As schools like mine move forward with technology, we need to have clear and well communicated policies in place to ensure that students, families, and teachers understand what acceptable use of technology is. I think many schools add policy bit by bit, whenever something new is introduced (ipads, laptops, social networks, google apps, etc.). This makes sense, but after a certain amount of time, having too many policies becomes confusing, and consolidation is needed.
At this point, my school is ready for this process of consolidation. A recent count found we had an acceptable use policy, a library laptop policy, a cyber policy, a google apps code of conduct, a whole school ICT policy, and an elementary ICT reference policy.
Another issue is that some policies were not written with an elementary school audience in mind, and our students may have trouble understanding what guidelines they are agreeing to follow.
Together with a COETAIL colleague, we decided to address these two issues and create a draft of a comprehensive acceptable use policy, written for elementary students. This is only the beginning of a long process that will involve teachers, administrators, students, and parents, but we at least wanted a document that summarized all of the other policies, in simple language.
I hope this will be a good launching pad for new conversations in the fall:
SEISEN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ELEMENTARY ACCEPTABLE USE POLICY
As part of my learning at Seisen, I will use technology to communicate, collaborate, and create. I will have access to many internet resources, including e-mail, websites, social networks, chatting, messaging, and Google applications. When using the internet and other technology, I agree to the following statements:
I understand that laptops and ipads are a shared resource at Seisen. I will not change any settings (desktop, applications, etc.) without permission from a teacher.
I will treat devices with respect, carrying them with two hands at all times. When moving devices from room to room, I will carry no more than three at a time. I will keep devices away from food and drinks. I will tell an adult right away if something is damaged or not working.
I understand that I am a representative of Seisen on the internet and will use polite and appropriate language. I will respect others at all times, not engaging in cyber bullying, which includes sending hurtful comments or messages.
If I receive a hurtful comment or message or see something that upsets me, I will immediately tell my parents or teachers.
I will not reveal the password, full name, home address, email address, or phone number of myself or other students.
I understand that the school administration has a right to monitor my postings on edmodo and my usage of all google applications.
I understand that the use of the internet and other online services is a privilege, not a right.
* Some statements adapted from the Google Apps Code of Conduct.