Acceptable Internet Use Polices: A Guide for School Districts

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) today released its Acceptable Use Polices in a Web 2.0 & Mobile Era:A Guide for School Districts, which is aimed at assisting district leaders develop, rethink or revise Internet policies to address the growing use of mobile devices and Web 2.0.

The CoSN Policy Guide was developed as part of a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation¹s Digital Media and Learning Initiative, and is designed for superintendents, principals, chief echnology/information officers (CTOs/CIOs) and curriculum directors.

"The growing emergence of Web 2.0 and mobile devices has rapidly increased Internet use in schools across the country. Consequently, this has added to schools¹ responsibility for dealing with safety and access issues," said Dr. James Bosco, Principal Investigator for CoSN¹s Participatory Learning in Schools: Leadership & Policy initiative. "This trend has also increased the need for district-level leadership to set policies that prevent potentially harmful and inappropriate Internet use, while also striking a balance with allowing access to these technologies to promote innovation in teaching and learning."

"What we see at the district level is a wide range of restrictiveness, as some school districts have relatively stringent policies in place and others rely on blocking and filtering. Our intention is not to dictate what we think school districts¹ policies should be, but rather help education and technology leaders take a critical look at their current Internet use policies and develop or revisit them in the context of today¹s Web 2.0 and mobile device age," said CoSN CEO Keith Krueger.

Acceptable Use Policies in a Web 2.0 & Mobile Era: A Guide for School Districts addresses the following questions:

1. How does policy differ from procedure and does the difference matter?

2. What are the two major approaches used to develop district AUP policies?

3. Is the district¹s AUP a part of or the totality of the district¹s technology policy?

4. What are the key federal laws affecting Internet access, safety, and social networking in schools?

5. How do state laws or district policies affect school districts¹ Internet policies pertaining to filtering, AUPs, cyberbullying, and cell phone use?

6. Does the increasing prevalence of Web2.0 and student-owned mobile devices necessitate updating district ICT policies?

7. Where can I find samples of various exemplary AUPs?

8. What are some timely, relevant, and useful resources pertaining to the use of Web 2.0 technologies in schools?

The policy guide was developed as part of CoSN¹s Participatory Learning in Schools: Leadership & Policy initiative (formerly known as Web 2.0 in Schools), which is based on the recognition that Web 2.0 tools provide powerful learning resources for children, thus preparing them for the world beyond the classroom. The initiative is supported by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and sponsorships from Adobe, eChalk, Gartner, Global Scholar,, Pearson, SAS and SMARTTechnologies.

"Our goal is to disseminate helpful information, resources and tools on Web 2.0 that are relevant and tailored to district-level leaders," said Krueger. "Establishing and honing a participatory learning culture in our schools requires leadership from the top, and these resources aid in that effort."