Friday, October 23, 2009

Acceptable Use Policy for teaching with laptops

by Mike Muir

Recently there's been an interesting discussion on the ACTEM listserv (technology using educators) about what the consequences should be for students who violate the school's AUP.

Thinking about the early years of MLTI where we found that schools that had teachers using the laptops in engaging ways with students had lower breakage & theft rates, I got thinking about acceptable use policies for teachers and posted this:

I wish, too, that we had an Acceptable Use Policy for Educators - not for how they use it personally, but how they use it with their students.

I wish that AUP would focus on things like teachers promising that they would use the laptops to
  • do projects
  • promote curiosity and make content interesting
  • build constructive conversations and debate
  • open the world to students, taking them where they've never been before
  • bring experts into the classroom, regardless of where they are geographically
  • improving writing by finding what kids would love to write about
  • make complex ideas concrete and understandable
  • teach responsibility by giving students responsibility and finding out their questions & concerns about their world & work

And I wish that AUP would prohibit (or at least severely limit)
  • not using the laptops
  • locked down machines
  • strong filtering
  • electronic worksheets
  • simply looking up facts on the Internet (or worse - calling that a WebQuest)
  • using laptops as a textbook
  • drills for learning software programs
And I wish that AUP generated as much conversation about consequences of violating the AUP as the one for kids does.
So, what do you think should be in that AUP? (or it might be interesting to see what we believe the consequences for violating that AUP should be!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mike your AUP is a timely reminder that we need to constantly seek ways to use our assets to their greatest potential. Thank you.

It is difficult to strike a balance between the stakeholders in our communities and I often don't feel on very firm ground when I make a stance.

Your AUP implies sometimes we make the easy, safe choices (filtering) or we use a new tool to do an old job (electronic worksheets) instead of leaping to the new paradigm laptops offer.

Change takes time, patience and perseverance.