AUPs shape Web 2.0 use, guidelines

“You’re a lot better off if you use this technology ethically and responsibly, rather than using it to create harm or mischief or in bad ways,” Bosco said. “Schools need to think of it more as working with kids rather than developing a set of rules and regulations and assuming, because they have the rules and regulations, all is well with the world.”

Krueger agreed, and he noted that many schools are currently using a “walled garden” approach, where they only allow access to certain sites by a specified group of students. However, he said districts that give students a modicum of freedom don’t necessarily have disciplinary issues.

“It’s part of owning your own education,” said Krueger. “Those districts that have provided open access to publicly available tools have actually not experienced major disciplinary problems.”

Bosco said many schools have different policies on the use of mobile devices, such as cell phones with internet capabilities. These range from no phones being allowed on the premises to web-capable phones becoming an active part of classroom activity.

“It’s like the pencil that you bring from home: When you need to use it, you can use it, but you can’t use it to poke the kid sitting next to you,” Bosco said.

The AUP guide also addresses cyber bullying, an issue at the forefront of many educators’ minds. However, both Krueger and Bosco pointed out that the “cyber” aspect is not necessarily the biggest concern for schools.

“I think the district is missing the point, because what the district should be concerned about is how people treat people within the school community. In that context, what you’re trying to do is to create a civil society within the domain of the school district,” said Bosco.

“When we try to solve the problem simply by limiting or prohibiting the access to the technology, it just pulls us farther away from where we think you need to go,” Krueger said.

Bosco said he rejects the idea that the internet makes boundaries blurry.

“The line between what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable is really not that hazy.”

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