Internet woes continue to haunt me here in China.
I just read a great post by Andrew Churches about Acceptable Use Agreements in Junior School (often referred to as AUP’s or Acceptable Use Policies as well). Andrew questions the value of these documents. I wrote a comment response, clicked the ‘post’ button & got another Web Site Blocked notice that has been plaguing me since the Chinese Great Filter Wall has added more bricks, enclosing the country, and crippling both personal and school use of the internet. Fortunately, I can still see Andrew’s link address and I am now trained to always ‘Select All’ and ‘Copy’ all comments and posts before hitting the publish button, since I suffered many lost comments upon my arrival in China.
So, here is my comment, copied below. I encourage you to comment on Andrew’s blog rather than mine as he is the one that really started the conversation, but I still can’t get onto his blog to know if my comment got through, and I would like to share my thoughts on this topic. Do schools really need an AUP?
Greetings from Dalian, Andrew!
You make several great points here. The one piece of the puzzle I often get stuck on is why internet use is treated so differently from other school rules? We don’t have “Hallway only rules” and then “Playground only rules” and then “Gym only rules” that we have students and parents sign acceptable use policies for, but we have them for our online spaces. Don’t swear on the playground, in the hallways, in classrooms OR in our online learning spaces… it’s all part of a continuum.
Here were some blog rules that I created many moons ago, before schools were thinking about AUP’s: Blog Rules – Respect, Inclusion, Learning and Safety They aren’t really rules, and if I were to do this again, I’d call them ‘expectations’ instead. But the key point is that I just took the 4 school beliefs that were student generated in a huge school-wide process: Respect, Inclusion, Learning and Safety… and I said, “These are our beliefs in school, and our online spaces are part of our school.”
So, I too question the value of these documents? They seem to (attempt to) remove the responsibility of the school for things that happen online, when what I really think is that schools should be extending their walls and encompassing digital spaces. These online spaces are just another school community space where community expectations are, well, expected… without the need of a policy.
ps. At the time of creating my blog rules I had our blogs in a private space, now I’d share them with the world.