Responsible Use Policies

My original question was “How do we raise awareness in teachers about their roles and responsibilities regarding legal and ethical behavior?”  I still think it’s important but I’m not finding any good resources regarding teaching teachers about digital citizenship as professionals, it’s pretty much all about how to teach their students.

I shifted my focus toward developing Responsible Use Policies because I believe the process of developing a more positive, forward thinking policy will help us change the conversation about digital citizenship and legal and ethical behavior among teachers as well as students. It’s not going to be enough to just tell people what to do. We have to model ongoing conversations about digital citizenship and create cultures in our schools that are supportive enough that we can call each other on inappropriate digital behavior without it feeling like we are accusing or policing.

Responsible Use
This is a simple graphic by Louise Phinney, as part of her Coetail project, that shows the idea behind shifting our students thinking away from “Don’t do this” towards “Here’s what you can do”.

A lot of learning will need to happen in order to create cultures in our schools that support learning environments where we can make and fix mistakes in a safe place. It’s not just our student’s generation that sees the content they find online as free and reusable. Teachers often use content without attribution, I’ve done it myself. The trick, I think, will be finding a balance and making it easier for teachers to access resources when they have questions about privacy policies on websites, fair use and copyright, and have had the chance to wrestle with and talk to their peers about ethical digital issues.   

House Bill 6273, which was recently signed into law in Washington State, requires a broad group of stakeholders (teachers, administrators, parents, and community members) to meet regularly to review digital citizenship policies. Considering how quickly technology changes, it will make our policy more responsive. I’ve heard that WASDA is working on a template for Responsible Use Policies for districts. We should be able to use that but if it isn’t ready we will be able to use the work that Northshore School District has done to develop theirs. The ultimate goal is to shift the focus away from what we don’t want staff and students to do with technology to what we do want them to do with it. It will shift the conversation away from punishment to educating people, which is ultimately our goal. Eventually, I’d like to figure out how to translate these documents into kid friendly language (AUPs​ ​in​ ​kid​ ​Friendly​ ​Language​ ​​  ) as well so that teachers can use them with their younger students to teach them about their digital rights and responsibilities.


AUPs in kid Friendly Language

Student Centered Acceptable Use Policy

House Bill 6273

Image Credit

2 thoughts on “Responsible Use Policies

  1. Karen – I appreciate you talked the less “provocative” topic of the RUP or AUP for school districts. I wonder what elements you would like to have as line items in both teacher and student agreements for responsible use of the internet in schools. What are examples of these more positive approaches to digital citizenship?

  2. Karen, I think it is wise to start with the RUP. It was great to see that there are ways to make it kid friendly. One great thing about making sure it is kid friendly, is that I think a more diverse group of teachers will teach their class or students about the RUP every year! Northshore has definitely done some great work in designing a RUP that shows what we want students and staff to do with technology. I also really enjoyed the part about how we can continue to model digital citizenship. Maybe it is up to those who provide the PD to continue to bring up ethical use and keep the conversation going.

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