How many of you have looked at the “Acceptable Use Policy” your school division has in place? How closely have you read the policy to see what it includes? Prior to this course, I admit I did a brief skim to see what I was signing off on, and I signed my name on the line. Once I was prompted to come up with a proposal to make a change, I decided to take a look at the Regina Catholic School Division’s policy.
Upon review it became apparent that this policy is used as an umbrella to address not only student’s acceptable use, but parents are asked to sign off, and teachers are also asked to sign this same policy. How is it that each have the same stipulations? Each should have their own policy to not only empower them, but also to outline the requirements for each should each party choose to partake in technology-based activities.
You may be wondering how I came up with this idea. In January I was lucky to partake in a skype meeting where Jennifer Casa-Todd was our special guest. She narrowed in on not shying away from technology, despite the risks, but rather teaching students to become Digital Leaders. She emphasizes empowering students and allowing them to be responsible for their actions online. Recently you may have seen schools, and even school divisions claim they are “banning devices” from their schools because of the risks and potential of dangerous situations. Why are we running from technology integration? Are we not responsible for teaching and preparing our students with skills and training they require to be successful? Well, ensuring they are responsible Digital Citizens will not only prepare them for life after graduation, but it is giving them the skills they need to succeed in the digital age now!
The focus of my particular assignment in this project is developing a “Responsible-Use” policy for students. I was incredibly excited to see the resources and readings offered to us in Unit 5 of this course. It was mentioned we can “vet” these resources for our project and I am thrilled to have these available as they will be incredibly useful to ensure my ideas align with the Ministry of Education and our STF guidelines.
Besides simply coming up with a page or two of policy, I also intend to create a program that will support empowering students to be responsible citizens online and make responsible choices. Digital Citizenship is great, but creating students who are Digital Leaders who encourage others to follow their leadership will create a school community who follows the guidelines of a good digital citizen not because they fear the consequences, but because they understand that it makes for a better digital world! We want to empower our students to make good choices not because they HAVE to but because they WANT to. This is the difference between fear-driven decision, and power-driven decisions.
Well, that is my starting point. I am going to continue to consult Jennifer Casa-Todd and her model, while referring to Alec Couros’ Digital Citizenship recommendations and aligning it all with the STF and the Framework outlined by the Ministry of Education. Finally I am going to check out some Acceptable-Use and Responsible-Use policies that have already been created to help me form my proposed model. I will continue to update you as my plan continues to take shape!
As always, I am completely open to your ideas and suggestions! Please feel free to drop me a comment and let me know any thoughts or feedback you have that could help me out!