Our school administration and technology coordinators have already developed and published a computer acceptable use policy in the middle school and high school handbooks. However since I work in the elementary department as the technology facilitator, I felt there was a need to develop a computer acceptable use policy for 13 and under to establish guidelines for teachers, parents and elementary students since we have started to push technology integration into the elementary classrooms this year as a school initiative.
As a part of our technology initiative, every elementary classroom now has a classroom blog. In the fifth grade classroom the students also have their own individual blogs. Since the teachers have started blogging many ethical issues on copyright, and using copyrighted material on a blog have come up. Parents are helping their children change their avatars to photos that may have “all rights reserved” on them. Parents have also typed in student’s school email address in the student’s profile page rather than leaving it as I had first set up the accounts with a fake email address. Parents and students have also used first and last names together when commenting. We have been able to have meaningful conversations with our students as issues arise, but we also have a need to educate our parents and students about acceptable use to try to follow the guidelines in the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
Our administration wanted the user agreement policy to be short so that students, parents, and teachers will actually read it. They also wanted us to tie it back to our standards of conduct since this underlying standard is the measuring stick for all other policies. That is the reason our document is short. However in the final project, Ruth, Jean, and myself also worked on a form letter for parents, for parents and students to sign after they read the user agreement policy. There is also a acceptable use policy for the computers that are in the library were Ruth spends much of her time. That can be added to our current user acceptable use policy for the middel and high school handbook. At the end of our project is also a Parent Tech Workshop plan on the issues that we would like to address with our parents. Since elementary parents come pick up their children sometimes a half hour before school ends and stay at the school while their children play on the playground until 4:00, we thought we could start a parent tech workshop during that time. We have tried to have parent tech cafe meetings at night, but attendance has been very low.
When I told our technology coordinator that we had worked on a computer acceptable use policy for under 13, he was happy that we had focused our efforts in that direction, because he said that was an area that had not yet been addressed. It is my hope that our work on this project will actually be taken seriously by our learning team and will be put into the elementary handbook. We have sent this document to our leadership team. Now we have to wait to see if it gets approved or if it needs revisions. The following is the policy that Jean Hino, Ruth Ingulsrud, and Grace Yamato developed.
Computer Acceptable Use Policy for Students Under the Age of 13
Teachers will strengthen curriculum by being open to current and emerging technologies, using authentic, safe and ethical opportunities for students to understand, create, and apply learning strategies. Students will communicate integration successes within the school community.
Appropriate Online Behavior:
Use of school technology and internet access will be provided to those who agree to act in a considerate and responsible manner as outlined in CAJ’s Standards of Conduct. Information sent or received by e-mail, internet, or other means over the computers available to the students and staff is the property of CAJ and may be accessed at any time by CAJ for review. The use of CAJ’s technology resources is a privilege which can be revoked at any time.
Rules and Guidelines:
- Students must be careful with computers and all other technology used in the classroom. For example, students must carry only one computing device at a time, and must treat all technology carefully and responsibly.
- Students are responsible for keeping their passwords safe.
- Do not use technology to hurt others in any way.
- Do not use photographic images or any type of media that has not been adequately attributed to its creator. Do not use photographic images of any kind as avatars. Original, student-created avatars are acceptable.
- Follow copyright laws when using images or media on class blogs. If using an image that is not your own, you must cite the original source.
- In an effort to protect the personal identity of children under 13 years of age, please follow these guidelines:
- Use first names or initials only. Never use first and last names together in any online environment, e.g. email, blogs, user names, etc.
- Do not give out a student’s email address on a blog site.
- Do not give your home address or your location online.
- Do not give your cell or home phone number online.
Laws from the US for our consideration, but not legally bound to:
Communications Decency Act (CDA, 1996), Child Online Protection Act (COPA – 1998), Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA – 2000)
Policy Violation Consequences:
- Any student not following rules and guidelines may lose their computer privileges.
- If any inappropriate or disturbing material appears on a student’s computer screen, the student must immediately lower the cover of the screen and notify a supervising adult.
- CAJ staff will access the personal accounts of any students violating these policies in order to monitor activities.
- A form is appended for parents and students to sign indicating they have read, understood and agree to the terms of the AUP.