Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Defining new borders: Part II

In part two of my series on rewriting the AUP (Acceptable Use Policy) of the future, I'm addressing the issue of teacher use of technology with an emphasis on encouraging creativity, risk taking, and exploring. I call it giving teachers "A License to Thrive"

Teachers, think of all of the possibilities that opened up for people with the invention of the car. The ability to travel long distances with ease: vacations, joy riding, drive-thrus, work opportunities. And with those possibilities came some concerns as well: traffic, smog, car crashes, road construction. What if we had not overcome those challenges and abandoned the car many years ago? How well would you do today without a driver's license? How would that limit the way you live your life? In many ways we have asked students to live their academic lives without something that is just as essential to

But, you may say, people LEARN to drive. They get tested on the rules of the road, there are penalties for breaking those rules, and there are safety features built in to minimize risk. Technology should be no different... Therefore, here is our school district's technology policy with regard to teachers and students.

5 Simple Rules of the Road
  1. Teachers must obey all (internet) traffic laws. In other words, if it's against the law (in real life, don't do it online).
  2. Teachers will yield to larger vehicles on the road (parents). If a parent wants to restrict use of their child's information online beyond the restriction's in the school's AUP, you must yield to them and make an acceptable detour for the student.
  3. Know that even though the car has airbags, you are not invincible. Though our school has a content filter, this does NOT provide foolproof protection. Teacher and parent monitoring is the most effective means of providing for a safe trip.
  4. You may not always know how to get there, but always know the reason for your trip. No one is expecting you to know where the detours might be, but you should know the general direction your headed in, and be able to explain to students and parents why this is better than walking and worth the gas money.
  5. In this car, there is no reverse. The likelihood of abandoning technology as a learning tool is about as likely as reverting to horse-n-buggy, slates and cave wall paintings. Every once in awhile we might have to stop for directions, but the fact is, there's still a long way to drive.
Feeling overwhelmed? Well, don't worry, we've set you up with Driver's Ed, Insurance, and a professional test track.
  • Driver's Education- Each educator will receive instruction on issues in internet safety including but not limited to
    • Content Filter (How it works, How to use it, How and when to remove the roadblock)
    • Online ethics (How to conduct yourself online, analyze sources and navigate information).
    • Alphabet soup (Teacher's guide to FERPA, CIPA, AUP, C-Copyright and the rest of the alphabet)
  • Insurance Policy- This is simply an assurance from the school district that we will support educators in their exploration of technology integration in accordance with our technology vision. We will...
    • Support your use of technology tools by providing the tools that you need online and offline.
    • We will support your vision by informing the public of the benefits of technology in our school, and how it can be used ethically and safely to benefit students.
    • We will provide needs-based, on-going professional development with technology integration and support you in your efforts to explore this area with time, and available resources.
  • Test Track- This is a safe, controlled area where you can "kick the tires" and explore technology tools to see if they are beneficial to your classroom. This will be...
    • A teacher run group of educators who wish to explore new technology together.
    • An environment to encourage risk taking as a group and personal reflection.
    • A group that will have the real power to recommend new technologies for education and shape the future technology goals and vision of the the school district.
    • Act as a virtual sandbox to test your tools before using them in the classroom or in public.
As a result of these efforts, we hope to truly provide you with a "License to Thrive."

Next post "Defining New Borders: Part III... the students."

Photo Credit Flickr User Nerdy Girl

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