"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Friday, October 2, 2015

Policy vs. Rule: Teaching and Learning about Technology Use

Over the past three years, my colleagues and I have been revising how the students learn about our district's Acceptable Use Policy. Finding the balance between the appropriate amount of information and the delivery method has been the greatest challenge. What is most important for the students to understand? What method of instruction will help them take ownership? How can we create visually engaging signage with a clear message?

I have an issue with the title of the policy and the language. I don't like "Acceptable Use" because it feels passive and it feels limiting. Two years ago, I began creating a video. wrote of calling it a "Responsible Use Policy." I liked this better because I I think it is more flexible in its interpretation and puts the onus on the students to make good decisions when using school technology. This is also my issue with the word rule versus policy. According to my handy Scholastic Children's Dictionary, a policy is, "a general plan or principle that people use to help them make decisions or take action." This feels right to me. I want it to be a general plan. I want the students to feel that they can be creative and make choices. This year I am talking about a Technology Use Policy that relies on the students being responsible and respectful users of technology.  We'll need to come to consensus as a department, a consensus on the language and on the delivery methods. I am excited though because I think we are getting close. One colleague has created a Google Presentation and another has created an infographic. I created this Animoto video:
We're all contributing products along with feedback and suggestions. I like that we are moving toward a more engaging, authentic, and inclusive curriculum. I like that we have the same message begin delivered in multiple formats.

After this, we'll be moving onto Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship. One person found this great idea for a digital citizenship survival kit: filling a sandwich bag with a small tube of toothpaste, a lock, a key,  a permanent marker, and a bar of soap. With this activity the students have been meeting in small groups to guess how the objects relate to Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship. This is all making the teaching and learning of this important area feel more engaging and memorable for the students. We'll see how it goes.  

How do you teach your students or children about these topics?


  1. Love this video- student friendly language, quick and to the point! Would you mind if I used this with the students in my building?