Sunday, February 9, 2014

Acceptable Use Policy

The definition of Acceptable Use Policy is “An acceptable use policy (AUP) is a policy that a user must agree to follow in order to be provided with access to a network or to the Internet. It is common practice for many businesses and educational facilities to require that employees or students sign an acceptable use policy before being granted a network ID.” Margaret Rouse (2012)

The use of technologies in education is on the rise and couple that with new privacy laws in place for students, these policies are continually evaluated by lawyers and policy makers. Students and teachers use technology in the classroom on a daily basis. At the beginning of the year, all students and parents must sign an Acceptable Use Policy.  Most school districts require this policy signed to gain access to networks, wifi and email. This form is a written document stating the terms of usage of the Internet and the violations involved. This form is important for the school district to create in order to inform everyone involved about the privilege of using the school’s computer network along with the inappropriate material and dangers that exist when using the Internet, plus there are new provisions of the COPPA that took effect on July 1, 2013 that need to be addressed by this policy. The National Education Association states an “effective AUP contain the following key elements: a preamble, a definition section, a policy statement, an acceptable uses section, an unacceptable uses section, and a violations/sanctions section” (“Education World,” n.d.).

Technology is developing so quickly that some school districts have not revise their outdated AUP forms with the technology growth. For example, most AUPs mention the use of district computers, but some do not mention personal laptops, Smartphones, and iPads students are using as well in the classroom. Then some schools and districts are putting in place AUP about gadgets and media rather than people and behavior. This work is being guided by policy makers and lawyers who don’t use the media or gadgets in a school setting. If they did, they’d realize this makes no sense. This is like making a policy about pencil/pen/paper, books, etc..

Good judgement should be used at all times. When you are browsing the web for information or creating content or assignments, you must remember that this Identification through the school district will be tracked and monitored. It’s imperative that teachers teach about being a respectful digital citizen, how fair use is used and about copyright. Modeling good citizenship online as well as in class is imperative in 2014. A classroom blog is a perfect way to teach the necessary skills. A quality Acceptable Use Policy should be short, easy to read, and provide an understanding to students their responsibility using the internet. The idea of a internet license that some schools are using, informs and educates children of online etiquette and safety. This license is only obtained after you go through training of acceptable use of online behavior and expectations for teachers and students.

Another idea that may simplify this AUP is a responsible use policy that encompasses everything. Unlike the policies of these other districts, it is only two pages with a one page sign off for students and parents / guardians. Simplifying these policies, but still follow laws is imperative. The very best of Acceptable Use Policy’s reflect that tools and media have no intent...people do and the policy is made for people. Real people using real language that can be understood by parents, students, and teachers would be most helpful in the understanding of the AUPs. The most effective policies are developed with parents, students, teachers, and school leaders that are brought together to discuss and create such policies. District policies should allow room for individual school-by-school policy building that works best for the students in each community.

Denver Public School Acceptable Use Policy


Margaret Rouse (2012). What is acceptable use policy (AUP)? - Definition from Retrieved Feb. 6, 2014, from AUP
Education World. (n.d.). Getting started on the Internet: Developing an 
acceptable use policy (AUP). 
Retrieved from

Lisa Nielsen. "Looking to create a social media or BYOD policy? 
Look no further." 2012. 9 Feb. 2014 

"Children's Privacy | BCP Business Center." 2013. 9 Feb. 2014   

AECT Standards: 3.4 Policies and Regulations. Policies and regulations are the rules and actions of society (or its surrogates) that affect the diffusion and use of Instructional Technology.