Acceptable Use Policies (AUP) are policies created by an organization regarding the use of technology by members and guests. Within this document explanations are written on how to behave with the technology, how to stay safe and keep other users safe, along with disciple actions taken if the technology is abused. The organizations I am most interested in learning about that use AUP’s are school districts. As a teacher these policies should be reinforced by me making sure students have read and comprehend what is stated in the AUP and making sure the students follow the guidelines. However, I had never seen our district’s document and we never signed anything saying we’ve read and understand the meanings within the AUP.
According to Education World, all AUP’s written for school districts should include the following sections within the document:
- a preamble,
- a definition section,
- a policy statement,
- an acceptable uses section,
- an unacceptable uses section, and
- a violations/sanctions section.
Acceptable use policies need to be clearly written for all parents and students to understand so they can be easily followed. Acceptable use policies follow a district’s philosophy on the interaction between technology and students/teachers. Even though this is an important document that every district should have, it wasn’t the easiest document to find. I decided the first AUP I should read should be the one I am supposedly following.
Being at a small charter school, we are umbrellaed under a large district. Our school uses the district’s policies regarding AUP. It did not take long to find the document in two different formats. Our website has the document in both a PDF file along with the direct link to the district’s page. The AUP created by the Vallivue district explains the importance for all students to read, follow and sign the form showing they understand what is in the AUP and how it affects them. Technology classes would go over the policies and schools would have them up on the walls for anyone to read at any time. The sections mentioned by National World were all present within the AUP except a definition section.
I’ve compared the district I work under to the two largest districts in the state. Both school districts have a document but were hard to find. I had to search for quite a while before finally finding a document that resembles an AUP. Neither the Boise School District nor the Joint School District have a form for students to fill out showing the document has been read. Instead, the district has an “opting out” form for parents to fill out if they do not want their children on any form of computers. The Joint School District’s policy was at the very end of their new technology plan, Appendix C.
Along with these two districts I searched in another local area and at my alma mater in Oregon. Both district websites did not include access to any document resembling an AUP. I decided to be more broad in my search and typed it into google. The first district that came up was Las Angles. The document followed the sections mentioned in National World and was written as a legal document. Students had a place to sign understanding the contents of the AUP.
The second school district found on google was Austin Independent School District. Their AUP was not written as dryly as Las Angeles’ district and was written for students to read more easily. It, too, included a page to print and sign for students.
It is clear that each AUP has it’s own personality according to the needs of the district and where the district holds the Acceptable Use Policy in importance. It was interesting to see similarities and differences within the documents. Even though they had a different look to them, the documents hold very similar information regarding using and not abusing how to use technology. Another note I found interesting within the different districts was how often the document was updated. For how quickly technology changes, one would think the acceptable use policies would need to change to meet the needs of current and future technology devices. However some AUP’s dated back to 2003.
It is important to have the document, keep it updated, and make sure the document is easy to find for students, parents, and educators. Students need to be reminded of their responsibility and the importance of using technology in a safe and respectful manner.
Austin independent school district acceptable use guidelines. (n.d.). Retrieved September 13, 2012, from http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.austinisd.org%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Fdept%2Ftechnology%2Fdocs%2FAU_Guidelines_20120427.pdf&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNHTVYi62IX910iLy7jU7yB4LwiAaw
Boise independent school district technology department (2012). Network acceptable use policy. Retrieved September 12, 2012, from http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fschool.boiseschools.org%2Fmodules%2Fcms%2Fpages.phtml%3Fpageid%3D271852%26sessionid%3D644082c5c610e6609df408ff3e2647ab%26sessionid%3D644082c5c610e6609df408ff3e2647ab&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNE1bUwy-a56CRMszHaQtWYAe4C9bA
Education World: Getting started on the internet: Developing an acceptable us… (n.d.). Retrieved September 12, 2012, from http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr093.shtml
Joint school district no 2. (2012). Technology Plan 2013-2015. Retrieved September 12, 2012, from http://www.vallivue.org/schools/VHS/Policies/AUP.pdf
Los Angles unified school district information technology division. (n.d.).(2012). Retrieved September 13, 2012, from http://askitd.net/departments/iss/security/aup
Vallivue school district #139. (2011). Information technology acceptable use and internet safety administrative directive. Retrieved September 12, 2012, from http://www.vallivue.org/schools/VHS/Policies/AUP.pdf