academic way, but we should still be responsible and let students know what is possible. This particular website “crowdsourced” acceptable use policies. They essentially created a wiki and invited anybody to add their two cents worth of ideas.

I love what they created. It covers every conceivable situation. Above I mention how do we know what can happen to our kids in a social media situation? Well, fortunately for me, I don’t have to imagine all the horrible things that can happen because someone else has done it for me. Edudemic took the ideas and created acceptable use policies any school can borrow, adapt, or use for their purposes. If I am asked to create an AUP, I know I will be coming to this website to make sure I included everything that should be there.

Education World: http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr093.shtml

Education World took the National Educational Association’s acceptable use policy and summarized its components. This has two interesting perspectives. First, Education World is a website that currates education websites and hopes to make money from its advertising. They certainly figured out how to use the pop-up window to their advantage. The second thing that catches my attention is that they chose to use the NEA policy. NEA is one of the two major unions that cover teachers. It is only logical that they would have people who could create a document to meet legal obligations.  If I do create my own AUP, I may very well go to NEA or the American Federation of Teachers websites to see what they recommend for the policies.

I wanted to impress you by finding the NEA document, but I am not sure it exists. I have found two places that purportedly quote an NEA AUP document, yet neither one links back to it. Education World does not list it as a citation at the end of its article. This Classroom 2.0 blogger practically quotes the same thing, but does not give a link to where she found her information. The closest I found to an NEA document that gives suggestions on the use of media or technology is their resolutions document from 2013.

Apparently the American Federation of Teachers is now the United Federation of Teachers. I was not able to find a policy statement at their website concerning an acceptable use policy.

BYOD,K12 Blueprint:  http://www.k12blueprint.com/byod

Remember the good old days when you’d see a paper note being passed across the room? I actually used to help students pass their notes because it was less disruptive than having them toss it across the room. Then came the time when you’d hear the cell phone ring, and you’d call out asking for it because you were required to confiscate it. That turned into “make sure your ringer is off” as students entered the classroom during first period just so they would not disturb class during class time; you no longer had to confiscate them. Now we are asking students to bring their own devices to class. We’re having them tweet us during a question and answer session. They are texting us the answer to their question of the day. We may even be taking attendance by having students sign into a document we put online. Times, they are a changing…

I’m familiar with BYOD being bring your own drink. Now we have BYOD or BYOT. BYOD is now bring your own device. The “T” in BYOT is for technology. Naturally if we are expecting kids to bring their own equipment to school, we have to have rules that govern how they  use it. Some schools do not require students to bring their own devices. Instead they are able to check out equipment to students so an income disparity does not get in the way of student success. Plus it evens the use field because one device may be able to do stoichiometry for you, while another can’t even bring up the periodic table. Ye gads!

The k12 Blueprint is an amazing site if you want to bring use of digital devices to your school. Intel sponsors the site, which makes sense because their chips are probably in most of the devices that will be brought to campus. The website is thorough, including sections for:

Just about anything you want to know about how to set up a BYOD program at your school can be found at the k12Blueprint website.

If you are just looking for a policy document on BYOD, check out the TeachThought website.

Actual Examples:

Some schools are considerate enough to put their AUP documents online. Here are a few you can look at.



9 Steps For Schools To Create Their Own BYOD Policy. (2013, October 29). Retrieved from http://www.teachthought.com/technology/9-steps-for-schools-to-create-their-own-byod-policy/

BYOD. (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2015, from http://www.k12blueprint.com/byod

Dunn, J. (2012, May 3). It’s Time To Crowdsource Your School’s Social Media Policy. Retrieved January 30, 2015, from http://www.edudemic.com/social-media-policy-crowdsource/

Getting Started on the Internet: Acceptable Use Policies. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2015, from http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr093.shtml

Lepi, K. (2012, June 11). Crowdsourced School Social Media Policy Now Available. Retrieved January 30, 2015, from http://www.edudemic.com/school-social-media-policy/

Linking to learning. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2015, from http://www.uft.org/news/ny-teacher/link-to-learning

NEA Resolutions. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2015, from http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/nea-resolutions-2013-14.pdf

Owen, C. (2015, January 22). Acceptable Use Policies. Retrieved January 30, 2015, from http://www.classroom20.com/profiles/blog/show?id=649749%3ABlogPost%3A1049227&commentId=649749%3AComment%3A1049569&xg_source=activity


About Melissa

I am a former high school science teacher and recently completed a MET degree at Boise State

Posted on January 31, 2015, in 1.1 Instructional Systems Design, 1.1.1 Analying, 1.1.2 Designing stuff, 1.1.3 Develloping products, 1.3 Instructional Strategies, 1.4 Learner characteristics, 2.2 Audiovisual Technologies, 2.3 Computer-Based Technologies, 2.4 Integrated Technologies, EDTECH 541, Standard 1: DESIGN and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I love all of your examples. My school district definitely needs a BYOD policy. I will have to look through these more thoroughly when I have the time.

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