Friday, April 15, 2016

Understanding AUPs: Why This is Important

How many of you have ever heard of an AUP or RUP? Every year before your child starts school students and parents are given a handbook, where the Acceptable Use or Responsible Use (depending on the district) for Internet Use policy in schools is located. Parents are usually asked to sign off that they received the handbook or these policies (depending on their district). The past few months I have been researching various policies for Internet Use in schools in MA and many have similar themes. They start with the idea of thinking about what is best for children and staff when using a school’s network and Internet. Laws like CIPA, COPPA, and FERPA are taken into account as these are federal. Many young students get upset when a parent says the dreaded no to downloading an app. However CIPA clearly states children under 13 should not have access to certain apps. According to my AUP Internet use in our school is for educational purposes. The policy continues to say “uses include enhancement of curriculum, research, and limited high-quality self-discovery activities. To remain eligible as users, students must use the Internet and the LAN resources in a manner consistent with the educational objectives” of our school. Students who use our resources for other purposes may lose the right to use them.

In my sixteen years of teaching I have never had to talk to students about this policy, and I realize now colleagues, parents and students need to be aware this policy exists and understand it. Today I will be sharing this policy with my students as I saw some children had shared a Google Doc called "The Doob" which was opened on a school computer. "The Doob" is not intended for educational purposes, and was nothing I assigned or had anything to do with our work in class. It was something created out of school and I believe was intended to be a joke. Perception rules the roost in my book, and I did not find the creation to be funny. It pokes fun of one of our presidential candidates and people with facial deformities. This use of technology in our classroom is an example of when kindness was not chosen. It is an example of the power of technology and how it can be used to spread a message, even a negative one. I hope people will take a look at the AUP or RUP for their school and discuss this with their children.

I encourage you to talk about “The Doob” with your child. If you have not seen it I encourage you to ask your child if he or she is on the document. It is so important to monitor student use of technology as they grow and learn how to use these tools effectively and appropriately. It sure does take a village.

If anyone is interested in our school policy it can be found at:

It will be updated for the fall as it is constantly evolving as technology evolves. 

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