Un-Acceptable Use Policies

AMEN! That was my immediate response to reading this blog post over at The Edjurist that Will Richardson tweeted out this evening.  Acceptable Use Policies, opt-in vs. opt-out forms and the like are enough to drive me crazy and I’m a classroom teacher, not a tech facilitator.

We are now starting to move past the era when the Internet was extra-curricular into the era when the Internet is the curriculum. Much of what teachers are teaching these days has Internet based components and even Internet based activities. When we view the Internet as a standard part of the curriculum, the AUP doesn’t make sense as a contractual endeavor because the school cannot contract for the delivery of curriculum.

This year I had only two students without Internet permission. However, they were in two separate classes which meant I had to find modified assignments to be used at different times of the day.  To make matters worse, the students didn’t have access at home either. This raised several questions for my team:

  • How does this relate to Internet activities used on the SmartBoard?
  • What about our school’s online gradebook? They wouldn’t have access to the immediate feedback like the other students.
  • Our school had moved to Accelerated Reader online, and while I’m not a big advocate of the AR program, the students could not be asked to take an AR test (a requirement across all three grade levels) because they would have to have Internet permission.
  • Was it the teacher’s responsibility to police those two students when lab or laptop activities were done to make sure they weren’t using Internet applications?

Eventually, the parents decided to allow the two students to use the Internet and you would have thought it was Christmas day for both of them.  This is a battle we must fight as educators. We must let parents know that the Internet is a curriculum delivery service, no different from textbooks in the past.

How about your school? Do you have an Acceptable Use Policy, or as Karl Fisch is quoted in the post, an Unacceptable Use Policy?

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