This past summer the other English teachers and I created our own acceptable use policy for the English classrooms in our building, in addition to the one we utilize through LACA, the educational computer association for our surrounding area. We found LACA’s policy effective, but not detailed enough to cover our expectations about how we expected the students to use technology in our classrooms, and we wanted the students to receive a united message from us. Especially with the new 1:1 initiative in the building, we wanted to be crystal clear. A couple of ideas we addressed were the use of student cell phones in our classrooms and the students’ responsibility to bring a charged Chromebook to class, especially if many of their assessments would be given online. We ultimately decided a student without a charged Chromebook on assessment days would receive a zero on those assessments.
What to include or not include in acceptable use policies is complicated, especially as the use of technology in schools and the world at large is changing so frequently. According to Roblyer (2016), there are a number of issues the employees of a school district need to address with their students and families including: websites with inappropriate materials, online privacy issues, computer viruses and hacking, along with online identity issues, plagiarism, and netiquette. That is a lot of information to try and fit in one policy.
My local area’s policy through LACA (2009) includes many of these issues discussed in our textbook. It addresses both appropriate and inappropriate use of the Internet in our school. It also includes a solid list of netiquette rules like, ” No use of abusive language in messages” and smart Internet use ideas such as, “No revelation of personal addresses or phone numbers or system network passwords”. Finally, LACA’s policy includes information about the security it provides in the way of filters and firewalls, along with a disclaimer about the limits of the security it can provide, leaving the possibility of students possibly seeing inappropriate material. ACCESS’s policy (2017), another educational technology association for counties in the state of Ohio has a nearly identical policy as the one from LACA.
Some acceptable use policies from Ohio went farther than simply covering the legal needs of the document. Dayton Public Schools (2017) policy covers, in addition to the basics, covers online publication and email procedures and use. The policy from Centerville City Schools (2014) was very readable, including advice to how people in the district should present themselves online.