Converge, February 1999, p. 46

Deborah Aufdenspring and Mark Morrison of the New Technology High School (NTHS) in California offer tips on how to establish a technology use policy that is effective without limiting students’ ability to learn.

The authors offer three tips on how to create a policy that does not merely discipline students, but that includes student input and creates what they call a “culture of trust.”

  1. Student participation. Get students to appreciate effective and responsible technology use by making them part of the solution. Choose students to help work on the schools computer systems to give them a sense of responsibility and an appreciation for the rules that are in place.

  2. Education. Instead of merely constructing rules that may ultimately limit learning, educate students about acceptable uses of technology. For example, instead of filtering out Internet sites deemed inappropriate for students, NTHS students are trusted to use the Internet responsibly, with teachers encouraging them to make independent judgments about what they see.

  3. Policy writing. Include students and staff in policy writing to create a sense of student ownership and pride in the policy. In making the policy, be sure to research what students think about responsible uses of technology and their opinions on the practices that are acceptable and unacceptable.