Things to consider when updating acceptable use policies
By Nancy Caramanico, CIO Advisor
Rewrite, add, delete, repeat. This is the
cycle of school policies on technology.
Or at least it should be. Policies need
to adapt to the changing times. For
school administrators and technology
directors/CIOs, adapting to changing
times is an important component to a
strong leadership for educational technology
use. It is the time of year when
many schools are updating policies for
the upcoming school year. Technology
polices are particularly susceptible to
change. Quite simply, new technology
forces us to re-imagine classroom environment
with the innovations added in.
¦ How will we incorporate these
¦ How will changes in digital
access impact our classrooms?
Our students and teachers?
With evolving technology innovations
constantly at hand, adaptations
and often an updated policy are
warranted. What are some important
things to consider when updating your
Acceptable Use Policy for Technology?
There are many. New Technologies,
AUP Implementation Strategies and
New Resources to Support your AUP
are some important ones to take a
close look at.
As you look at your policy from last
year to update it for the coming year,
what kinds of changes might you want
1 Internet Hot spots: Mifis or
portable Internet hotspots are
becoming more prevalent. Many
phones have their own Internet hotspot.
Are these permissible?
2 Cell Phones, Mobile Dtevices:
Are they permitted? At what
times are they appropriate? Is texting
allowed? In what circumstances?
3 Mobile Devices: Can students
bring their own laptops? Are they
school owned? What rules and guidelines
might be needed? What about
4 Social Media and Social
Networks: How will these be
incorporated? What ground rules
would foster effective use?
5 Digital Images: What permissions
are in place? What new
types of permissions might be needed?
What is our policy on using student
6 Web 2.0: What policies apply
to student posts? How will this be
monitored by teachers?
7 Outside of School: In what
cases will personal or outside use
of technology come in to play?
Having a new comprehensive policy
is a good thing. For the policy to
be effective, however, it needs to be
well supported and well implemented.
Below are some strategies for supporting
¦ Distribute copies of AUP to all
students. Clearly illustrate certain
points via lessons and discussion.
¦ Post the AUP on homepage of
school computers and school
website site to emphasize importance.
¦ Deliver Internet safety/digital
citizenship lessons to students
on a regular basis. Emphasizing
safety and responsibility with
technology daily is the ideal.
¦ Equip students with tools and
skills for properly citing materials
used in their work, thereby reducing
plagiarism and giving students
the tools and skills to respect intellectual
property of others.
¦ Deliver lessons that encourage
the creation of original student
work as opposed to copied work.
¦ Encourage and model responsible
use of technology through
projects and websites which
allow students the opportunity
to employ and practice responsible
use of digital content.
¦ Have students create videos or
posters which highlight important
pointers from the AUP.
¦ Discuss during school assemblies.
¦ Distribute and discuss at faculty
¦ Encourage clear modeling
by faculty of appropriate use.
Celebrate and share examples of
¦ Distribute relevant articles and
websites at intervals throughout
the school year.
¦ Encourage teachers to become
knowledgeable about educating
students about safe and responsible
¦ Have teachers generate talking
points that all can use to
emphasize daily responsible use
¦ Use every opportunity to educate
parents about Internet safety
and digital citizenship.
¦ Make it a priority topic in regular
communications you send.
Highlight relevant issues in
school communications throughout.
Choose a topic per month to
¦ Discuss at home and school
meetings. Invite a speaker to discuss
the issues to frame positive
steps that parents can take.
¦ Encourage parents to sign up
for resources that will educate
them on the topic of technology,
Internet safety and digital
citizenship such as Netsmartz
1 Netsmartz Presentations:
Netsmartz has released updated
versions of its Internet Safety Education
Presentations. These can be delivered
to students, teachers and parents. In
additon, Netsmartz provides discussion
materials and other supports for
discussing student safety online such
as Netsmartz Tip Sheets.
2 Common Sense Media: Any
educator or parent can request
access to these safety and responsibility
materials. Find lesson plans, videos
and other supporting materials. Follow
the Common Sense Media YouTube
3 YouTube: Copyright School:
If YouTube suspects that someone
has violated copyright, they require
attendance at ‘Copyright School’ which
consists of a watching a video and
answering questions. These videos also
can be used to explain copyright to
4 A Parent’s Guide to Facebook
by Connect Safely
5 Creative Commons and
Fair Use/Copyright Clarity
(Temple School of Theater and
Communications): Use of Internet
Remember, a policy on paper is one
thing. An effective technology policy
is one that is well implemented and
well supported. A great AUP ties in
to your mission and at the end of the
day, empowers those in your school or
organization to realize the benefits and
value of technology safely and responsibly.
As you Rewrite, Add, Delete,
Repeat — Remember to also implement
well. It is sure to reap rewards in the
effective, safe and responsible use of
technology and empowered teaching
and learning! These are just some steps
you can take. What would you add?