Sunday, October 14, 2007

Defining the new borders, Step 1

In the interest of trying to answer the question posted by Dave Warlick in his keynote at the K12 Online Conference (see my previous post) and trying to be proactive in how to extend the borders of my own classroom and school, I'm going to share some thoughts. I haven't deliberated on this a great deal but I think I've got to start somewhere and I welcome comments and criticism.

Several people in the chat reaction to Warlick's keynote cited the need to give teachers some freedom: freedom to explore this new world, freedom to be creative and bold, and most of all, freedom to fail knowing that their head will not roll for doing so. So, what is one of the obstacles that many teachers have to face in order to encourage these changes... The AUP (Acceptable Use Policy) in their schools. I have yet to see an AUP that fosters true exploration and creativity while simultaneously protecting students and the school. A good AUP needs to reassure parents, satisfy the needs of CIPA and FERPA, give teachers the professional control that they need, and the technology administrator (in that order). So, let me take a crack at it.

Assurance to Parents-
Understand that the school is using their best judgement to both keep your child safe and use technologies in a way to best educate your child for a more and more digital, ever-changing world. The school will safeguard information about your child (as outlined below) and you have the right, as a parent/guardian to insist upon more stringent restrictions at any time by contacting the school.
  • Student personal information (full name, grades, medical information, social security information, telephone numbers or addresses) will not be shared with anyone outside of the school without your permission.
  • The school will instruct students in internet safety and appropriate online behavior.
  • The school will offer you, the parent or guardian an online safety course, free of charge, once a semester or on a continual basis as the need arises and technologies change.
  • The school will maintain an informational website for parents to access if they are unable to attend the school online safety course that gives students and parents tips on online safety.
  • Teachers will notify you if they intend to use photos or video of your child on a website accessible to the general public in which they are identifiable and, after contacting the teacher to share your concerns, you will have the chance to restrict your child's image from being used. At that time an appropriate alternative will be implemented.
  • Internet access at school will be filtered to try to block content that is profane, lewd, illegal, or pornographic. However, no content filter is 100% effective at blocking everything and we feel that the education of you and your child, as well as monitoring of a teacher are the best way to keep students from accessing these sites.
  • Decisions about other web tools, sites and computer programs are left largely to the discretion of the educator, and any concerns or questions you may have about tools or materials used during class should be directed initially to the child's teacher, then to school administration.
In my next post, I will share ideas for guidelines for safe teacher technology exploration....

Just a thought... Should I be posting this on a wiki to collaborate with people and add their thought and suggestions? Let me know what you think.

1 comment:

Jennifer K. Lubke said...

Before re-inventing the "wiki wheel," take a look at these wiki resources. At Viki Davis' k12 wiki, there is a page for social networking AUPs. Also, Scott McLeod has created MovingForward to help school systems adapt their policies.

Good luck! I look forward to Part II of your post.